The Miami Heat’s Big Three may increase to a Big Four next year, according to an ESPN.com report.
ESPN's Brian Windorst and Marc Stein reported Wednesday, citing sources, that the Heat has had internal discussions about trying to lure free agent small forward Carmelo Anthony to join the team over the summer.
ESPN.com reported the Heat’s LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade have started to explore options to create financial flexibility to make a run at adding Anthony in free agency this summer.
Amick tweeted Wednesday that, "LeBron always liked idea of playing w/Carmelo, but the idea that he could lessen load that's heavier because of Wade's knee program is key."
A lot of things would have to come together, primarily the Heat’s current Big Three and Anthony agreeing to take less money to play together in the Magic City.
ESPN.com’s report identified Miami as the “undisputed destination franchise with owner Micky Arison empowering big-thinking team president Pat Riley to pull off another coup…”
All four players have the ability to opt-out of their current contract at the end of the season and become unrestricted free agents. If all are willing to take less from the team and make it up in endorsements, anything is possible.
So how could the arrangement work?
Consider, the salary cap for the 2014-2015 season is projected to be around $63.2 million, based on reports from ESPN.com and USAToday.com. The luxury tax, which most teams want to avoid as a repeat offender, will be set around $77 million based on current projections.
If LeBron, Bosh, and D-Wade all chose to opt-out of their current contracts, the Heat would have four players under contract for next season. Udonis Haslem ($4.62 million), Chris Andersen ($1.44 million), Norris Cole ($2 million), and Justin Hamilton ($816,482) are under contract for next season, assuming Andersen and Haslem exercise their player options for next year.
The Heat can release Hamilton to help clear more salary cap room and have a total of three players and have roughly $8 million against the salary cap. That would give the Heat approximately $55.2 million to spread among the four players before the Heat even hit the salary cap.
Assuming the money was distributed evenly among James, Bosh, Wade, and Anthony, each player could sign for just below $14 million and the Heat would be at the salary cap with the Big Four plus Cole, Haslem, and Andersen under contract.
The Heat could at that point still have the full mid-level exception (approximately $5 million) or the mini-mid-level exception to sign at least one additional free agent plus add in a few more veterans to fill out the roster.
The Heat may be able to do all of that and still come in under the luxury tax of $77 million, though a few cap holds and the salary for the team’s first-round pick this year could add a few more wrinkles to the equation.
Still, it would all depend on the Big Three, plus Anthony, being willing to take less from the team to pursue a championship and reap the rewards through endorsements and other deals.
According to Forbes, Carmelo made $21.4 million in salary last year and another $8 million in endorsements. LeBron pulled in $19.3 million in salary and his endorsements came in at $53 million. Dwyane Wade made $18.9 million in salary and $11 million in endorsements while Chris Bosh had $19.3 million in salary and $2.5 million in endorsements.
For their careers, Carmelo has made $135 million, LeBron has pulled in $129 million, Chris Bosh has been paid $123 million, and Dwyane Wade has pulled down $121 million, according to hoopshype.com.
If money really isn’t an issue for the players, the potential Big Four in Miami may be possible to put together in July.