The news of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh opting-out of their contracts over the weekend surely meant in the minds of many that LeBron James and the “Big-Three” would all take less money and stay with the Miami Heat. I mean why not? They did it (to a lesser extent) in 2010.
Contrary to that popular belief however, Brian Windhorst of ESPN is reporting that “The King” is looking for a max-deal and will not accept any less than $22.2 annually, according to CBSsports.com. Windhorst goes on to report that teams who contact James will be immediately informed that he will not accept any less than that figure of $22 per.
This is interesting news considering all the franchise possibilities that were speculated in the past two-weeks. While Miami (and every other team) would be better served if James went the “cheap” route, this news makes Miami the clear-cut front-runner now.
The Rockets, Knicks, Nets and others have very little cap-space and would have to pull a rabbit out of their hat to get James aboard with a max-contract. Meanwhile Miami could easily afford him should Wade and Bosh sign for the home-team discount.
This is a clear message sent by James: I want to be paid as I sacrificed money in the past.
Only seven current teams could afford James at the max-level: Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic and of course the Miami Heat, according to ESPN.com.
Of those seven teams, only one has a realistic shot: the Miami Heat.