LeBron James Officially on Board: Miami Heat's Top Free-Agent Targets

Brandon Ribak@reebokforthreeSenior Writer IJuly 9, 2010

ATLANTA - APRIL 22:  Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat celebrates after hitting a basket late in the game against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Philips Arena on April 22, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Heat defeated the Hawks 108-93. 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 Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Just like many of you, the sound of LeBron James stating on live television that he will be “taking his talents down to South Beach to play with the Miami Heat” is still fresh in my head.

It seems more like a dream than a reality at this point and from the looks of it for Heat fans, the reality won’t truly settle in until “LeBoshade ” step on the court.

At this very moment the Miami Heat have three verbal commitments from Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James, with only one signed player on their roster, Mario Chalmers.

Chalmers makes $847k this upcoming season and with the 2010-11 NBA salary cap set at $58.044 million, the Heat have approximately $57,197,000 to spend this offseason.

According to NBA Salary Cap FAQ  , the first year starting salary for a maximum contract player is never less than 105% of his salary in the last year of his previous contract.

Basically, “LeBoshade ” should each be making $16.59 million during the 2010-’11 season.

As of right now nobody is certain on how much of a pay-cut the trio will take, so we will assume that they each take a $4 million cut for the sake of bringing in more talent.

With Wade, LeBron, and Bosh each making $12.59 million next season, the Miami Heat will have a little over $20 million to fill up their roster this offseason ($20.274 to be exact).

Miami Heat’s Top Free-Agent Targets

After signing the three superstars the Heat will have a total of four players on their current roster, with 11 vacant spots waiting to be filled. With it being quite obvious that the ball will be in the hands of the trio for the majority of the game, Miami needs to go out and sign solid role playing veterans that can not only help compete for a championship, but can also mentor the team in the locker room.

Udonis Haslem - The free-agent power-forward is expected to re-sign with the Miami Heat. Haslem made $7.1 million during the final year of his contract last season and will be in for a pay-cut if he wants to remain with his hometown team.

Mike MillerVeteran Mike Miller seems to be leaning towards signing with the Heat,  in which he would accept a five-year, $27-30 million contract. Miller is an all-around type of player that can bring up and distribute the rock, knock down treys, rebound very well for his position, and defend. Miller would be the sixth man off the bench for the Heat and could provide the team with efficient all around play (Miller won the Sixth Man of the Year Award back in 2005 with the Memphis Grizzlies).

Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Brad Miller, Kurt Thomas-  What do each of these three big man veterans have in common? There all old and willing to take minimum salary type of contracts to team up with the epic trio for a chance to win a championship. Each center still has gas in the tank and could most certainly fulfill the Heat’s vacant starting five spot, helping Chris Bosh in the back-court.

Raymond Felton-  Felton is one of the more attractive unrestricted free-agent point-guards that is still waiting to be signed. With Charlotte in salary cap issues, many anticipate the Bobcats not to re-sign the five year player out of UNC. Felton averaged 12.1 PPG and dished out 5.6 APG last season and could be a serviceable starting point-guard for the Heat.

Ronald Murray, Larry Hughes-  Murray and Hughes are two underrated veteran guards that can absolutely light up the scoreboard when given the opportunity to. Each player has competed on numerous teams, are definitely willing to take pay cuts, and are both great presences in the locker room.

Jason Williams-  If the Heat fail to sign a legitimate starting point-guard they will most likely go with Mario Chalmers at the point. With tons of experience and veteranship, Jason Williams can mentor Chalmers and help shape him into a better overall player in the years to come, especially after his sophomore slump.

The Heat drafted Dexter Pittman, Jarvis Varnado, Da’Sean Butler in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft . Depending on how well the draftees play in the summer league, one or two of them could be signed to the team as well.

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