If you wanted even further indication that the Miami Heat Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have no intention of playing anywhere else next season, this might be the strongest detail yet.
James has opted out of his Miami contract, Wade has done the same, and Bosh is expected to very soon.
None of them are doing so with the intention of even exploring the option of free agency, however. Instead, it’s becoming more and more clear that they are working together in order to provide the team with enough financial flexibility to upgrade the roster.
From Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com:
After agreeing to all opt out of their contracts together, Miami Heat stars LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have been discussing financial terms of new contracts amongst each other, sources told ESPN.com. …
The talks between the three players is the strongest indication yet that James plans to re-sign with the Heat after he becomes a free agent on Tuesday. Unlike in 2010 when all three took nearly identical contracts, the discussions this time have included the possibility that James would draw the highest salary among the three, sources said. …
Under league rules, players are not allowed to negotiate new contracts with their teams until July 1. However, there is nothing preventing the players from working it out among themselves, and cutting up the Heat’s upcoming record $55 million in available cap space is believed to have been a major part of the discussion when Wade, James and Bosh held a meeting last week in Miami.
All three players could have selfishly opted out of their respective deals with the hopes of securing new max contracts that would have financially handcuffed the Heat in terms of what they could do to bring in additional talent this summer.
What seems more likely now, though, is that they will come to an understanding of how to best structure those deals in a fair way that helps the franchise at the same time.
One last tidbit included in the report is that LeBron has never been the single highest paid player on any of his previous teams. That could very well change this time around, with a staggering of salary levels by Wade and Bosh that would properly compensate James, while keeping him in Miami for continued runs at the NBA title.