Rumors began to spread like wildfire across the Web when LeBron James officially opted out of his contract.
Well, things heated up even more on Saturday when a good portion of the entire team disbanded.
Many Heat fans—and more notably fans of rival teams—went into a frenzy on Twitter shortly after. Although the news looks bleak for the Heat at first glance, the future appears bright for Miami.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN first tweeted that several Heat players would be opting out on Saturday:
Chris Bosh plans opt out of contract, source tells ESPN. Dwyane Wade & Udonis Haslem also out per reports. Heat have record 55M cap space— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 28, 2014
If you stopped reading there, it certainly wouldn't look as if things looked good for the Heat. Although, in the grand scheme of things, this team could come back better than ever next season.
According to Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report, Udonis Haslem has every intention of staying in Miami:
As I've been reporting, Haslem -- now that he's opted out -- is open to extension with Miami. Wants to be here. Wheels in motion.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 28, 2014
Skolnick made one other thing very apparent—the shared representation among Haslem, Wade and Bosh:
Haslem, Bosh, Wade all have same representation. So, yes, plans are in concert. Freeing up money for Riley to work.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) June 28, 2014
In his tweet, he also notes this move gives team president Pat Riley more room to maneuver in regards to bringing in new talent via free agency.
How much room will the Heat have to work with? NBA Legion tweeted the astounding number:
The Heat now have $55 MILLION in cap room this summer. Fifty-five million.— NBA Legion (@MySportsLegion) June 28, 2014
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported the team's potential use of the extra cap space:
While Bosh, Wade and Haslem could ultimately take less money with the early termination outs in their deals, James, the NBA's four-time MVP, is seeking a full maximum contract extension—or something close to it—to stay with Miami, sources told Yahoo Sports.
James' priority remains to find a way to make a future work with Miami, but a failure by the organization toward improving the Heat's roster to his satisfaction could send him aggressively into free agency, sources said.
James' teammates want to work with Miami president Pat Riley on re-signing with the team at lower financial figures that would allow management to retool with the roster with upgraded talent. Because of James' value as the best player in the NBA, the Heat players understand James' desire to seek maximum contract value, sources said.
Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade each opt out of contracts with Heat. Combined, they would have made $40.8M next season— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 28, 2014
Chris Broussard of ESPN reported the money Bosh is looking for in a new deal:
Source: Chris Bosh opts out of his contract . Seeking 5-year deal worth roughly $15-16 million per year— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 28, 2014
Although roughly $15 million may seem like an excessive amount for a yearly salary for the veteran, it's still a cheaper price than his previous contract, which was set to earn him just over $20.5 million next season, according to Spotrac.com.
Saving this kind of money gives Miami a great chance to build a roster with more depth than it has ever had in the Big 3 era. That will go a long way in the team's attempt to court James back to Miami.
Apparently, the Heat got off to a good start during the draft when LeBron tweeted this after the team's first-round selection:
My favorite player in the draft! #Napier— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 27, 2014
As the rumors keep trickling in, the thought of Miami successfully retooling its roster to make another run at the NBA title seems strong.