« Sunday 5 p.m.: UM adds QB; NBA players reach out to Chalmers; Dolphins studying Eagles; Heat, Marlins chatter | Main | Monday night report: Examining Heat's options in free agency and other looming issues »

Noon update: Birdman opting out? Monday Heat notes; Examining the Wade money quandary

We're placing a Monday Heat update on this post, atop a post from last night which includes postgame reaction and an in-depth look at the quandary involving Dwyane Wade. Please scroll down to THOUGHTS ON WADE'S FUTURE for that portion of this post. Before we get to that, here are some Monday Heat notes: (And check back tonight for a new post with a lot more.)

SAN ANTONIO - Decisions made by LeBron James, and to a lesser extent, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, will largely make or break this Heat offseason, with all holding the right to become free agents.

But decisions also must be made on most of the eight Heat players whose contracts are expiring. And a ninth, Chris Andersen, apparently will also hit the market, with Yahoo! reporting today that he will opt out of his contract which would have paid him the minimum $1.4 million next season.

Of those eight, one (Shane Battier) is retiring, two (Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis) said Sunday they aren’t sure if they will continue their NBA careers and four (Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, James Jones and Toney Douglas) expressed a desire to return, though it remains to be seen if the feeling is mutual. Greg Oden has declined to say if he wants to return.

Several, but not all, might be invited back on low money deals.

If Allen, 38, chooses to return, he might need to take a pay cut from $3.2 million to the $1.4 million minimum. He said he will decide in the coming days whether to retire.

“I’ve had a great career,” Allen said. “I’m content with what I’ve done. In the next couple of days, I will think about it and see where my true heart lies. To make [a decision] on my terms is the most important thing. Whether that is me retiring or staying here or going somewhere else, it will be on my terms.”

Lewis, 34, said simply “I don’t know” when asked if he wants to continue playing. Despite his lack of playing time, Beasley said: “Why wouldn’t I want to come back?”

Though a return by Chalmers isn’t out of the question, the Heat likely will explore an upgrade at point guard.

“If it’s an option, definitely I would love to come back with this team,” Chalmers said after Game 5, when he was replaced by Allen in the starting lineup.

There’s no decision for Battier, who is becoming a college basketball analyst for ESPN.

“When I’m old, fat and gray, and my grandkids say, ‘You never played in the NBA,’ I can tell them I did it at a high level,” said Battier, who kept a diary of sorts this season to use in a book. “I gave everything I had to this game and I don’t have any more to give.”

### Privately with his team and publicly with the media, coach Erik Spoelstra took the glass-half-full perspective afterward.

Haslem said he told the players: “Keep your heads up. You’re champions. Four straight Finals. We have a lot to be proud about. We just ran into a better team.”

Spoelstra told reporters: “Even as painful as it feels, you have to have perspective. Even the team we’re playing against has never been to the Finals four straight years. You can’t be jaded enough not to appreciate that.”

MORE REFLECTIONS

### Battier:  “It was a trying year from the standpoint there were very few pure moments. We were always trying to conjure something and for a while there in the second half, it worked. But you can’t win a championship trying to conjure something. It has to be who you are and it has to be pure, and that wasn’t the case for us this year.

“Unfortunately, I made the mistake of looking up our defensive rank before the Finals and no team outside the top 10 had ever won the title. We just didn’t have the fundamentals to stop an offensive juggernaut like the Spurs and we were exposed.”

### Bosh: “I thought we’d get over the hump and we never did. They dominated us. They picked us apart. They made us question what we were doing. They played faster, stronger, tougher, like they wanted it more. They played the best basketball I’ve ever seen.”

### Haslem: “It’s demoralizing when you’re playing your heart out and they’re still making shots. If someone had told me we would lose three straight, I would find that hard to believe.”

### Spoelstra: “They are the better team. We felt confident coming into the series that we were going to be able to score…. We felt we could rely on that, but they shut us out of the paint pretty consistently. And they were exploiting a lot of things we’re typically strong at [defensively].”

NOTABLE NUMBERS

### The 70-point total scoring differential between the teams was the largest for an NBA Finals series of any length.

### The Spurs produced the highest shooting percentage ever in an NBA Finals (52.76). The old record: The Bulls shot 52.72 percent against the Lakers in 1991.

### James has scored 30 or more points in each of the last six games he has played with his team facing elimination. His teams are now 5-1 in those games. James is eighth and Wade 17th on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list.

