LeBron's plan to opt out is meaningless, Wade and Bosh? That would mean something

LeBron's plan to opt out is meaningless, Wade and Bosh?  That would mean something

I was sitting in the waiting room of my daughter's back surgeon waiting for our appointment for an hour. The kind of moment which is serious yet boring, because there's really only so much worrying you can do, and your mind inevitably starts to wander. Then "The View" came on with special guest Ozzie Guillen. When they started discussing LeBron James opting out of his contract and his wife's tweet about Akron I thought "wow, people think this is a big deal?".

First LeBron's not leaving Miami. Let's get that straight. It's not going to happen. There will be a hundred fanciful non-Miami destinations brought up. There will be leaks, rumors, and guarantees, but when the NBA season tips off at the end of October this year, LeBron James will be in a Heat uniform.

Second, opting out was something James was always going to do. He's the best player in the world, and the Heat will agree to literally any contract he requests that will keep him in Miami. There's absolutely no reason to opt in.

If he wants more money? Done. If he wants less to provide roster flexibility? Done. If he wants more years? Done. If he, for whatever reason, decides he wants the exact same one year deal he opted out of? Done. Opting into his contract locked him into one scenario. Opting out leaves that exact same scenario open while also opening any number of other scenarios.

Why would he opt in? He hasn't removed any choices from the table. He's just added new ones. There's no reason for Miami fans to get upset because perhaps one of the most likely choices is that he opts to take less money to allow Miami to build a supporting cast.

Chris Bosh already said he'd take less to stay. Dwyane Wade can work a deal where he opts out and has his money spread over four years, so he takes less per year, but the same overall (he's likely got no more than two years left in the tank so it works out fine).

If LeBron also opts for less then Melo to Miami rumors will go crazy, but even if not, they could add someone like Marcin Gortat and close off their massive big man weakness and a solid PG.

So what really matters isn't that LeBron opted out as he's been expected to do since he signed the contract in 2010. What will matter is whether Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade opt out. The theory back in 2010 was that all three would opt out and sign new max deals after winning four rings to help make up for the money they gave up the first time around.

Now that doesn't look so likely. Dwyane Wade was on the ultimate rest program this season and still looked like a ghost of himself in the finals. He's got no more than a couple years left regardless and no one would give him the max right now if he were on the FA market.

Chris Bosh may or may not have declined as a player, but in getting moved out to the perimeter he sure isn't compiling stats like he used to. He'd probably get a max by some other team if on the market, but that team would likely regret it before two years were up. To put it in perspective, last year Bosh had worse numbers both in total, efficiency, and advanced metrics than Carlos Boozer did the year before signing with Chicago. He's also a year and a half older than Boozer when Carlos signed that deal.

The Heat dynasty may not be over, but it's definitely crumbling. Even if they get Carmelo Anthony it won't be the gut punch that the big three coming together a few years ago was. I'd give them no more than two years as championship favorites even with Melo added.

Speaking of Melo, I still don't get what all the hype about LeBron and Melo playing together is. Everyone seems to think this is too good a fit not to happen, but it's hard to imagine a worse fit than two superstars who play the same position teaming up. They'd be great due to their total talent, but they'd be far worse than LeBron and a healthy superstar at any other position on the floor.

If LeBron were to abandon Miami, Houston makes the most sense where he could at least land with Dwight Howard and James Harden, but that's not going to happen either. No, Miami will be back, they'll likely be deadly next year as well. Wade's impending retirement will allow him to take a non-paycut paycut while Bosh/LeBron will more than likely show a willingness to take less.

My guess is this manifests itself in a strong supporting cast with a legit center like Gortat or possibly the floor spacing Spencer Hawes along with a real PG rather than Anthony, but we'll see how it shakes out. Either way, the Miami dynasty has zero to two years left before it falls apart.

As for that Dr appointment? It went well. My daughter still needs a major surgery [already known beforehand, so not news], but all the possible extra complications that came up on the first MRI turned out to be nothing when it was repeated with contrast [good news].

