As expected, Chris Bosh is opting out of the last two years and $42.6 million of his contract, agent Henry Thomas told The Herald earlier today.
That means the Heat has $55 million in cap space entering the start of free agency on Tuesday. As we noted last week, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have discussed how much each of them would take but reached no definitive agreement regarding specific numbers over salads on Wednesday.
But they do want to stay together in Miami and are working toward that end. Discussions are ongoing. Udonis Haslem also plans to stay, with a multiyear contract including a first year salary expected to fall between $2 million and $3 million.
If they sacrifice a lot of money --- with James earning the most of the three next season --- they could clear the $8 million to $10 million needed to make a competitive offer for one of the high-end free agents, including Kyle Lowry, Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol, Marcin Gortart and Luol Deng.
Under that scenario, the Heat also would have a $2.7 million room salary cap exception.
If they take only small cuts, the Heat instead could use its $5.3 million non taxpayers mid-level exception and a $2.2 million trade exception and a $2 million bi-annual exception OR limited cap space but would not be able to use cap space AND the three aforementioned exceptions.
Those mid-level, bi-annual and trade exceptions cannot be combined.
And if the Heat uses its mid-level exception, Miami could not use the room salary cap exception in that scenario and would have not nearly as good a chance of luring a high-level free agent.
For example, Deng's agent has said there is no chance Deng would consider coming to Miami for that $5.3 million mid-level amount, though he likes the Heat.
A player such as Darren Collison or Paul Pierce or Kirk Hinrich could come using some of the $5.3 million in that scenario, unless Gasol is willing to take the $5.3 million. But Gasol assuredly will get higher offers than that.
Under either scenario, the Heat could sign as many players as it wants to the league minimum. And if its uses the mid-level exception scenario, instead of using cap room, it could use its Bird Rights to re-sign Ray Allen and Chris Andersen to contracts above the minimum.
The Heat is positioned not to have to pay a luxury tax under either scenario.
Of Bosh's expected opt out, Pat Riley said: "Chris is one of the most versatile and dynamic big men in this league, and he has been an instrumental key to our championship success over the last four seasons. We looked forward to meeting with Chris and his agent in the coming days to discuss keeping him in Miami for many years to come."
### According to a league source, add veteran center Steve Vallos to the list of players who have been summoned to Dolphins headquarters for a Monday audition.
Vallos joins Samson Satele and Daryn Colledge (see below) as players scheduled to work out for the team on Monday.
Miami is searching for a veteran who can help compensate for the loss of center Mike Pouncey, who is expected to miss between two and six regular season games after hip surgery.
Vallos, 30, has played in 59 games over seven seasons, with nine starts. He played two years in Seattle, two in Cleveland, and for Philadelphia, Jacksonville and Denver the past three seasons.
He appeared in 15 regular season games for Denver last season, according to NFL.com, but logged only nine offensive snaps, according to ProFootballFocus.com. But he was forced into action during the Super Bowl because of an injury to Denver's center.
The Dolphins' search for a roster replacement for injured Mike Pouncey will extend beyond guard Daryn Colledge.
A source said tonight that the Dolphins also have booked center Samson Satele for a workout on Monday.
Colledge and Satele are expected to be joined by two other linemen at Monday's workout. The identity of the other two was not immediately known. [UPDATE: Vallos is one of the other two.]
Satele, drafted 60th overall by Miami in 2007, started his first two NFL seasons for the Dolphins before being traded to Oakland in March 2009 for a sixth-rounder and an exchange of fourth-round picks.
The Dolphins parted ways with Satele after signing free agent center Jake Grove, a regrettable move in retrospect.
Satele, 29, then started three seasons for the Raiders, before moving on to Indianapolis, where he started 11 games in 2012 and 13 in 2013.
Pro Football Focus rated Satele 31st among 35 qualifying centers last season ---- 18th as a pass blocker but last as a run blocker. He allowed one sack.
Colledge --- who has played guard, tackle and even center on a limited basis during his career --- has started 124 of his 128 NFL games over his eight years, including every game the past six seasons.
Colledge, 32, played his first five seasons with Green Bay and his past three with Arizona. Last year, he played left guard, and Pro Football Focus rated him 45th of 81 qualifying guards --- 32nd in pass protection and 53rd as a run blocker.
Colledge, who allowed two sacks last season, knows Dolphins coach Joe Philbin well from their time together in Green Bay.
The Dolphins say Sam Brenner is their backup center, but Nate Garner is among several other options to fill in for Pouncey. So is first-team right guard Shelley Smith, who has taken snaps at center during the offseason program.
And so, obviously, is Satele, who might be the best option among all the available free agent centers.
Other remaining free agent centers include Kyle Cook, Fernando Velasco, Jim Cordle, Brad Meester and David Baas.
Pouncey is expected to miss between two and six games of the regular season, depending on whether the Dolphins place him on the physically unable to perform list.
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