As Dwyane Wade reportedly mulls whether to take meetings with other teams next week, one potentially attractive suitor fell off the board tonight, with the Knicks signing Courtney Lee to be their starting shooting guard.
That leaves middling, rebuilding Chicago and Denver as the only known suitors with enough cap space to sign Wade.
As we noted yesterday, the Heat always has been optimistic that it will reach a deal with Wade and will be surprised if he leaves. But as we've reported, Wade also has been unhappy with the Heat's handling of this, so nothing can be ruled out.
If Miami doesn't snag Kevin Durant and gives its $20 million in remaining cap space to Wade, that would leave only the $2.9 million room exception and minimum contracts to fill out the roster beyond Wade, Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Chris Bosh, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Josh McRoberts (who is available if anyone wants to trade for him) and Briante Weber.
It appears Udonis Haslem would like a large chunk of the Heat's $2.9 million room exception, and it remains to be seen whether Miami will consider that. Remember, the Nets just gave $6 million over two years to Heat discard Justin Hamilton, who has played all of 43 NBA games.
• Though the Heat knows it’s an underdog in the battle for Durant, there are several ways his first-year max salary of $26.5 million can be accommodated by Miami.
The most realistic: Trade Dragic and McRoberts for no money back; ask Whiteside to start at $20 million instead of $22 million; and persuade Wade to take the remaining $16 million or so.
With the cap set at $94.1 million tonight, players with Whiteside's experience will have a first-year max of $22.1 million, as heathoops.com's Albert Nahmad noted, and Durant's first-year max will be $26.5 million.
• When the Heat meets with Durant in The Hamptons on Sunday, Miami’s contingent will include Micky and Nick Arison, Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra, Andy Elisburg and Alonzo Mourning.
• We've been told again that barring another blood clot, Chris Bosh’s plan is to play next season. The Heat remains optimistic, but not ready to make any public assurances.
• According to a source with direct knowledge, there has been contact between Riley and the rep for Jamal Crawford, but the Heat is in a holding pattern until it gets a decision from Durant.
• Beno Udrih remains around the Heat facility and remains a possibility for a minimum Heat deal next season.
• The Heat is among several teams that have expressed interest in center/power forward Willie Reed, who played well for Miami’s Summer League team last year and averaged 4.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in 39 games for the Nets... Through one day of free agency, Miami hadn’t called on Amar’e Stoudemire, whose agent said he wants to find regular minutes.
• The Heat hadn't pursued Gerald Green in the first day of free agency, but he could become an option if Miami can't find anyone better at the minimum (or with the room exception).... The Heat hasn't called on Dorell Wright and appears ready to move on after his playoff stint.
• Please click here for a Tyler Johnson update and other Heat news from this morning's post.
• Marlins players have complained about the front office at times in past years, but that hasn’t happened this year. Whereas associates of Mike Redmond and Dan Jennings said Jeffrey Loria meddled, that has not been the case now, Don Mattingly said.
“He doesn't bother me at all with lineups; nobody does,” Mattingly said. “It's been excellent. If he's in town, he usually comes in and says hello. We talk maybe once a week or something. It's been really good. Obviously, he's not worrying about the day to day every game like [president/baseball operations] Mike Hill. I am sure they are communicating with Jeffrey. It's been really good. I really like Jeffrey.”
• Jose Fernandez shockingly allowed a career-high nine runs (six earned) in 5 2/3 innings of a 9-1 loss to the Braves today. He also allowed two homers, for the second time in his career. The Braves rank last in baseball in home runs.
• UM running back Mark Walton’s trial on a DUI charge was set for July 11, and UM appears ready to let that play out before determining whether Walton will be suspended for any games.
• Please click here for the skinny on the Panthers' newest $22 million pickup today.
Check back Sunday for Dolphins stuff... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz