Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report had an excellent article yesterday on how Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade decided to stay put in Miami. The big three has dwindled down to a big two, but Bosh and Wade have huge aspirations for the 2014-2015 season even with LeBron James gone.
Bosh had an opportunity, one that many around basketball felt he would take with LeBron heading back to Cleveland, in signing with the Houston Rockets and forming a new big four with Dwight Howard, James Harden, and Chandler Parsons. The Rockets would clearly be one of the elite basketball teams the next season had this scenario played out.
In this scenario, the Miami Heat would have had a ton of cap room to play with, but with a quickly evaporating field of free agents to pursue. President of Basketball Operations Pat Riley mentioned he had interest in trying for Carmelo Anthony, but he did say the Heat were too late to the party to bring the small forward to Miami to replace LeBron.
So what were the Heat options beyond these players? Lets first take a look at the players that signed with Miami after Bosh agreed to re-up:
Luol Deng: Let’s be honest, if Bosh doesn’t come back, Deng isn’t likely to sign in Miami with a team with only Dwyane Wade being a difference maker.
Josh McRoberts: Maybe he still signs in Miami, but nobody would blame him if he took his talents (and hair) elsewhere.
Danny Granger: Like McRoberts, he would less likely to honor his verbal agreement with Miami, and could head elsewhere as a free agent.
Mario Chalmers: Heat drafted him and he probably would have never had a real market develop outside of Miami. Likely to return regardless, unless the Heat signed another point guard.
Chris Anderson: If Bosh bolts, he probably joins LeBron in Cleveland, a team he was pursued heavily by.
Udonis Haslem: No doubt he resigns in Miami, this is not even a question regardless of the makeup of the roster. He and Wade are #Heatlifers
Outside Free Agents:
Eric Bledsoe: After LeBron spurned the Heat, this may have never been a real option for Miami, with Bledsoe having the same agent as the former Heat small forward.
Greg Monroe: This would have been an intriguing name for the Heat to pursue, but they likely would have wasted three days in free agency, as the Pistons would have likely matched the Heat’s offer for Monroe.
Isaiah Thomas: This is a guy I wish the Heat pursued more heavily, as his 4-year $27 million contract with the Phoenix Suns is likely to be a huge bargain for the Suns going forward.
Lance Stephenson: Could Stevenson been a target for the Heat if they failed on the above free agents? Many people remember his history with LeBron James, but he and Dwyane Wade were not buddy-buddy either. Hard to see this signing taking place with Wade’s approval.
Pau Gasol: Wade reached out this Gasol to sign with Miami, but that’s when the Big 3 was still thought to be intact. He’s less likely to take a similar role to what he would have had if he resigned with the Lakers and stuck with Kobe Bryant.
After those free agents, the Miami Heat would have likely been shopping in the bargain bin, looking for cheap one-year contracts to get them through the 2014-2015 season.
Overall, if Bosh did not agree to the Heat for the 2014/2015 season, the Heat would have been in for a terrible season, likely fighting with the Philadelphia 76ers for a chance to draft Jahil Okafor. Bosh’s five-year, $118 million deal may look like an overpay at first, but that deal made it possible to keep a competitive team in Miami.
Here’s a huge thank you to Chris Bosh, and in part to Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley, for keeping the Heat relevant.