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  • Doug,

    I am happy to hear you had relatively good news on your daughter. Everyone will be hoping everything goes well with her surgery.

    I have a question regarding Wade. If, as you say, the Heat give him a 4-year deal that will pay him about 43-44 million in total, with the understanding that he likely plays just two more years, won't the Heat have to waive him at the end of those two years for him to actually collect all the money? He cannot retire and still collect it all, right? It is a technicality I know, but it could lead to an awkward moment where the headline reads "Heat waives Wade".

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Yeah everyone saying Wade will opt out and make less per year and spread guaranteed money over multiple years - that only works if Wade plays the full amount of years. If he spreads the 42M he's owed over 4 years and retires in 2 years, he's leaving guaranteed money on the table. Now there could be a promise of ownership stake and front office job guarantee when he retires but still to leave $20M is tough. Plus maybe he tries to play but he's a shell of himself during year 3 and 4 of that deal - now the org looks at a $10M 6th man off the bench he'll get beat up for that.

    Even if the Wade plays 4 years, why would I take my 42M over for years when i can get 42M over 2 years and make probably another 5-6M for another two years. Over 4 years, thats about $50M I'm leaving on the table.

  • Follow your site regularly, however rarely comment. Glad to hear the Dr. Went as well as could be expected. Nothing more consuming than a parents worries, hope she recovers quickly!

  • Yes, hope your daughter is ok.

    And, yes, Miami will be a tough out again next year. Hopefully the Bulls can show more promise by landing Melo or Love.

    Even without those two, adding Rose (if healthy), Mirotic, 1 or 2 role-playing rookies and another FA or two makes Chicago a top 3 team in the East again. No Love or Melo means the Bulls will be deep.

    Short of Melo or Love, I'm really hoping for Stauskas tomorrow night. I love Jay Bilas' summary of him. A great shooter with a cockiness to him. Although maybe plan C, after Love and Melo, is to trade for Afflalo.

  • In reply to Granby:

    What if the Bulls draft Hood, Payne, bring in Mirotic, resign DJ/Hinrich? That's, to me, a worst case "reasonable" off-season. Even in that case, the Bulls just add two guys who shot over 40% in college who both have decent athleticism and a guy expected to be a great shooter coming from Europe.

    You bring back Augustin who can shoot and hope Rose is healthy, and you've now got five shooters on the roster (Augustine, Dunleavy, + the three you added). All of a sudden the Bulls spacing looks quite a bit better doesn't it.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    My worst case scenario is they trade both picks to move up to land Adam Morrison... ugh I mean Doug McDermott as rumor has they love him for some reason and miss on DJ because someone offers him 3-5 per. Leaving us with a third straight busted draft and no secondary shot creator for the second year in a row because they have no clue what drives the offense.

    NBADraft.net has us landing Elfrid Payton and Adriane Payne which would be awesome. I am also a fan of Rodney Hood as in your scenario.

    I like your worst case scenario much more I am very pessimistic when it comes to GarPax but I really hope I am wrong and you are more in the know than I so hopefully your scenario is more likely.

    Hope all goes well with your daughters coming surgery!

  • In reply to Chad:

    Man, I would do backflips if we get Payton and Payne. It seems like everyone is falling in love with Payton in workouts, surprise if he makes it down to us.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Worst case scenarios could be much worse.... I suppose.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Brilliant. That's exactly what the Bulls need: guys who can play some D (a requirement under Thibs to get floor time) but also ones that can shoot the 3. Obviously, Murphy was atrocious on D, as he's a solid 3 point shooter who never saw the floor last year. I thought he could be like a Matt Bonner, but Thibs never played him.

    Let's face it, the Spurs are the model. Sure, they play a superior system and have genuine stars in Parker, Duncan, Leonard and Ginobli. But they also have SIX top-level 3-point shooters — Leonard, Manu, Green, Belinelli, Mills, Bonner — and two guys in Diaw and Parker who can hit corner 3s. Scary.

    The Bulls last year? Uh, Dunleavy and Augustine. Butler regressed from the 3 point line, Snell barely shot, Murphy didn't play, Hinrich can't shoot ...