### Allen’s 55 career three-pointers in the Finals are one short of Robert Horry’s Finals record. 

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

Thoughts and reaction after the Heat’s season-ending Game 5 NBA Finals loss to San Antonio:

### LeBron James said he loves Miami but declined to discuss his future, including whether he will opt out of his contract. “I haven't even really thought about that yet. I love Miami. My family loves it. You guys are trying to find answers. I'm not going to give you one...

"Obviously, we need to get better, every position.... We lost one, we won two, and we lost another one. Take 50 percent in four years in championships any day... I know me and D-Wade and Chris Bosh not proud of the way we played. All three of us, the last thing we're thinking about is what's going on this summer."

### More LeBron, who had 31 points and 10 rebounds: "Mixed emotions. Started off very well as a team. We had a great first quarter. From that point on, they were the better team, and that's why they're the champions in 2014. We came up against a better team this year. They were the much better team. That's how team basketball should be played. It's selfless. Guys cut, move, pass. It's all for the team. It's never about the individual. That's how team basketball should be played. They dominated us in every facet of the game."

He said the loss in 2011 to Dallas was "more hurtful than this one."

### Chris Bosh said he hasn’t decided whether he will opt out of his contract. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if I’m having frosted flakes or honey nut cheerios for breakfast.”

In a more serious moment, Bosh said: “They exposed us. They picked us apart, made us question what we were doing. They played stronger, faster, tougher. They played the best basketball I’ve ever seen. Anti-climatic ending to the season.”

### Wade followed a 3 for 13 shooting performance in Game 4 by delivering an 11-point dud in Game 5, missing eight of his 12 shots from the field. That’s something of an anomaly, considering Wade led all shooting guards in field-goal percentage five of the past six seasons.

The greater long-term concern was his defense, which was so atrocious at times during this series that it was ridiculed in a YouTube video. And his ball-handling was sloppy; he had three turnovers Sunday and 18 in the series, compared with 13 assists.

"Just struggled a little bit," he said. "I felt fine. I just struggled a little bit offensively. I wish I could have done more, but it's the nature of the game."

Wade said of the Big Three: "It's been a hell of a ride in these four years.... We've been succcessful in the sense of what we tried to accomplish, and that is going to the Finals, and we did it. We'd love to be four for four. It was just wasn't in the cards for us to be that. We have no reason not to be proud of each other for what we've accomplished on and off the court for these four years together."

### Udonis Haslem: “I never thought we could lose three straight. We played as hard as we could. We ran into a better team.”

### Ray Allen said he hasn’t decided whether he wants to play next season.

SOME THOUGHTS ON WADE'S FUTURE

### Wade assured reporters over the weekend that this is the best he has felt in a long time.

 Regrettably, his game was the worst it has looked in a long time.

We witnessed an old Wade instead of the Wade of old during the past week, and it’s awfully worrisome if you’re trying to figure out how to augment this roster within the constraints of the salary cap and the punitive luxury tax.

Wade, 32, is too accomplished a player to be discounted from here. But his immensely disappointing Finals leaves the Heat in a difficult and delicate predicament heading into a pivotal offseason.

To lessen its luxury tax burden, it would not be surprising if the Heat asks Wade to opt out of the last two years of his contract, which would pay him a combined $42 million, and instead accept a longer deal with a lower annual salary. But while Wade has said during the playoffs that he has not decided whether to opt out, he also has indicated he does not believe it’s necessary to take another cut to keep the Big Three together.

And keep this in mind: Unless Chris Bosh also takes a big pay cut, then Wade accepting a large cut would not give the Heat enough cap space to sign a pricey free agent. Instead, it would merely reduce the Heat’s tax burden and make it more palatable for ownership to authorize using its $3.2 million midlevel exception.

From a personal standpoint, Wade’s only incentive to opt out of a combined $42 million guaranteed over the next two seasons would be for long-term security that would assure him a sizable salary at age 35 and 36.

Perhaps Wade considers opting out this month if the Heat makes him a respectable offer, potentially in the four-year, $60 million range that would lessen the Heat’s immediate tax burden but also clog its cap with an even further diminished Wade in 2016-17 and 2017-18. (Four years is the longest contract Wade can be given.) 

But it’s almost impossible to envision Wade taking a cut to the $12 million range when he’s due more than $20 million next season. Asking him to take a cut that significant assuredly would insult him and perhaps make him less likely to opt out.

If Bosh and Wade were to each take cuts from $20 million to $12 million next season, the Heat would have about $8 million in cap space even while paying LeBron James $20 million. But it’s unrealistic to expect either to do that.

NOTEWORTHY

### Erik Spoelstra’s lineup changes ultimately made no difference. The decision to replace Mario Chalmers with Allen made sense, and the Heat stormed to a 22-6 lead. But Allen shot 1 for 8. Chalmers said he was told Sunday morning he wouldn’t start and it was “tough” to hear.

