Heat Closing in on LeBron & Bosh

Could the Miami Heat’s Big Three of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade be ready to implode after one of the most successful runs of any teams over a four-year period of time?

Multiple reports emerged Monday that the Cleveland Cavaliers are actively pursuing LeBron and are being given hope by his agent, Rich Paul, that the team has a realistic shot to sign the NBA’s top player.

According to ESPN, the Cavs pitched LeBron on a stable and young core of players. Specifically, the team is pushing point guard Kyrie Irving and rookie shooting guard Andrew Wiggins, along with a few other players already on the roster.

At the same time, the Houston Rockets have reportedly offered Bosh a four-year maximum value contract to come to Texas. Bosh would join forces with center Dwight Howard and shooting guard James Harden to form a Texas-sized Big Three.

For his part, LeBron has remained mum on his plans. But, LeBron and Paul are set to meet with Heat president Pat Riley in person as early as Tuesday, according to USA Today. At stake is the future of the Heat and Cavaliers’ franchises along with the future of Bosh, James, and Wade and a host of other free agents.

And while the breathless reports about LeBron and Cleveland has taken Heat fans for a wild ride, the moves Miami made Monday may give fans more hope that the Big Three era in the Magic City may not be ending any time soon.

The Heat agreed to terms with power forward Josh McRoberts for the full midlevel exception contract of four years and a little more than $20 million. The fourth year is a player option. Just minutes later, news broke that the Heat agreed to terms with forward Danny Granger on a two-year, $4.2 million contract utilizing the team’s bi-annual exception.

The moves on Monday left the Heat with a $2.2 million trade exception along with the possibility of trading point guard Norris Cole, who is owed $2 million next season. It also placed a hard salary cap on the Heat of $81 million heading into the 2014-2015 season.

The fact that both contracts for McRoberts and Granger have been exception deals has a big impact on the team’s Big Three, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. According to Winderman, by using exceptions, Bosh would no longer be asked to take a smaller contract to stay in Miami.

That could be key as the AP’s Tim Reynolds and Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report both stated that Bosh’s intent is to stay in Miami with the Heat. With the exceptions being used instead of salary cap space, the Heat can dedicate more of that space to the Big Three.

LeBron reportedly wants a max contract to stay with the Heat, which would be a five-year contract worth approximately $130 million, or roughly $26 million depending on the structure of the deal. If LeBron signs elsewhere, he can sign a max deal of four-years and $96 million, a difference of $34 million.

Bosh could command a similar contract and Wade could also require a hefty contract to make up for money he left on the table by opting out. The Heat could re-sign all three using “Bird Rights” which allows a team to re-sign its own free agents and exceed the salary cap.

NBA teams can’t sign free agents until Thursday, but the movement is already underway to keep the Big Three together in Miami.

Still, the only man who knows what the future will hold is James and until he makes his decision, the Heat, Cavs, and their legions of fans must wait and hope that the four-time NBA MVP will come to them.

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