    So, yes, I love Doug's plan ... I admit to also liking Stauskas. Oh, there's those dudes Love and Melo who both could help things, too, but getting either remains a small possibility.

  • Good to hear about your daughter, Doug. Our first child is 18 months and I take every appointment seriously, unnecessarily or not.

    I wonder if it would "help" sway Melo to consider taking less with the Bulls if GarPax floats it out there that Melo is still the priority and LeBron's opt-out is a non-factor. That being said, I'm prepared for Plan C to actually take place, and I don't even know what makes up Plan C.

    What if Pau Gasol is willing to sign for lower than market value and is also willing to come off the bench? Would you consider that as part of a Plan C, which could include brigning Mirotic over and whoever is drafted?

  • In reply to JPesos1230:

    I like Gasol on short money for plan C, along with possibly Afflalo.

    15 mil for 2 years? Why not? If he's open to a 6th man role and playing 30 min/game at his advanced age in order to extend his career and compete for a championship... Talk about adding shooting to the roster.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Gasol can still command double teams and I think he'd feast on opponents' 2nd units. I believe he had a great game against Noah last season too. He's got a great basketball IQ as well.

    I may be biased since he's one of my favorite players but a change of scenery and role can rejuvenate players.

  • Good news about your daughter, Doug.

    There was a rumor of Orlando planning to swap picks with Cleveland and ship Afflalo to make it happen. If this is true, we can forget about plan C and move on to plan D if Carmelo or Love strikes out.

  • I say pass on James, Bosh, and Wade if either were available, especially Lebron cause he doesn't know what it means to be loyal. After the way they played us for the fool last time it's not even worth it. I say stick with the original targets Carmelo and Love which we actually have a strong chance of getting. If we can get them then take whatevers left and work with what you have but don't take any of those clowns in Miami. At some point you have to have some pride.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    I agree. He's not gonna come here anyway, but no need being his bitch on top of it(that's Bosh's job).

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Yes, F LeBron. Would be hard to cheer for that guy. As a fan, I want a guy that I can get behind, not a disloyal, front runner, flopping fool.

  • Doug I'm sure everyone here wishes your daughter the best of health and a successful and speedy recovery.

    As to James, I agree it would seem likely that Riley's grip on the big three will remain as he is the master manipulator(of weak minded athletes and G.M.'s). Though that essentially ass whipping, beat down has to leave a bad taste in those guys mouths(aside from Riley's.. OK that's just wrong, never mind).

    I just wonder if LeBron sees a team like the Spurs(who nearly beat him twice in a row and pounded the hell out of his team just now), and wonders what it would be like to play for a legit coach like Pop? Not to say he would reach out to the Spurs, but what about a guy like Doc Rivers? Not only does he get the L.A. rock star scene/treatment, but the beautiful weather along with it. It's essentially Miami on steroids, but with a "real" coach in Doc Rivers. Plus the post Sterling "righting the wrongs campaign" could inoculate him somewhat from the quitter when the going get's tough/aka Riley's rant sans trap. Funny how the rant included ripping on a "real" coaches team in Pop/the Spurs(though granted it could just be sour grapes from the ass whooping they gave him).

    While I think you could argue Spoelstra is not a joke or anything with two championships(I would not be the one making that argument), still, seeing LeBron's clear admiration for Pop and the fact that unlike the other greats of his time and before(Michael and Kobe), James has never played for someone viewed as an excellent coach in his own right. Of course you could argue Rivers is not that guy, but I think many players would say he is.

    There are rumblings that the Clipper's will make a play for James. Of course with their obscene payroll, it's hard to fathom how they pull that off. Chris Paul and his $20 Mil escalating salary, who despite his talents how much has he really effected winning/playoffs success? Still, you find a way to pair he and Griffin with James..? Of course Jordan and his salary would have to go bye-bye, leaving them without a big man.

    It seems only Riley can work such payroll shredding magic. And while I think Riley wins/retains control of LeBron, things potentially could get interesting.