 The decision to use Udonis Haslem could be justified, considering Tim Duncan shot 32 percent (8 for 25) when Haslem was on the court during last year’s Finals. But Duncan hit three of four shots against Haslem in the first half Sunday, when the Spurs took the lead for good.

### Bosh announced Sunday morning: “We’re going to win this game.” He didn’t make enough of an impact, scoring four points in the first half (2 for 6) and finishing with 13.

### In his final NBA game, Shane Battier had no points or rebounds in 11 scoreless minutes. He was emotional afterward, something he had said he didn’t expect.

### Biggest challenge of the offseason? Finding a quality point guard with its exception money. The position clearly needs upgrading. It’s probably time to move on from Chalmers.

And Norris Cole is too unreliable a shooter to be projected as anything more than a backup at this point. Cole shot a combined 10 for 41 in the past two Finals.

### The Heat missed 20 of 24 shots during the last nine minutes of the second quarter and the first four of the third and overall shot 37.5 percent (21 for 56) after the first quarter, closing at 40 percent for the game. Hardly something you would expect from a team that led the league in field-goal percentage this season at 50.5 percent.

Comments

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

MIDKNIGHT RIDER

This team shrunk in the big moment. We can talk about the 2 titles they won and that is great. The real deal is the TEAM, COACHING STAFF, OFFENSE AND SCHEME NEEDS TO BE REVAMPED!!! This is now on Pat Riely to convince Wade he is no longer an ELITE player!! He has to come off the bench. LBJ needs a reliable scorer besides Bosh to play along side!! Looking forward to the off season!! PLEASE DEVELOP ODEM AND BEASLEY these guys can PLAY!!

TK SWANN

CONGRATS TO THE SPURS AND SPURS FANS !! YOU GUYS WORKED,FOUGHT, AND ULTIMATELY GOT YOUR REVENGE FROM LAST YEAR.. GOOD TEAM PLAY,EXCELLENT COACHING.. NOT ONLY WERE YOU THE BEST IN THE FINALS YOU WERE THE BEST THIS NBA SEASON...AS FOR THE HEAT THANK YOU FOR A GREAT RIDE THAT I HOPE DO NOT STOP NOW..I AGREE WADE IS NOT THE WADE OF OLD BUT HE IS THE FRANCHISE AND DESERVES THE RESPECT DUE HIM, HOWEVER HE ALSO DOES NOT WARRANT BEING PAID 42 MIL THE NEXT 2 YEARS.. THE TEAM HAS DONE FOR HIM AND NOW HE SHOULD SACRIFICE FOR THE GOOD OF THE TEAM STICKING TOGETHER AND GETTING HELP TO KEEP LEBRON AND BOSH... FOR THE HEAT TO WIN AGAIN ALL THEY NEED TO DO IS KEEP THE BIG 3 AND GET SOME DEADLY 3PT SHOOTERS.. THEY NEED A MINIMUM OF 3 DEADLY 3 PT SHOOTERS.. DO THIS AND THEY WILL BE BACK IN THE FINALS AGAIN AGAINST OKC AND IF THEY DO NOT IMPROVE THE HEAT WILL BEAT THEM IN 7. KEEP THE BIG 3 BY ANY MEANS AND GET SOME DEADLY SHOOTERS. THE SPURS WON BECAUSE THE WERE DEADLY FROM 3PT RANGE EVERY TIME THE GAME GOT CLOSE OR WHEN THEY HAD THE LEAD..

hankrbradley@yahoo.com

Win some and you lose some. oh well!

joe r

remember the big rally before the big three ever played a game together..lesson learned is don't have rallies unless you win something, then have a parade and start all over..2-2 is a disappointment based on the expectation they set, not us.

anyway, congrats on the 2 during the big 3 era but this era has ended

rboud

San Antonio is the better team, but there's no doubt the Heat also laid an egg in the Finals. Wade's style of play throughout his career has taken a toll on his body. He's an "old" 32, no doubt about it. Signing Greg Odem, the big center, was clearly a big mistake by management this year. It didn't work out. A better bench is needed for this team to continue to contend.

blakesta

Wade is 32 goin in 50.....anything he gets over the veteran min is stealing

Ronnie B.

