It is the end of day three of free agency. The Heat stars have not broken radio silence. Well… mostly. Chris Bosh’s agent surfaced long enough to debunk a rumor that had Bosh settling for $11MM/year. Not happening.
So now, the whole world waits for the King, as it should. If LeBron re-signs with the Heat (probably for max-money), then Bosh can soberly decide to accept a pay cut to keep playing with LeBron. Or not. We’ll see.
But wait! I think the whole thing depends on Dwayne Wade. If Wade takes a huge paycut (say, to $10MM/year), the Heat will gain tax space even as Lebron gets paid. That induces LeBron and then Bosh to re-sign. If Wade holds out for $16MM+, LeBron may bolt (because the Heat will be taxed-out). And if LeBron leaves, will Bosh accept less than max-money himself? The whole Heat cookie could crumble in the next week.
If LeBron flees, and Melo returns to the Knicks, Bosh can get mad-money from the Lakers! Would he still stick with his BFF Wade in that case? What if the Heat won’t match the Laker bid?
After the Decision II, lots of money becomes available. Maybe Cleveland makes that max offer to Gordon Hayward after all. Lots of teams have cap space. Some of them want to win.
Four summers ago, the Big 3 conspired to take less money and form a super-team. Now, they could blow up that team with rational decision making. There is an owner vs players angle to this as well.
There are several teams who are hoarding money for Melo. I don’t see Chicago winning this race, because they can’t/won’t clear enough cap space. That makes it a three horse race between the Knicks, Rockets, and Lakers. Too close to call.
On a related note… the Bulls will amnesty Boozer when Hell freezes over. Jerry Reinsdorf is not giving away a dollar. Not now. Not ever.
If Melo signs with the Knicks, it unlocks a lot of money with the Rockets. Mavs, and Lakers. I look for the Lakers to pull a Cuban, and load up with high-dollar, short-term contracts.