The Miami Heat Reaffirm That They Are The Favorites To Land LeBron James

Nicholas KashianContributor IIJune 24, 2010

PHOENIX - FEBRUARY 15:  Dwyane Wade #3 and LeBron James #23 of the Eastern Conference stand during the National Anthem before the 58th NBA All-Star Game, part of 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend at US Airways Center on February 15, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

By trading out of the first round of today's 2010 NBA draft, the Miami Heat have once again shown us that they are at the top of the list when it comes to the LeBron James sweepstakes that is set to commence July 1st.  

The specifics of the trade are almost comical, yet the results could be a burgeoning dynasty in South Beach.  

The Heat sent the No. 18 pick and reserve guard Daequan Cook to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the first pick in the second round—No. 32 overall.

However, Miami saves three million dollars in salary cap space in the deal. Cook was set to make $2.2 million with the Heat, and the difference between No. 32 and No. 18 is about $800,000. 

The Heat were sitting $23.9 million below the projected 2010-11 salary cap, meaning post-trade they have $26.9 million in space. The price in first-year compensation on two max deals is around $33.6 million, so the Heat need only shed 6.7 million to make it work. 

Now, by completing a sign and trade for either James or Chris Bosh, the Miami Heat are in a great position to be able to acquire both all-stars.

Michael Beasley is probably the most attractive player on the Heat's roster from the perspective of either Cleveland or Toronto. However, Beasley only makes $4.96 million, so a player like F/G Dorrell Wright might have to be on the table as well.

Unless the Heat release James Jones by June 30th, making the remainder of the $15.5 million on his contract only partially guaranteed, the Heat front office is aggressively trying to work out a buyout with the 29-year-old small forward which would save the Heat an additional $2.8 million in cap space this year.  

Center Joel Anthony also has a deadline to exercise a player option on his 2010-11 contract, which could save the Heat $800,000 more in salary cap space.

And remember, due to "Bird Rights," the Heat can re-sign their own free agent Dwayne Wade to a max deal regardless of the salary cap as long as they aren't scared off by the luxury tax implications of such a scenario (which they should not be because the amount of money an NBA dynasty would bring to the organization would easily make up for the price in salary and luxury tax).  

In the end, I think the Heat will get the buyout done with Jones, release him by June 30th, and save another $2.8 million, putting them $29.7 million below the projected cap.

Subsequently, they would include Beasley and his $4.96 million dollar 2010-11 salary in a sign and trade for James or Bosh, putting them about $34.7 million below the cap and allowing them to sign James and Bosh to max deals worth a combined $33.6 million in the first year. Of course, they would use the return of Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley to the bench as their All Star lure.  

They could then sign their "Bird Rights" free agent Wade to a max deal and simply pay the luxury tax in exchange for adding a dynasty to all the other things Miami has to offer, like the beach, the women, the nightlife, and even the Dolphins.  

There will soon be many more good times to be had in Miami.