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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