Red Hot Now, Heat’s Shelf Life Up In ’14

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HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – Loving the Miami Heat’s dominance or loathing it?

Revel or wallow while you can because the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh Heat are a short-term dynasty, a manufactured championship club stamped with an expiration date: June 30, 2014.

As the Heat seek a 24th consecutive victory in their chase to 33 tonight at Cleveland (7 ET, League Pass), the team’s life span, as projected through the lens of contract kill clauses and a screw-tightening collective bargaining agreement, is approaching 15 months and ticking.

Consummated under the old CBA rules in the summer of 2010 by the free-agent signings of James and Bosh and the re-signing of Wade, the Heat have a chance to secure not three, not four, not five … but just two more titles, this season and next, before the franchise is left without its core to (potentially) go for four.

Following the 2013-14 season, James, Bosh and Wade each have an early termination clause that, if exercised, will nullify their respective contracts one season short of completion. Despite all three set to collect in excess of $20 million for the 2014-15 season, it is already being speculated — if not already accepted — that James, if not all three, will terminate and become free agents on July 1, 2014.

James and Bosh, both of whom make $17.5 million this season — less than Joe Johnson, Pau Gasol and Amar’e Stoudemire — agreed to sign with Miami for less money to join Wade, who also took less ($17.2 million this season). That made the union possible and gave president Pat Riley the flexibility to put pieces around them.

Each could have garnered the maximum amount from another team with cap space. Recall the Knicks, like the Heat, dumping salaries solely to carve room to woo James? Now, on his way to a fourth MVP trophy in five seasons, James is nearly certain to cash in his maximum value by taking his talents elsewhere as the league’s teams adjust to the new CBA.

Even if exceptional Heat owner Mickey Arison dreamed of keeping all three together beyond the 2013-14 season, the new CBA makes it painfully, and impossibly, expensive. James, Bosh and Wade, who will turn 33 during the 2014-15 season, would eat up more than $60 million of the roster, already putting the Heat at or close to the salary cap, and about $10 to $13 million short of the luxury tax.

With luxury tax fines that are no longer dollar-for-dollar, but rather increase with each $5 million over the luxury tax line, crippling limitations on trades and devaluing the important mid-level exception for teams over the luxury tax “apron” — $4 million over the tax line — and the looming hammer of the “repeater” tax for chronic high rollers (a tax that a team with more than two high-dollar, long-term contracts can’t dodge), the three-star roster model is being downgraded to a more economical two-star configuration by the CBA the owners and players agreed to over Thanksgiving 2011.

As Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen wrote in December, if the Heat kept the Big Three, plus the four other players under contract for the 2014-15 season, then filled out the roster with minimum-salary players, the Heat could be looking at a summer 2015 tax bill, including the “repeater” tax, of $48 million for a total one-season roster cost of $141.3 million.

So, where will James play next? That speculation has already begun. Maybe he’ll usher out the Kobe Bryant era and begin a new Lakers reign with Dwight Howard. Or maybe he’ll return to Cleveland to re-conquer his home territory and pair with rising All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.

Wherever he lands, the writing is on the wall for this unbeatable Miami Heat team.

Love them or hate them, enjoy them or loathe them while they’re still intact. Because after next season, the Heat’s Big Three will almost undoubtedly go their separate ways.

59 Comments

  1. lolololol says:

    whats with the comments writing Wade off after 2 more years? I thought the article was dumb but anyone who thinks Wade is 6 man material in 2 years is an idiot. His numbers aren’t down at all except he gets less touches because he plays with Lebron and Bosh now.. how on earth did so many people forget how good he still is?

  2. Chris says:

    You guys are slow, even Shaq himself has stated that he has never once spent his nba salary money because his endorsement money provided for all his expenses. You don’t think these 3 will stay together for a bit less money? I’m sure Lebron,Wade,and Bosh make WAY more money from their endorsements than he does in his NBA contract, and if money isn’t the concern than there is no reason for these 3 to separate. Look at facts people, the NBA isn’t where greats make their money, it’s all in the endorsements.