  • Side note: Despite the fantasy league Love and Carmelo add, is it really worth passing up on such a talent loaded draft to slash payroll to "make room" for Love and/or Carmelo? I know many will say hell yes, but with Gar/Pax, I'm sorry, I just don't see it getting done I really don't.

    That's fine if people want to stick with that, but I'd be just as happy trying to bring in offensive talent after just the debacle of an offense the Bulls have had recently. Say you draft Rodney Hood and Adreian Payne, both serious talents. Then you either retain Taj or move him for a shooter and replace him with Mirotic(though I have serious doubts he's coming over this summer/next year).

    If Mirotic is a good offensive player which I think he very likely will be, and Payne is a nice stretch four with beastly put back powers, and then you add him and another seasoned(for a rookie) player in Rodney hood who can just flat out shoot the hell out of the ball? If they could somehow add Afflalo to the mix(doesn't look that way - or another well regarded shooter) then that would be a serious offensive upgrade in my book.

    Then you have Taj/Mirotic, Noah, Rose assume he's healthy good not great player, Payne, Hood, another shooter, Butler's D hopefully improved three and that could be an entertaining team to watch. I'd be happy with it. Especially if Mirotic blossoms as does Hood and Payne looks good with Rose back that could be a fun team to watch with Thibs D.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Yes, a pretty good worse case scenario... I think Taj will be much improved starting at PF and getting 35-40 min/game. He should get first team All-NBA defense and he could ave 16 and 10 if he continues to hit the mid-range shots with Rose back - all on $8 mil/year for 3 more years... wow.

    Plus Rose back. Mirotic coming in plan C and D... depth and shooting will be better. Even plan C puts the Bulls in the top 2 or 3 in the East in my view.

  • In reply to Granby:

    " Even plan C puts the Bulls in the top 2 or 3 in the East in my view."

    I agree. And it had better. The team was a shot or two away from being top 3 last season! Adding Rose, Mirotic, and a couple of decent picks ought to get them to 2nd seed in the East. Even if they get Melo, they would still likely wind up 2nd seed if Miami upgrades their roster significantly. But the Bulls are trending up.

    Now we see how good the FO really is. They need a splash without overpaying. One 3-way trade involving Orlando and NY has the Bulls getting both Melo and Afflalo, plus keeping Taj. Starting 5: Melo, Noah, Taj, Rose, and Afflalo. Butler, Boozer, Mirotic, Dunleavy, and picks gone.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    First let me join the others here Doug wishing the best for your daughter.

    I also hope the Bulls make both draft selections instead of stashing one in Europe because I have ZERO confidence in GarPax doing anything in free agency. I think Doug's worse case scenario will be the only scenario for the incompetent GarPax so they might as well maximize what the can get out of this draft. The last thing I want is another Mirotic situation where we have to wait year after year to see when a player is coming over and whether he is going to be any good once he gets here.

    I also believe that when 16 and 19 roll round, the Bulls will blow the picks. The stench of the Teague and Snell picks still lingers.

  • BTW - I think Melo to Bulls is either a done deal, or Melo is completely using the Bulls to get as much salary as possible from NY.

    Boeheim is now saying that a Thibs - Melo partnership would work and he's had conversations with Melo and Thibs about it.

    Thibs helping out with Team USA could have been HUGE all along in this Melo recruitment.

    All signs point to Melo joining the Bulls. (As a Chicago fan, waiting for the punch line!)

  • In light of the Sporting News report: Bulls in play for Sac's No. 8 presumably for Doug McDermott, just for the hell of it I Googled Bulls, Doug McDermott. What came up was K.C. Johnson's Tribune article of yesterday in which he intimated don't be surprised if the "trading both picks away for future picks to clear payroll" announcement by Gar a month ago at the NBA draft combine was just a ruse ala Jerry Krause.

    In futile aka typical Gar/Pax fashion they supposedly have been pestering every team in the lottery to give up a superior pick for two inferior ones(earth to Gar/Pax - you have to add a player you bone heads).