I think the point everyone is missing here is that Lebron James is the ONLY who has the power to change this team not Pat Riley not Mickey Arison. This will not get better with this coach. I don't care who you bring into this team. His voice is silent up against theirs (James/Wade/Bosh)and that's the first and biggest problem. Those guys don't respect him and they never will sorry to say. He is a puppet for Pat Riley. Every great player in this position in the past had to do it. Magic got Westhead FIRED to bring in Riley. Jordan got Doug Collins FIRED for Phil Jackson. Shaq got Stan Van Gundy FIRED for Riley. Lebron has to get this clown (Spo)FIRED to save this team. Each time good things came from it meaning they WON. And then and only then you start to work on the structure of the team. Get rid of Chalmers do a sign and trade w/Bosh for Kevin Love. Bring in a veteran PG Ramon Sessions would be a good fit etc.

Mark in Toronto

Talk about the two titles they won but if San Antonio doesn't do a once in 1,000 year collapse like they did last year, it's only one title in four years.

By any standard, 4 straight finals and 2 championships is an epic run. But the stupid posing and standoffish tone they set before it got going sure takes the shine off of everything.

This era will not be ranked amongst the best in NBA history or even remembered too much outside of South Florida.

Rob

My goodness, Chris Bosh is making 20 million a year and does anyone think he is worth that much based on his contributions. Last year game 7 of the finals zero points! This year all but disappeared in the finals. For a "big man" he plays small. Also very inconsistent.

Wade is a shell of his former self, no question about that. Miami's bench is a joke! Clean out the dead weight. Chalmers & Cole were exposed in the Indiana series and terrible in the finals. Miami need a true point guard, setting up James & others coming off picks. James shouldn't have to do it all. Without James, Miami is just an average team.

Trade Wade & Bosh, get some younger talent, including rebounding help is the only way Miami will be competitive in the next 3-4 years.

The grand experiment is over! Need to try to keep James and get less one on one players and more of a "Team"

Lack of size has finally come back to bit them.

Don't get me started on Spoelstra. Average coach, not a motivator by any means. James, who knows the game doesn't truly respect him as a great coach, that's obvious. Good luck with that one though, Riley will never admit he made a mistake there.

Just my opinions, but I do not think they will win another title without major changes before next year.

Rob

if the said "not one, not two, not three, not four FINALS APPEARANCES", they would not be disappointed!

Mark in Toronto

In other words if they just shut up and acted like professionals instead of some stupid WWE rejects, this would all be appreciated more by everyone following the NBA, right? Yeah, I agree.

I mean Tim Duncan didn't exactly win a bunch in a row but everyone will consider him the best #1 overall pick in NBA history (in terms of helping the team that drafted him) and one of the NBA greats period with ZERO asterisks attached. Because most people don't even know what he sounds like...he just shuts his mouth and shows up for work.

Georgia Cane

Great run! Thanks guys for 2 out of 4. Heat must rebuild team. Riley doesn't like playing young players. Riley lesson learned, in any Professional sports you always must make changes. I trust Riley will rebuild this team and give Lebron help.

Sunny Dee

The team ran into a wall. They were gassed and went up against the worst possible matchup for them. San Antonio wanted it more and they were clearly the better team. 2 out of 4 is not bad. For those of you who say it could have been 1 out of 4, if San Antonio had won it last year I doubt they would have been back in the Finals again this year. Who knows, Duncan may have retired. They certainly would not have had the drive they had this year.

The Heat definitely need to re-tool their roster but they don't need a complete overhaul. No way Wade is opting out. He won't be able to get more money anywhere else. I expect Bosh and James to return too. Allen and Battier are likely to retire. They will have some flexibility to bring in younger talent. I would consider bringing Wade off the bench like the Spurs do with Ginobli. It could prolong his career. He is best in spurts now and can no longer play 40 minutes a game. Let him come in against the opposition's second team and he will look good again. He acutally had a good playoff run until the last three games of the finals, but he can't play like he used to on both ends of the floor. Having him guard Diaw in games 2 and 3 was idiotic.

Sunny Dee

Sorry, meant games 3 and 4...

GS

Can't believe whiny Heat fans. Tired, Wade's bad knees, etc. etc. etc. Could it be that the East is just plain horrible??? No real offensive threats in Charlotte, Wizards and Pacers. Wade didn't have to play any defense and Heat were clearly superior to those 3 teams. Spurs forced Wade (and James) to play defense since Spurs have players that are actually a threat to score and subsequently wear them down. Spurs FORCED Heat to play defense on all possessions, thus wearing them out!!!!

Randy Shannons' Agent

Spo isnt even an average coach.
Not starting Chalmers was worth a shot but it was just plain stupid to play Cole over him when we went to the bench.

Having Haslem guard Ducan because Bosh doesnt want to man up and do it? LOL good luck with that.