  3. Kal says:

    LeBron going back to Cleveland would be a thing of beauty… and drama… and legend… it would be an amazing story. especially if he and Kyrie managed to get a ring at some point. it would really silence all LeBron’s critics, cement his legacy once and for all when combined with the Heat accomplishments… and even i would humbly bow down to The King at that point. as it is now, as great a player as he is (one of the ten best ever… at least ten, maybe five…) there’s always going to be that “Cleveland controversy” as part of his legacy. he’s put to rest the idea that he can’t win a ring. now it’s more about, just how great are you? MJ led the Bulls to six rings. Kobe got two by his lonesome. LeBron getting one for Cleveland… hell, LeBron even trying once more to do it for Cleveland, after that who could still hate?

    but i’m guessing, sadly, it won’t happen and it will follow him around forever.

    ps. not a Clevelander or Cavs fan, just sayin as an NBA fan.

  4. BigMike(From North Hill in Akron,Ohio says:

    I highly doubt that Lebron James will return to my beloved Cavaliers. Despite Akron being home to him,and the way things ended between the Cavs and Lebron.Lebron wants to be the greatest ever. He made the Miami Heat his team,and is well on the way to his 4th MVP of the regular season,as well as possibly repeating and earning another NBA Finals MVP as well.The Heat will have to have won 7 titles before he would consider leaving the Heat. As much money as Lebron gets in endorsements,I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes a pay cut to keep his teammates intact.However if Wades knees get bad in near future more than they already are and he retires,then yes I think he would consider returning to Cleveland.But considering and actually doing it are two very different things.

  5. Realist2013 says:

    I like the heat and they are the defending champs ,but the regular season is just a doorway to the playoffs. the spurs had a similar streak and look what happened. Good way to mess up is to get caught up in the moment and forget you are playing against the leagues best during those elimination games. They shouldnt even look at the streak until its all said and done. Celebrating and bragging is how Dallas And the Spurs let both Miami and the Clippers know whats up. I.E. dont poke a sleeping giant.

  6. Martin Heiman says:

    I don’t know what planet this guy is writing on but players take less to play with the Heat. Ray Allen took 1/2 of what he could get on the open market to play with the Heat. These super stars don’t need or want the extra few million from 20 up to 25 million a year if it means giving up a championship. That extra money means nothing. What means something to the superstars is winning a championship and getting their exposure. And when your taking about the Heat organization they do what they want and do it right. LeBran wants to be on the same level in history as Jordan and he’s not going to do in any place but in Miami.

  7. jeezy says:

    Just resign lebron and wade. Bosh is soft anyways the heat dont need him

  8. Mike says:

    I don’t quite understand how Irving and James would work, both are best with the ball in their hands, James is in his prime now, and Irving will just be getting better for the next few years, I don’t see either of them stepping aside in the way Wade has. Maybe in a few years, when James is getting older and more willing to take a step back (if that ever happens), but I definitely don’t see it happening next year.

  9. no one will FU**** LEAVE the MIAMI HEAT ORGANIZATION.. period..
    LBJ,BOSH and WADE forever BIG THREE in SOUTH BEACH! so feel the HEAT in SOUTH BEACH!

  10. Fidelvi says:

    Not happening bottom line the big 3 will take less money if that’s the case.

  11. shepherd says:

    Hope he comes back to cleveland! Imagine a lineup with James, Irving, Waiters, Thompson, Zeller, and a few other first round picks!

  12. Number4 says:

    How do you get paid to write an article like this? Are you really a professional? WHAT IS YOUR POINT? The Heat are currently on the most admirable streak the NBA has seen in a while. Did you know that Lebron makes 40 Mil in endorsements? With 3 Rings on your ‘expiration date’ June 30 2014. Wade at 33 with his stock rising off court since he left Nike to sign with Li Ning last fall & Bosh living his dream. Why would they break it up? So Maybe Bosh, Wade & Lebron signs for 14, 15 & 16 Mil Respectively. Maybe not. But why are you even talking about this is March 2013 When the Heat is BLAZING HOT? Let fans enjoy basketball. Talk about something that’s relevant.

