Could 1 of Miami Heat's 'Big 3' Join Los Angeles Lakers in 2014-15?
Los Angeles seems to be a popular town these days.
With the Dodgers under new ownership, the Kings' Stanley Cup win and the Clippers looking like an actual basketball team, times are good in L.A.
No team, however, is as popular in Los Angeles as the Lakers these days. Despite having no cap room whatsoever, Mitch Kupchak and crew still managed to bring in Antawn Jamison, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard this offseason.
With an already loaded roster, could LeBron James take his talent to the City of Angels soon as well?
A couple factors would come into play for this to happen.
First, that fickle salary cap rule.
While the Lakers have the highest payroll in basketball at roughly $99 million for 2012-2013, in two years this number drops down to a mere $9 million, the amount owed to Steve Nash.
Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Steve Blake, Jordan Hill and others will all see their contracts run out at the conclusion of the 2014 season, leaving L.A. will roughly $50 million to spend.
Now assuming Dwight Howard signs a contract extension with L.A., their committed salary amount will be roughly $29 million for Howard and Nash, still leaving room for one or even two stars to sign.
Factor No. 2 is Mr. Bryant and his future with the Lakers and in the NBA.
In an interview with Yahoo Sports' Graham Bensinger, Bryant revealed he might retire when his current contract with the Lakers runs out in 2014.
In the interview, Bryant said:
I've been playing for 17 years now, so next year will be my 17th and then, when I'm 35, it will be my 18th year in the league. I mean that's a long time to be playing. It will be the last year in my contract, so I don't know. I don't know if I'll play any longer than that.
If Bryant does indeed retire, this would not only keep that cap space open, but also make room for a player like Wade or James to come in and take over as the team's leading scorer and alpha dog.
Factor three is the contract of all three Heat stars.
While each is under contract for four more years, all have the option to opt out after the next two.
While things are sunny in Miami now, in two years the Heat could easily be nearing the end of their title runs.
By 2014, James will be 29, Bosh 30 and Wade already 32.
Considering Wade missed 17 games in the regular season in 2011-2012 and was banged up all throughout the playoffs, two more years of beating on his body could really hurt his game.
Miami will be well over the cap in 2014 with the big three, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony, and they will have little options to bring in additional talent should they need to.
Suddenly, playing alongside Howard and Nash in cap-heaven L.A. seems pretty tempting.
Since point guard and center are the only two positions locked down, L.A. would feasibly have a need for James, Bosh and Wade.
Obviously their first target would be James, and for good reason.
As good as Bosh is, LeBron has never had a big man as talented as Howard to play alongside.
James and Howard in a pick-and-roll situation would be downright suicide to attempt to guard.
Throw in two-time league MVP Nash, and together with James and Howard, we may witness the biggest big three the NBA has ever seen.
It's even possible that if James and Bosh or Wade took a mini pay cut the way Wade did in 2010 when the original super team was assembled, that two stars could fit under the salary cap.
Steve Nash, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Dwight Howard all taking the court for the Lakers in 2014?
Los Angeles has never looked better.
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