Not playing Rashard more when he was one of the few bright spots? Not playing Beasley period until garbage time?.... come on man

sugarfoot

All I want to say is that you guys gave us a great run - enjoyed it and very proud of our team. 4/2 is a great record to me. I love you LeBron and for me you are still our King. We Miamians love you. Wade there is no question for our love for you and the same for Bosh. For the whole HEAT team we are truly proud of you. "Go HEAT" you made a difference. I am proud to tell anyone that I am a HEAT fan. I am 62 year old grandmother/mother and you gave me a joy to remember how this team played to sets records as you have. You guys are still the greatest. Nothing to be ashamed of, you conquered a rode that so many teams may not ever accomplish - I commend the team. Hats off to all of you and now lets move on.

cane4life

Some of you on here are just bi%&hs on here you all have so much to say when it comes to the HEAT period weather its personal or anything else dealing with the Heat...ask yourself an honest question do you really think that they give a f$&k about your opinion's when you don't take care of them or their families and none of you including me don't cut that check for them so why should they care what some of you idiot's think or write ...In reality how many of you wish you were living the life that they are living....STOP LYING..you do..and to all you know it all wanabe's......#6..#3...#1....they already won the real game of life,because them and their families are set basically for life with the money they made the rings are just the cherry on the top because the last time any of us checked you can take care of your family with the money not the rings...so in the real world they are...winning and have won..because we all have saw players win a championship ring only to have to sell it for one reason or another..and that being they needed the money ASAP...so to you haters or you extra opinionated people wake the F%&K up and realize those players won the real game...THEY CAN TAKE CARE OF THEIR FAMILIES for LIFE.....rings are just extra..LETS GO HEAT....Trying it again in October

Randy Shannons' Agent

^
^
^
Cool story bro

cane4life

This is to Al Golden .....This is the U....The U doesn't have to take a backseat to anybody period even if we sucked the last few years...We don't want know half hearted CANES...Jake Heaps we offered you coming out of High School and you simply batted the U down so in reality the CANES don't need you to come 5 years later we have received true Canes who are not wishy washy ..and to the entire Cane Staff coaching..The State of New Jersey is not the only state with high school football players...LA..GA..TX..TN.SC.NC..MISS..ALAB..those are some southern states that have quality football too the last time recruiters checked..why do golden and the guy who is supposedly a d coordinator..why is that yall stay trying to recruit in new jersey more than any where else in the country....

Truth

At the end of the day, Dwyane Wade's ego is going to blow up this team.

He's not going to opt out, not going to take less than $20M a year. And it's not about the money, it's about his desperation to hold on to anything that might suggest he's still a star in this league. He can't do it on the court, so he's going to have to do it with his salary.

After that, it doesn't matter what happens. This team can't win with JUST Wade, LeBron, and Bosh, so even if they do both re-sign or opt-in with Wade the team won't have enough money to field a competitive roster.

End of an era, Dwyane Wade's evolution in to the league's biggest diva is finally going to torpedo this franchise.

Dom

I say the big 3 opt out, take 14-15 each, and if free's up 14m or so to Sign carmelo, and a veteran PG.

Beasley is the future 6th man of this team, his athleticism was on display even in 3rd n 4th qtr.

What were we missing? scoring off the bench. Beasley was that , we had him all year, and didnt use him.

Dom

Pao Gasol still can play, publicly came out n said he wants to win and is willing to take less $ to goto a contender. If they opt out(they have to for Riley to change the roster), Melo, Pao, and a Veteran PG to lead the team.... I say Riley Pulls it off

Rob

Why not then trade Wade and possibly Bosh for talent that will help LeBron. I don't think the Heat should be "Stuck" with non performers making big money.
Wade in his prime was great, but that is not going to return.
He kind of reminds me of Dr. J in his last couple of years in Philadelphia. He just couldn't elevate anymore and was just average. Wade also seems slow and not clever with the ball anymore. Poor passes, turnovers when going inside, just seems lost.

Bosh, according to Spoelstra is "The Most Important Player On the Team" That is laughable to say the least.
How can he honestly say that for a guy who is almost 7 feel tall and is afraid to go inside and rebound, guard,score in traffic, and mix it up with the bigs in the NBA. I would unload him in a heartbeat. An occasional 3 pointer to win a game a few times a year doesn't warrant the money he is making.

Trade Wade & Bosh and get players with skill & heart!

Truth

They couldn't get anything in return for Wade, there's no team in the league that wants him for two years, $40M.

They can dump his salary by shipping him off somewhere for a second round pick but at that point it's going to be too late into free agency to have a shot at any other big time players.

1 2 »

The comments to this entry are closed.