    • pekpek@kantot.sarap says:

      hey. its relevant. try to use your head, knucklehead, lol. he.s just giving you the facts wl no bias. lol

  13. Sean says:

    I don’t know how Lebron and Bosh think, but if I were them, I would play for (a lot) less money and I’m still pretty sure they would make at least 200 times the average American. I think Wade is most likely gonna stay either way

  14. baboy says:

    since the big three started something really good, i think they will keep it.. they will find a way.. plus the fact that they may be ready to sacrifice more money for glory..

  15. asdfrom says:

    I say Now is the right time to put Lebron in the greatest discussion. Champion? Done. Clutch? Done. Scary on the last minutes, Done. Bring it on. This is the START.

  16. Jack says:

    Meh… don’t like the guy.

  17. always my team. labron, Wade and Bosh. was and still is three of the six best players in the game says:

    labron, you are the best nba player of all time. Wade you are the most skilled player in the the nba. no one else even close to you. and Bosh. you are the purest and coolest shooter in the nba. may god be with you guys and the miami heat team. i will like to be at one of your games. but i cannot afford it. but i watch every game the team plays. thank you all.

  18. Nestor Rojas says:

    All you guys saying Lebron took path of least resistance are full of it. Why? Because he chose to do what GM’s do around the league to contend for a title year-in-year-out?
    Lebron chose to make his own moves rather than sit in Cleveland( or anywhere else) and have an owner dictate who he plays with.
    Bottom line is this: Kobe Bryant has had more help than Jordam and Lebron ever had.

    Kobe Bryant has played with over 20 current or former all-stars while Lebron has played with just five and Jordan played with just 4.

    I’m a Celtic fan and unbyestly Lebron’s numbers speak for themselves… 2-3 more titles and you can really start making an argument for him being the GOAT…the guy is far more efficient than Kobe and Jordan. Check the stats!!!

  19. RIP Jason TERRY says:

    All three WILL take less money to stay together. Not only will they desire to stay together, but they will also desire to stay with Ray Allen and Battier. Sorry hater Caplan, but you fail to realize that there is actual brotherhood in the Miami Heat. And as someone earlier stated, do you know how much they make in endorsements? Article is laughable and you should be banned for wasting people’s time posting such garbage.

  20. celtics celtics dreamer says:

    Hey lebron come join Boston. Now that’s making history lmao. Dreamer.

  21. Aram says:

    That’s a long way to go. Just patch up some endorsements..

  22. big 3 says:

    heat will definetly win the next 2 rings and after that they will only be able to keep all 3 of the big 3 if they accept to less monry… in other words they will all stay together and keep on winning!!! i mean who wouldn’t give up a few million if you had so much to win more championship rings withh a team you love??

  23. Sonics 4 Life says:

    This won’t be the first championship team that could be broken up and certainly not the last.

    Why dedicate space to fueling speculative rumors?

    There are like 13 or 14 teams that get little exposure on this site. It doesn’t need to be Heat 24/7 around here.

  24. NBALogics says:

    If Lebron goes to the Lakers Kobe will most likely stay in the League for less pay and the Lakers will be the best option besides the Heat to win a championship. Otherwise Dwayne will be 33 like this Article says you can pay him less and Lebron and Bosh less they will still make it up in endorsements and blah blah. If they do split up tho I’d like to see Bosh with the Nets, Lebron with the Lakers and Dwayne Wade with the Bulls. Maybe Bulls + Nets ECF’s and Bulls + Lakers finals or Nets + Lakers Finals? Who knows.

    • HEATFANSINCEWADE says:

      Wade is going to be a heat for life period!!!! James too and even bosh! like bosh said no one remembers a 20-10 guys but everyone remembers a dynasty! yall are crazy if you think wade will be traded lol Heat dynasty has begun!

