The Miami Heat hold a commanding 3-0 lead over the Charlotte Bobcats as the team attempts a three-peat for the NBA championship, despite much speculation about whether this will be the Big Three’s last hurrah.
This summer LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all have early terminations options in their contracts, and by opting out all three could become unrestricted free agents. Will it be the end of the Big Three? Not according to the team owner.
In an interview with 790 The Ticket in Miami, Heat owner Micky Arison said he pegged the chances of the Big Three remaining intact at 100 percent.
“I hope it’s not gonna be a challenge at all,” Arison added. “We’ll see. Our challenge right now is the Charlotte Bobcats.”
The equation gets a bit more convoluted when you consider either James or Bosh or Wade, or some combination of the two or three, could remain or opt to remain in South Beach. Or they could all opt out of their contracts to re-sign with the team to give Miami more financial flexibility.
Earlier this month, Wade — the longest-tenured member of the Heat — said the future of the Big Three is contingent on what James decides to do. Wade said he hopes to retire as a member of the only franchise he’s played for in the NBA, while James may have to consider whether he can continue win championships with the Heat and their aging roster.
Speculation over the past few months has linked James to the Los Angeles Lakers, which will look to rebuild this summer and next around Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. It’s unknown how the retention of coach Mike D’Antoni will factor in.
James has also been linked to the New York Knicks under new president Phil Jackson. He could be a replacement for Carmelo Anthony, who is also expected to reach free agency this summer. He’s also coveted by his hometown club, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Previously, ESPN Heat beat reporter Michael Wallace stated he is confident the Big Three will all remain with the Heat, as the organization will re-tool and re-build about James in order to remain competitive.
“I think all three are staying,” Wallace said. “LeBron is the biggest question mark. It all starts and ends with LeBron James… It’s all about LeBron James, and the fact of the matter is he can’t foresee or envision a scenario right now in which he’d want to leave. He’s still publicly saying ‘we’ll see,’ but a lot of the moves and things he’s saying behind the scenes is that he’s comfortable in Miami.”
Winning a third straight championship will also likely favor the Heat’s chances of keeping its core.