This summer will be an extremely interesting one for the Heat, as the team that was crushed in the Finals by the Spurs looks to reload its roster to make it back for a credible shot at a title again next season.
But before adding new talent, the Heat first need to see whether or not all of its most important existing pieces will remain in place.
It all starts with LeBron James, obviously, who along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can opt out of the final two years of their respective contracts to become unrestricted free agents.
There are plenty of options for the Miami Big Three to consider if they choose to stay, and exactly how each of them decides to structure their individual contracts moving forward will play a key role in just how much talent the team can surround them with next season.
Should there be a wealth of salary cap space created by these guys opting out and signing long-term for less, there’s at least one very good player on the market who is available, and would be an immense upgrade at a position where one is desperately needed.
“The guy who has mutual interest with the Heat and plays a position of need would be Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors,” reports ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “But that, again, is a long shot unless these guys take big pay cuts.”
The mutual interest part seems silly, considering that most free agents would sign up to play in Miami alongside James, Wade and Bosh if the contract price was right. But Lowry simply seems like he’d cost too much.
The Raptors guard played at an All-Star level for the majority of the season and into the playoffs, and is in line for a hefty contract in free agency that was well-earned. The Heat stars would need to all take significantly less money in order to add a fourth high-caliber talent to the roster, and just as it isn’t clear yet if they’ll all be back, it’s even less certain that everyone would leave several million on the table in order to add anything less than a sure thing — someone like Carmelo Anthony comes to mind, but that scenario seems less likely and more far-fetched.
Lowry seemed like he was envisioning himself as part of Toronto’s future shortly after his team’s playoff loss to the Nets, but that will only be the case if the deal offered by the Raptors is in line with what he can get somewhere else. Either way, Miami will be hard-pressed to free up enough money to make a serious run at a costly talent like Lowry — unless James, Wade and Bosh all are convinced he’s the critical piece that will put them back into championship contention.