  25. Aaron says:

    I am writing this comment just to say that as impressive as this heat streak has been, I’m getting tired of seeing Lebron plastered on the home page every day.

  26. 2 + 2 = 7 says:

    There are so many Heat haters, ( Probably including who wrote this article), which are desperately eager to express any opinion, –albeit speculative– on like or that way they can destroy or dismantle a winning team, with the accounts either math about future salary or such you see as they would like these super stars are distributed in other team…..Ufsss, get a life…

  27. Dan Meadows says:

    There’s also the possibility of LeBron staying, Bosh or Wade opting out, or trading either/both’s then-expiring contracts and reloading around the best player in the league in his prime. James in Cleveland sounds good as a redemption story but I don’t like the on-court match with Irving. LeBron isn’t going to play with a high-usage point guard in his prime seasons. He is a high usage point guard and Miami has only reached its peak with James controlling the game. The Lakers are a mess with the younger Buss clearly lacking the basketball acumen of the father. I think he stays in Miami and the other two of the big three go. Maybe Wade stays, but he’ll have to take a big pay cut on next contract at 33.

  28. Jay Mercy says:

    LeBron is too great to become a player that played for 3 teams I mean he already left Cleveland, I think he should stay and try to get at bout that 4-6 ring mark and at the rate he is going he will end up with about 7-8 Mvp’s, I mean Lebron and Bosh is the most deadly combination and their 28 years old and wad’s 31, I believe Wade may have 3-4 more good playing years, so even when wade ain’t wade anymore you’ll still have LeBron and Bosh still in their prime and I believe Pat Riley have the brains to relize that and will make sure that the Miami Heat’s era last long as possible so I really doubt that the heat will be broken up jus after four years of playing together

  29. sleeplessbull says:

    i`m looking forward to it… maybe this time the bulls can get some peace… i guess Wade will finish hir career in Miami… Bosh can go with god.. i dont care… and Lebum yeah here is the big question… i guess he will go to the lakers they have the correct front office to lure him to LA.. the chicago guys wont get anything again… cause they dont have the balls!!

  30. Joy Legacy says:

    If lebron wins more championships and becomes even close to jordan he will be making money like jordan for the rest of his life so he could take less cash.

  31. King james says:

    I want LeBron to go to cleveland to win a title he will be loved again from the fans in cleveland and have Kyrie with him. LeBron is definitely gonna be top 10 greatest of all time.

  32. Marcus K says:

    Article lame Lebron last year was the 4th highest paid athlete in the world and [1nba player] ahead of kobe guess why… the dude rakes in tons of endorsements and people salavate over buying his shoes + miami no tax. If he wins more chips guess whsoe going to get more endorsements and be more popular. And theres less tax in miami. but this is just a troll article it just talks about lebron to start drama doesnt mention bosh could sign somewhere else [hope not] or hye coudl take less money. Finally doubt he going back to cleveland you can’t guilt the man the most logical place except for miami is LA as in clippers with his best friend Chris Paul or where ever paul plays next year lol.

  33. Stu-Brew says:

    He’s not going anywhere he’ll re-sign with the Heat

  34. AM says:

    And what about if Lebron, Wade and Bosh, all of them opt out in 2014 and sign again for, let’s say, 16 million? That could make it

  35. Pants Shirts says:

    “Because after next season, the Heat’s Big Three will almost undoubtedly go their separate ways.” That was the last line of the column. As we can clearly see the writer has no clue if the team will or won’t be intact I.e. “almost undoubtedly” which is an oxymoron. Either way I doubt LeBron will go to LA for more money and more taxes via. State and Federal Taxes.

    • slider821 says:

      haha good point. I love how Caplan’s idiocy comes out in his articles. They need to take his pen away, he’s the worst.

    • JDRCRASHER says:

      LMFAO.

