« 3 p.m.: UM names Jim Morris' successor; LeBron opts for free agency; Dolphins injuries; Heat addresses NBA Draft issues; UM | Main | 4 p.m. Heat/UM update; Media column: Do national pundits hate Heat? Simmons, Wilbon, Barkley weigh in; Bayless dodges »

Noon update: Former All-Pro calls Fins; Heat trade?; UM good news; LeBron fallout; Realistic FA possibilities; Other LeBron suitors

A quick noon update on four topics:

### Andre Gurode, a five-time Pro Bowl center (2006-2010) and two time All-Pro, reached out to the Dolphins through his agent this week, hoping Miami will sign him to fill in for Mike Pouncey, who is expected to miss two to six regular-season games after hip surgery Tuesday.

The Dolphins returned the call late yesterday but said they are going to hold off bringing him in but didn't close the door.

Gurode, 35, isn't the player he once was. Since leaving the Cowboys, where he played several years at a very high level, Gurode has a total of nine starts for Baltimore, Chicago and Oakland the past three years.

But the Dolphins have been making brief preliminary inquiries about the health/status of some available centers, though it remains to be seen if Miami will bring in any for visits.

Among the veteran free agents available: Dan Koppen, former Dolphin Samson Satele, Fernando Velasco, Brad Meester, Ryan Cook and David Baas. 

### Carol City speedster Trayone Gray told canesport.com that he received an ACT score that will qualify him for UM, though the Hurricanes are not yet in a position to confirm this.

UM wants Gray to begin his Hurricanes career as a receiver, but the staff says he also could play running back. "Trayone Gray is a stud," UM receivers coach Brennan Carroll said.

### ESPN's Chad Ford reports today that the Heat is trying to move up from 26th in the draft to select Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier, partly because LeBron James likes him. Napier, 6-1, averaged 18 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists for UConn last season, while shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 40.5 percent on threes.

Napier won NCAA titles in 2011 and 2014 and was named the Final Four's "most outstanding player" after this year's NCAA Tournament.

When I asked Heat executive Chet Kammerer on Monday whether he though Napier would be available at No. 26, he said he did not know but did not want to talk about any players on Miami's radar. His stock has risen in recent weeks and some mock drafts have him going in the mid-to-late teens.

"No way you take another point guard in the lottery before Napier," LeBron tweeted during the NCAA Tournament.

### New Cleveland coach David Blatt told Israel's Sports5 that he doesn't expect LeBron to leave the Heat.

#######################################################################################

WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN

Mostly Heat chatter today:

### Though his return is not certain by any means, the Heat remains the favorite to retain free agent LeBron James, but he wants issues with the roster addressed, according to an associate with knowledge of the situation.

When James speaks with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh this week, he will gauge their willingness to opt out of existing contracts and agree to deals that give the Heat more spending money. Both of them appear receptive to opting out and taking pay cuts in exchange for longer deals, provided the cuts aren’t too steep.

The good news for the Heat: None of James’ other most attractive suitors have the cap space to give him a max contract, and creating that space will either be difficult or cost them assets that would make their rosters potentially no more appealing than Miami’s. (More on that in a minute.)

### Even though Bosh said he would be receptive to taking a pay cut and a Wade associate said Wade is open to the idea, it might not create enough space to add one of this summer’s priciest free agents if James doesn’t do the same.

A Wade associate said Wade would be receptive to considering a four-year, $60 million deal to replace the $42 million he’s owed over the next two seasons.

But let’s say Wade and Bosh each take cuts to $15 million next season.

And let’s say Udonis Haslem can be convinced to opt out of the $4.6 million he’s owed next season for a three-year deal starting at $2 million or $2.5 million. (Haslem has told me he's open to the idea of exchanging money for years if it would help add pieces to the roster.)

And let’s say the Heat dumps its other cap commitments except Norris Cole --- meaning Miami trades its first-round pick and cuts Justin Hamilton. (Cole is due $2.15 million, by the way.)

Under that scenario, with Wade and Bosh each earning $15 million and James making $20 million (which would be his max for next season), the Heat would have only $5.5 million to $6 million of space under the projected $63.6 million cap, factoring in required cap holds topping $500,000 each for roster spots unfilled up to 12.

The Heat also would have a $2.7 million “room” exception in this scenario and also could sign players to the minimum, topping out at $1.4 million.

But the $6 million or so in cap space in this scenario could not be combined with the room exception.

And what could $6 million buy in free agency?

It wouldn’t be enough to lure Carmelo Anthony.

Luol Deng’s agent, Herb Rudoy, said even though Deng believes the Heat is “fantastic,” there’s “not a chance” Deng --- who made $14.3 million last season --- would agree to that amount of money.

Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry likes the Heat but is looking for $10 million a year or more.

Lakers forward/center Pau Gasol, who earned $19 million last season, would like to play for a winner, but the Heat will have competition from some of the 15-plus teams with significant cap space, including Dallas, which has $30 million, a lot of which will be used on Dirk Nowitzki.

Washington Wizards free agents Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat, who each earned $7.7 million last season, are both expecting raises, as is Cleveland center Spencer Hawes ($6.5 million). So is Phoenix forward Channing Frye, who opted out of a guaranteed $6.8 million next season.

But if James also took a cut of several million dollars, Miami could make a competitive offer for any of those except possibly Anthony, whom the Heat will call nonetheless. Though the idea of another James pay cut isn’t appealing to some of his associates, it’s possible he might do it for a few select players.

### If James doesn’t take a cut, but Wade and Bosh takes cuts of about $5 million apiece, the $6 million or so that would be created in space would make the Heat a contender for players such as point guards Darren Collison, Kirk Hinrich, Patty Mills or Steve Blake (each could warrant a share of that money if Miami splits it up), Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce (an associate said he wants to play for a winner and included Miami, the Clippers and the Nets among several possibilities), Charlotte power forward Josh McRoberts, Lakers power forward Jordan Hill (Miami has pursued him before) and Clippers forward Danny Granger.

The Heat then could use its $2.7 million room exception and minimum contracts on the likes of Ray Allen (ESPN says he's leaning toward playing), Chris Andersen (still has interest in possibly returning despite opting out), Marvin Williams, Jordan Hamilton, Chris Kaman, Andray Blatche, Kris Humphries, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, Jodie Meeks, Caron Butler or Emeka Okafor.

The Heat also has a $2.2 million trade exception from the Joel Anthony deal.

If four or five quality rotation players can be added through these means, the roster would be much better even without signing one of the most expensive free agents. And the Heat would not be paying a luxury tax in this scenario.

### The Heat could create more space by asking Bosh and Wade to go down to $12 million next season and making it up on the back end of their deals, so that each gets $60 million over four years. In this scenario, even without James taking a pay cut, the Heat could have enough space (around $11 million) to land Lowry.

But the Heat would then be clogging its cap with a 36-year-old Wade making $18 million in 2017-18, with no assurances that James would still be around at that point. And you would be asking two-thirds of the Big Three not only to accept a huge cut from $20 million to $12 million next season but also take far, far less than LeBron would be making.

### James planned to opt out even if the Heat had won the Finals and likely will at least listen to suitors that interest him, according to the associate. 

But none of those attractive suitors have the cap space Miami did four years ago.

James likes Clippers coach Doc Rivers and is close with Chris Paul, but creating enough space to sign him would require the Clippers to find teams able to take DeAndre Jordan ($11.4 million), Jamal Crawford ($5.4 million), Jared Dudley ($4.2 million), Matt Barnes ($3.3 million) and Reggie Bullock ($1.2 million) without sending contracts back AND persuading James to agree to a salary as much as $8 million under the $20 million max next season. (Thanks to NBA salary cap guru Larry Coon for confirming my calculations on this.)

The idea of the Clippers being able to rid themselves of that much salary (especially Dudley, Barnes and Bullock) without taking any back appears unrealistic.

The Clippers' other alternative, if James wants to sign there, is to propose to the Heat a sign-and-trade with Blake Griffin. But Yahoo! reported the Heat has told people it’s adamant against sign-and-trades for James.

And for James, he would need to ask himself this: Would playing for a Griffin-less Clippers in a tougher conference offer any better chance of winning than Miami does? He would be opting for Paul and Jordan instead of Wade and Bosh and whatever supporting casts each team can assemble.

Houston will make a run at James, but to offer James even $19 million, the Rockets would need to find a taker for Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin --- who are each due $14.9 million balloon payments and have $8.4 million cap numbers --- and make other minor moves.

Chicago would need to amnesty Carlos Boozer and likely trade Taj Gibson to make James a representative offer.

Though the idea of returning to Cleveland down the road holds some appeal to him, James would want the Cavaliers to add another significant piece for him to even consider that this summer, the associate said. And doing that would require parting with Anderson Varejao and perhaps other pieces.

ESPN reported several teams, including Cleveland and Atlanta and the Lakers, are exploring ways to create enough cap space to add both Anthony and James at reduced salaries. The odds are against that, though the Heat hasn’t given up hope of Anthony joining the Big Three at reduced salaries.

James can explore that Anthony scenario immediately if he chooses, but the Heat cannot call Anthony until 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

### James can sign for as much as five years, $115 million with the Heat but no more than four year, $85.5 million with other teams.

