NBA Free Agency is at a standstill because the Big Three can’t make up their minds on payment, when the 2014 NBA Finals proved that the team is no longer made to withstand them at their 2011 price tags. In other words, there can be no Big Three without a snipping of paychecks. Yet, here we are, hearing that LeBron wants a max deal and that Wade and Bosh are making moves that indicate they want to get paid too (one way or another).
It should be said that all three players deserve to squeeze as many pennies out of a contact as they can. At first, that didn’t seem to be their goal as they all opted out of their contracts–in the case of Wade, leaving a lot of money on the table–seemingly to be able to make room for more salaries. It’s since become a waiting game as Wade and Bosh are said to be waiting for LeBron to re-sign and LeBron is waiting to re-sign once Pat Riley lands some added talent. But the talent hasn’t come. At least, not yet. All signs seem to be pointing to a pretty classic Catch-22 scenario where free agents are waiting for LeBron to make his move but LeBron won’t make any moves until he sees what free agents Miami can get.
Luol Deng, one of the remaining Miami targets, offers a look into the landscape Miami is contending with. He’d be a quality wing player, something the Heat are coveting right now, and could be seen as a potential substitute for LeBron to give him some rest in minutes and guarding the other team’s best player. But Deng had a falling out with the Chicago Bulls because he wouldn’t take $10 million a year. The Heat, with the Big Three’s projected salaries, couldn’t do much better. XN Sports thinks it’s doubtful they’ll get him.
Steve Blake and Trevor Ariza are two other names included in the mix. But neither would fully address the holes Miami needs plugging up, and, outside of their signings, picking up other quality role players is looking rather bleak.
And that’s the thing, when the Big Three came together, their combined talent was enough to overcome an otherwise depleted roster. They became champions when the organization was able to convince Shane Battier and Ray Allen to take less than they would get elsewhere but both players exist as outliers. Not just everyone is looking to get paid less to do less in Miami. And now, the Miami Heat need more than post-prime Shane Battiers and Ray Allens to remain relevant. They needed a Kyle Lowry or a Marcin Gortat. That’s no longer possible, for obvious reasons. But it further illustrates the dilemma the Big Three are currently caught in. Either they chase the money or they chase the glory. They are welcome to chase both, it just won’t be taking place in the same city.