      LeBron would earn so much more sums of wealth playing in America’s second-largest market (a reg. pop. of almost 20 million with a GDP of nearly one trillion) than he has in Miami that the taxes won’t matter.

      L blows Miami out of the water in nearly every economic sector. It’s not even close.

  36. Heat Hater says:

    If the Heat win another championship, or two, the big 3 may decide to sacrifice financially again, to stay together, to establish theirs as a legitimate dynasty, to rival the all-time greats (Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles). Do not underestimate the value of this to both players and management, and the lengths to which both will go to go down as one of the greatest in history.

  37. CallingYouOut says:

    This man, Jeff Caplan, is so obviously sore about the heat’s success. I don’t see what the point of writing this article is aside from trying to stir trouble and controversy. He presume’s that the Big Three will not resign with the heat because they will have more lucrative contracts to sign elsewhere. NEWSFLASH. They’ve all turned down big money already to play together. We don’t need you, Mr. Caplan,, to tell us where their priorities lie. I’ll be enjoying history in the making while you continue to spread your toxic speculations.

    • slider821 says:

      agreed. He presumes it’s all about max contracts despite that belief being squashed when they all took less money to sign. It comes down to rings; does Bron want as many rings as the Heat’s 3 can win and will take even less money to do so. Or does he want to play in cleveland? Or does he want max?

      Regardless of what he chooses, given Wade’s history, in 3 years I doubt he’ll be able to demand even the contract he has now. Great player and very deserving of the money he gets, don’t get me wrong, but in a few years I can see him winding down, possibly a 6th man and paid as such.

      • Lol says:

        Wade a 6th man? Wtf

      • HEATFANSINCEWADE says:

        LOL what are you smoking? you dont go from top 5 at least top 10 player in the whole league to being 6th man. Wade could score 28 a game by himself. He decided to take less shots and sacrifice for his team and bosh did so as well as james. Keep hoping they dont stay together haters lol but I gonna bet that these 3 great friends like playing together and will find a way to stay together, Bet on That. This run is far from over Haters!

  38. RB3 says:

    Spurs vs. Heat for Finals!

  39. standard says:

    that’s a shame for all of us NBA lovers
    no matter you love or hate them, greatness is greatness

  40. miniminer says:

    all good things come to an end

  41. heat_champs says:

    that is so frustrating.hope they could find a way to keep the big 3 rolling.:(

  42. grantstern says:

    Keep dreaming… The Heat have the money to pay the toll, so long a the team keeps winning. 102% attendance and a loyally committed fan base will do that. If anything, there may be an opt out to restructure a contract for less money. Lebron gives up nothing earning a few less Heat dollars in exchange for more titles, lower taxes and better weather…

  43. Bstarr says:

    Heat this and Heat that…that’s all we read lately. A firefighter will come soon and all the heat will be gone hehehehe

    tsssssssssssst

  44. Average Joe says:

    I would have to agree with Caplan on this one. I think there is no way for Arison to keep the Big 3 intact without sacrificing big money to the new CBA. So where will each of them play after 2014? Heck, I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  45. Average Joe says:

    So sayeth the doomsayer!

  46. Chris says:

    I’d like to see Lebron go back to Cleveland. It’d be interesting to see how well he performs alongside an elite point guard in the making, likely would ease some of his facilitator burden too while James himself would help Irving get more good open looks as well

  47. A says:

    sign with Charlotte if they’re still terrible
    challenge yourself

    or Cleveland
    humble yourself

    or the Lakers
    annoyingly possible

    or the Seattle Supersonics
    annoyingly impossible

    • berry says:

      go with either of the first two options. prove that “king” title is real. as it is in many people’s minds, lebron just took the path of least resistance

      • 34yr fan says:

        ….now why would …a “KING” take the path of least resistance???? Maybe so he would not be solely to blame if all didn’t go well…… like “year one” of his self-proclaimed 5-7 year championship ‘Dynasty’???? Time will tell….good luck to all !!