    Though his message is a little murky it seems to suggest the Bulls, barring a successful trade up(hardy-har) will use at least one of their picks likely for a wing/SG. Shocker! On his list: McDermott(duh, duh, duhhhh!) and Harris, Stauskas(trade ups), Hood, and Young at 16.

    Thing is, while some mocks show Hood there at 16 several have him gone including NBADraft.net which would leave only James Young. Would they draft a guy whose regarded as somewhat raw though rated as one of the top scorers in the country out of H.S., and while erratic shooting last year, rated by scouts as having an exceptional shooting ability and huge scoring potential down the road? Surely they know Thibs will put him in the "cooler?"

    I almost hope for Young's sake they don't draft him with Thibs would be a bad match. K.C. also notes Adreian Payne worked out this week as well for Chicago. I don't suppose another wing/SF option would be the uber athletic scorer/shooter Cleanthony Early?? Problem is he needs work defensively, and could he therefore play SF in the NBA right away? Answer: probably not if Thibs has anything to say about it. Oh well, Gar/Pax inept "dealing", Thibs by nature shutting out draft possibilities one after the other.. draft night awaits.. whoopee.

  • Final thought:(Thibs be damned) if the other guards/wings are gone, and you don't take a James Young take Payne at 16 and Early at 19. Though I know this will never happen. Or.. Plan Z: trade down from 19 and get C.J. Wilcox and Jordan Adams late first rounders. With 16 Payne. OK, I'm suffering from a lack of REM sleep over and out.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I like all those guys. Not enamored with Young, even as a UK grad. BTW - I was down on Teague when he was drafted by the Bulls... or, how about the kid with the hops from UCLA, Lavine - 46 inch vert at the Lakers tryout?! His dunk the other day was unreal.

  • Praying best for daughter and peace for you.
    On basketball: it just seems that there are so many options this summer for Bulls not to get better, right? right? please assure me this will be a better team next year

  • In reply to Aslan:

    Unfortunately, one of the very plausible off-season scenarios is the Bulls make no significant improvements at all. Even with the preferred Melo/Love acquisitions, you are still giving up assets to make that happen (depth killers), so the impact of such moves maybe isn't as substantial as some might believe. The worst case scenario is the Bulls miss out on all the major free agent movement, don't work out any trades, and blow both 1st rounders on guys who either won't get play time, or shouldn't even be in the NBA in the first place. The variety of possibilities make this time of year very exciting, offering lots of hope; but hope can be a dangerous thing.

    A full season of Derrick Rose on the court, may be the only reasonable expectation for improvement going into next season..

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    Doug, wishing the best for your daughter and thanks for continuing to post with everything going on.

    I, like most if not all of you, like the "worst case scenario" and I believe that there is 1 or 2 future all-stars to be found between picks 15-30 along with several other productive players.

    My question is if Melo is truly in play, do we need to consider who NYK would covet when drafting in case they are willing to work with us in a Boozer S&T?

  • In reply to TommyO:

    Some on the NBA network have been saying that we may be picking for other teams at 16 and 19 and not even know it until sign and trade deals are announced in a week or two.

    Also possible that Orlando or Sacramento or Denver could be picking for us, and then we learn when 16 comes around and a trade is announced.

  • Doug I love your articles! Thank you for keeping us informed even with all that is going on with your daughter! Glad she didn't have further complications!
    I, as well as everyone here, hopes the Bulls make some serious upgrades this offseason!
    I feel Melo is the guy the Bulls need 1 of the best offensive players in the game, he isn't LeBron but not terribly far off from what I have seen of him!
    I feel Taj and Noah need to be paired up and Mirotic will hopefully come over this summer as well. We need shooting bad as you said the Spurs blue printed not only what beat the Heat, but they blew them out so bad too! Was so fun to watch! :-)
    If we can't get Melo, then hope we get Love but without sending over Noah or Taj that is hard to do, same with Melo they will want alot in return for him! Even if we have to take a bad contract such as Felton from NY hopefully we can ship Boozer to them!