### The Heat, awaiting word from Allen, hasn’t told several of its non-Big Three free agents --- including Rashard Lewis, Michael Beasley and James Jones --- whether it wants to keep them. Jones seems likely to be invited back, especially if James returns.

UM LANDS FOUR ORAL COMMITMENTS

We usually don't pay much attention to oral commitments for 17 months down the road, because kids can change their minds a hundred times before National Signing Day.

But UM snagged two significant 2016 oral commitments this week: Palmetto High's Jack Allison, considered one of the best quarterbacks in the 2016 class, and Oakleaf (Fla.) linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, who projects as a top-100 player in that year's class. 

Allison --- who threw for 1600 yards, 16 TDs and 6 picks last season --- had numerous other offers, including Alabama and Missouri. Richardson had offers from UF, Georgia and Michigan, among others.

Meanwhile, UM added two oral commitments for the 2015 class on Tuesday: 6-foot-6 Pompano Beach Ely receiver Therrell Gosier, a three-star prospect who appeared in just two games before the playoffs last season because of a concussion; and no-star Ocala Trinity offensive tackle Geron Christian, whose only other listed offers (according to rivals.com) were from Arkansas, FAU, East Carolina and Middle Tennessee State.

Gosier also is a standout basketball player at Ely.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Dale

4/60 for wade and bosh would not necessarily be 15 mil this year. It could be as little as 12.5 this year with standard yearly raises.

12.5 bosh
12.5 wade
2 Haslem
16 lebron
2.2 cole
1 for rookie
1 Ennis
2 (4 roster holds)

All of that adds up to 49.2 million. With the cap projected to be 63.2 million that would leave 14 million starting salary for Melo. That seems at least possible (more so than your article suggests)

BB Jones

I don't get it. Wade is spent. What good is a partial season if he can't hang through in the playoffs? Wade flat out bombed in the finals. How realistic is it he will be any better if they make it a year from now?

Wade is at best a 6th man at this point.

Bosh doesn't do enough.

The Heat are in trouble.

Lebron realizes it's a one man show.

He is gone.

Barry Jackson

Dale, they could do that, but there are four problems with that: 1) You would be paying Wade $18 million in the last year of his contract at age 36, clogging your cap to improve at that point. (You would be paying Bosh that, too). 2) You would be asking Wade and Bosh to take a dramatic cut in salary next season, $8 million less than what they were supposed to earn. 3) You're assuming LeBron would voluntarily accept a $4 million cut. 4) You're assuming Carmelo would take well below the maximum.

Dale

It won't matter 4 years from now bc they will be a tax team relegated to only using exceptions anyways. It would require Mickey to dig deep into the pocket... But of he talks the talk he has to walk the walk. Only way to fit more talent into cap space this year is to defer the money into a big lux tax bill later.

It won't matter from an "improving the team" standpoint 3 years from now if heat is 1 mil over cap or 40 mil. Only difference is Mickey's pocketbook.

Mike

Extending Wade is absurd. The guy is finished as a good player. He isnt worth 5 mill/yr anymore.
.

Barry Jackson

Dale, that's possible, but not necessarily the case if the cap is $80 million by then. The Heat could still be operating under the cap at that point.
Miami obviously would be under the cap if LeBron is not here 4 years from now. And LeBron is going to stick around that long to play with a diminished Wade earning $18 million in 2017-18 under your scenario?

Not ruling out your scenario by any means, but there's a price to pay with back-loading contracts of aging stars.

Dale

I think you would definitely do wade and bosh on 4 year firm deals and give lebron and melo a 5th year option. Lebron would be playing out the contract for 4 years, if wade is completely done you could reevaluate the roster in 4 years where everyone could explore a lot like this year.

As for this year you bring back birdman, allen, jones, and a couple of others to fill out the roster. You can go to lebron and say, "we will get you melo to lighten the scoring load, and a couple young guys to develop in the system to supplement a team that has been 4 straight years in the finals. " he is not walking away from that...

Mike

Looks like the question is should they sacrifice the future for another run next season.

Dale

You do what it takes to get him now... Even of it means overpaying wade 3-4 years from now. Sell your soul (and a cruise ship?) for more titles kinda stuff...

Dale

You have to Mike. You have to. You go after every title you can chase. You can't walk away from being a contender next year b/c you might not be 5 years from now. One year at a time.

Mike

I think I'd bite the bullet and not give Wade 18 mill MORE than his ridiculous pay already the next 2 years. Let LeBron do whatever he wants. Riley can rebuild very quickly.

Eddie

Carmelo is not a good fit. This team needs defenders and rebounders.

