Back in 2010, when Lebron James made his heralded "Decision" to join the Miami Heat, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the NBA went crazy. A new dynasty had been formed, right in front of our eyes. Expectations were extremely high for this team, and the Heat didn't disappoint. Winning 2 championships with 4 consecutive Finals appearances, it would be hard to call that anything but a success. However, flash-forward to 2014, with Free Agency on its way, and with the Big 3 opting out of their contracts, the future remains uncertain for the Heat.
After losing to the Spurs in the 2014 Finals, Pat Riley went on the record to say:
"We need to retool, not rebuild."
Now, in order for the Heat to retool, it was expected that the Big 3 would opt out of their current contracts with the Heat to take less money and free up some cap space. However, reports have circulated of Lebron's intentions of getting a max deal, which is certainly not what the Heat had hoped for. To add to that, Chris Bosh is looking for a deal that is in the range of 5 years for $90 million, a contract that would be similar to Kyrie Irving's. Dwyane Wade, on the other hand, has not been heard from yet. Is there cause for concern in South Beach?
To answer the question, no. The prospects of LeBron James leaving the Heat are very slim at this point. A max deal for Lebron would mean a salary of $20.7 million next season. Although this would leave less cap space for Pat Riley to operate with, the Heat would much rather give James what he wants rather than letting him go. As well, letting Bosh go would make the Heat's frontcourt even weaker. Pau Gasol would be a viable option for his replacement, but the Heat would only have the full mid-level exception of $5.3 million to offer him. In the case of Dwyane Wade, it seems as if staying with the Heat would be the best option for him. Finishing his career in Miami, his only team, would put the finishing touches on an already remarkable legacy.
James has given no indication of an interest to leave Miami, and has not spoken to the media since the start of Free Agency. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have also joined this silence. This silence from the Big 3 could be a positive thing. Perhaps, taking a step back from the perpetual onslaught of the media is exactly what the Big 3 need. Time away to reflect on the past for years, and time away to make a decision about their future.
What do you think will happen to the Big 3? Share your opinions in the comments below.