  • As someone who has had 2 major back surgeries and never ending back & leg problems for over 35 years I can only wish you the best.
    In my years of going to back surgeons and neurologists I haven't seen many little kids(if any), so I hope that it is nothing too serious. I imagine that like just about everything else in life, you bounce back better and quicker when you are young. Godspeed to both of you.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    All this will get cured under the Kingdom of God. Meanwhile, we pray for the best results possible for all with serious health issues.

  • Mavs is trying to turn themselves into a Knicks by acquiring Felton and Chandler. Their hopes are to lure Carmelo as well. Not sure if this is a good or bad news for the Bulls. Knicks are sending the message that they are in rebuilding mode IMO.

  • For a little perspective on how nobody really knows anything about the draft, check out Bill Simmons latest opus. Where he redrafts every draft since 1995.

    http://grantland.com/features/nba-draft-crapshoot-repick-1995/

    While you might disagree with some of his picks, you really can't argue his main point that the draft is a way bigger crapshoot than anyone wants to admit. Everyone is way too optimistic before the players are picked. Which is why, I don't think that I would trade 16 & 19 for any of the picks between 8-12 as rumored. One of the guys that we get at 16 or 19 could easily be better than anyone drafted 8-12. We might get lucky and pick right guy or just as likely not.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    By the way the Bulls faired pretty well in his redrafts. Taj moved up to #6, Jimmy #11, and Noah #2, Asik #12, while Rose slipped to #3(almost certainly due to injury, not performance). Deng moved up to 4 from 7(crappy draft), while Gordon dropped from 3 to 12(even that seems very high given what a total piece of garbage that he has been since he got his money, just as I predicted before he got his money). Carlos the Bamboozler moves up from 34 to 3(clearly ignoring his entire Bulls career).

    Non Bulls related he claims that Pat Riley almost took Chris Kaman over Wade, which means the Bulls might have gotten Wade instead of Hinrich and the Big 3 maybe ends up in Chicago.

    He also claims that the Bulls could have had the #1 pick in 2001(for Elton Brand) that the Wiz used on Kwame Brown, but Jordan & Krause hated each other too much to make the deal.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    All that Bill Simmons proves is that he doesn't understand probability. Look at this gem:

    "If you don’t get a top-three pick, you maintain about a SIXTY percent chance of landing one of the best three players."

    No you bloody well don't. Some team has a 60% chance of landing one of the best 3 players, but the chances of it being your team are much, much lower than that unless you've managed to acquire picks 4 through 60 all for yourself.

    All serious analysis of the draft shows that yes, there's a lot of noise, but each pick is on average more valuable than the one that comes before it. I mean if you take the crap shot argument to its logical conclusion, you should just trade all your draft picks and only sign players who didn't get drafted instead since sometimes undrafted players like Ben Wallace are better than the guys drafted.

    I think Bill Simmons knows this and is being more than a little disingenuous - he's going to be part of the draft telecast and hyping it up as exciting and anything could happen so you better watch no matter what picks your team has is in his interest.

    Trading up can make sense - the guy taken at 10 is on average more valuable than the guy taken at 16 or 19, and even if together 16 and 19 are more valuable, you can only have 5 players on the court and so concentrating your talent into as few players as possible has value in itself that a simple 10 vs 16 + 19 doesn't capture.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    If the draft were a math test, then you would be right. But since it is a selection of human beings it cannot be accurately modeled by any mathematical algorythm. If it could the results of the draft would not end up being so random and Simmons article could not have been written.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Agree. Some mocks have Hood dropping to 16. Talentwise, I would put him at the same level as Harris or Stauskas who will both probably go in the lottery. I am a big Hood fan. Will be a starter for some team for ten years. At 19 there will also be a good player.

    One guy I am warming up to is Kyle Anderson. Super high basketball IQ. The more I see him on you tube the better I like him. Also a fan of McDaniels. One or both of these guys will be there at 19.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    That was really a fun read and while I can see the point that Shakes makes, fact is, a #8 doesn't have a much higher chance of succeeding than a #16 pick. Sure it's a little higher, but all things being equal, you're better off with more picks, and more players who have a chance of developing. Even "can't miss" guys have missed, while some star players have come from seemingly out of nowhere.

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