Dom

Wade Haters-----He averaged 20 ppg and shot 54% this year, and KILLED INDY IN THE EAST FINALS........Where is your loyalty man. All 3 will be back. Backload them like Houston did for Asik and Lin, and start them off at 10m each next year. That frees up 25 million or so and GO OUT AND GET LOWRY AND MELO------ lin and Asik got 5-6 m in years 1 and 2 and 15 year 3.........

RILEY IS SMART..... Get Melo, Get Lowry the best PG on the market, and round out the bench with #1 pick, some vets, and maybe PAO GASOL EXECEPTS a Vet Min Deal.

Dale

Wade is due like 42 million the next two years. You are basically giving him a 2 year/18 million dollar extension in order to drop his cap hit from 20 to 12.5.

I also think you are not being rational about wade. He isn't what he was 5 years ago but he is still one of the most efficient SGs in the NBA. His midrange game has become elite to compensate for his lack of lift.

Dom

Manu Ginobili looked Dead last Finals didnt he?
2. Lebron played a BAD 2011 Finals avg 17 ppg and had an 8 pt game vs Dallas.

PEOPLE HAVE BAD SERIES............ Right this down.
RILEY GOES FOR BROKE--U ALL KNOW IT . IF they backload the deals. YOU GET
Melo
KYle Lowry and or Pao Gasol....2 of those 3 will be playing in Miami, maybe all 3 and Gasol comes off the bench for 25-30 min a game as a big

Georgia Cane

What ever Lebron wants pure and simple. I'd get V Carter he's a steal and averaged 14 ppg in Dallas. Wow! I would try to get Gortat if possible. I trust Pat Riley do you?

Dom

Dale. I agree. Dwade7 had a bad series guys, but he is not done . Dwade can take 10m next year in year 1 , same as bosh, n backload them.

2. Miami is going for FIVE STRAIGHT FINALS NEXT SEASON-NEVER DONE IN NBA HISTORY EXCEPT THE 60s Celtics when there was like 10 teams in the NBA, SO NEVER DONE SINCE THE 1970s Merger. EVER. 5 straight Finals.
And lebron is just going to leave n rebuild???
NO,,,,,,,,,,,

Mike

Wade's D is non existent and his health is poor. He may not be able to run in 2 years.

Dale

Not a chance heat land the 2 big FAs. But I could see the possibility of adding one of the 2. Melo or Lowry could fit.

And whoever said Melo was a bad fit. HOW? When I look down the line in the spurs series the problem we had was lack of offense, poor spacing, and bricking jump shots. In the deciding games the heat went 92, 86, 87. Didn't have enough fire power and shot making when it mattered.

Dom

Mike come on. He missed alot of bunnies just like Manu did last year n Duncan..... he avg like 14-15 ppg. If U guys recall lebron only got 17 ppg in 2011 finals n we lost because he had that 8 pt game. Sheeeet happens.

All of us as Heat Fans knew they were opting out, lebron is just adding to the drama. I would say we see Bosh n wade play the game and make the media go nuts and they will opt out on the 29th when its due.

Lebron wants Melo. He needs a 2nd scorer now that wade is gonna be 33-36 with this contract... Make wade third option, Melo slides into the Rashard Lewis spot, and maybe they also get Lowry the PG and Riles makes a big splash..............GONNA B A BIG SUMMER

Dale

Wade is approaching a time where he could play a Manu role coming off the bench. And Spo needs to pull a Pop and rest ALL of his guys throughout the season to he them ready. The spurs have been "too old" for like 5 years, but with proper planning and player management the heat will compete for a while yet.

As far as defense, it's not that wade is incapable. He just needs to refocus on that end and commit to being a defender.

Mike

Hey, I'm a big Wade fan. He's been great for a long time. But his contribution to the team has been less and less lately and that will continue because of his knees. If they could land Melo than ok but its a big gamble and sacrifice in 3,4 years when you're giving Wade 20+mill for probably zero production.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Thank you Mr. Jackson, this is exactly what I was looking for to understand the Heat's offseason situation!

Their first year they made $14.5M, but if they took those same escalating deals the Heat would be paying insane luxury tax through the next four years.

Is Micky Arison able or willing to pay that? Is any owner? Is this a nightmare scenario where only deca-billionaire owners are able to field contending super teams and everyone else sits back and collects the tax dividends?

One thing's for sure, the Big Three's salaries have to be tiered, and should probably be 1, 2, 3. Tougher conversation than the first time around. Boxing gloves.

Dale

The toughest part of this round of negotiations is whether they can truely set their egos aside...

BB Jones

You all are high on drugs. The Spurs embarrassed the Heat. One player ain't enough. They need a whole new team. Nobody but Lebron is worth keeping, and Lebron won't stick around with this cast of underperformers. He's gone. It's over, Rebuild.

1 2 3 4 5 »

The comments to this entry are closed.