Crunch time has arrived for Pat Riley and Miami. If Riley wants to keep the best player in the NBA, he needs to start building, but it won’t be easy.
After losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals, the Heat had to move on quickly because all members of the Big Three were headed toward free agency this summer. Obviously, the Heat want all of them to remain with the team.
However, after losing the championship and then watching the Spurs keep the majority of their roster intact thus far, LeBron James may be a little skeptical if the Heat were to meet San Antonio in the Finals again. That being said, should LeBron James consider taking his talents away from South Beach?
There was word of a plan in which Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would take pay cuts in order to open up enough cap space to keep LeBron in Miami. Bosh’s new, smaller contract would last for five years, while Wade’s would last for four years. In theory, the pay cuts would be enough to sign James to the maximum contract he desires and sign a few other players to improve Miami’s roster.
While Wade and Bosh have both committed to the Heat, LeBron is not so sure, leaving Miami in limbo. At some point, the Heat will have to begin considering a team without James in the near future, even if he is still a free agent.
However, waiting too long may leave more problems. The Heat have to act quickly because there is no telling if and when the players being targeted by Miami will sign elsewhere.
For example, the Heat wanted to improve at the point guard position this offseason. One name the Heat had considered was Kyle Lowry. However, Lowry just reached a new agreement with the Toronto Raptors. The Heat may not be able to afford waiting while the top point guards are being scooped up.
In the frontcourt, the Heat reportedly want to sign Pau Gasol. Unfortunately for Miami, Gasol is already being recruited by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls, two teams that will probably be championship contenders next season. It is only a matter of time before Gasol decides on his future.
The Heat need a plan before LeBron just walks away, leaving them with nothing. The Heat may consider a sign-and-trade using LeBron. Yet, a sign-and-trade begs the question of who has enough talent to really benefit Miami. Miami must question if they can find the building blocks needed for the future in a sign-and-trade scenario.
Time is running out for the Heat, and LeBron James may leave a championship contending team in ruins with his decision.