The Twitterverse exploded Tuesday with news of LeBron James informing the Miami Heat that he intends to opt out of the final year of his contract, and become a free agent. I doubt Heat management went into shock, as they had to be expecting it. A glance at the Heat salary page show each of the Big 3 were paid virtually the same $20M this season just ended, and bumps in the next two. Yet in my view LeBron is worth about twice Bosh, and thrice Wade. Those last two would be bonkers to opt out, as they will never see a $20M season again in their lifetimes if they do.
LeBron and Kevin Durant should be the highest paid players in the game, yet King James was checked (sorry!) by Kobe, Dirk, Carmelo and Dwight, among others. Durant was at #15, and he’s the MVP. Anyway, what’s all this got to do with the Toronto Raptors? I don’t pretend to know LBJ’s plans (maybe he doesn’t know them yet), but one assumes he’d like a raise. The Heat have very few players on next season’s roster, as stalwarts like Shane Battier and Ray Allen are almost certain to hang up their sneakers, the Greg Oden experiment is likely over, and so on. They are now caught between a rock and a hard place. The Heat is sure to wave a $30M annual contract under LBJ’s nose. Assuming Bosh and Wade stick around, and LeBron decides to as well, Miami is now on the hook for over $70M to 3 players. They covet Kyle, but how do they afford him under CBA rules?
Let’s say LBJ signs with Chicago. Now the Heat have lots of cap space, but no players of note, beyond the rapidly breaking down Big 2. Kyle says he wants to win, but won’t have a chance in Miami without King James.
In short, LeBron’s decision to opt out is wonderful news for us Raps fans. While speculating on the draft is lots of fun, whoever the Raps select is highly unlikely to have an impact on our team next season. Kyle re-signing emphatically does.