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Heat Extends Qualifying Offer to Joel Anthony

As expected, the Miami Heat has extended a qualifying offer to backup center Joel Anthony.

The move allows the Heat to match any outside offer for the restricted free agent, but also ties up an additional $1,060,120 against the Heat’s salary cap. The Heat will enter the off-season with salary obligations to four players (Beasley, Chalmers, Jones’ buyout and Anthony), in the amount of $8,376,749.

A qualifying offer is essentially a contract offer, which prevents the Heat from not offering Joel a contract and waiting to swoop in when he tries to sign elsewhere. It counts against the Heat’s salary cap as soon as it is offered. The Heat could withdraw its outstanding qualifying offer at any time, in which case Anthony would become an unrestricted free agent. The qualifying offer cannot be withdrawn after July 23 without the player’s consent.

Should the qualifying offer be withdrawn on or before July 23, the Heat would continue to hold Bird rights on the third year player, and he would continue to be charged against the cap at a reduced $854,389. Because Miami would retain his Bird rights, it would be able to utilize all of its cap room on other players and then come back to Joel. At that point, Miami would be able exceed the cap to offer Joel whatever salary he wants – all the way up to a maximum contract for a player with less than seven years of experience. If the Heat preferred to utilize the cap space elsewhere, Anthony would need to be renounced and his Bird rights lost.

If the qualifying offer were to be withdrawn after July 23, which would require mutual consent, Joel would be automatically renounced and the Heat would lose its Bird rights on the player.

While the qualifying offer remains outstanding, Joel has the right to accept it at any time in lieu of continuing to test the free agent market.

Although he can potentially accept the qualifying offer without prior notice, thus transforming the $1.06 million charge into a guaranteed contract and reducing the team’s total available cap space to a level in which it would no longer be in a position to offer maximum contracts to a potential Wade/James/Bosh trio, both history and dollars would dictate he will not do so.

Last season, Joel was in a similar situation, having been extended a qualifying offer by the Heat. When he elected to exercise his $1,000,497 qualifying offer, the Heat instead withdrew it and the two sides agreed to a minimum salary $825,497 contract instead.

Second, a qualifying offer is a one-year contract offer. With contract values projected to be sharply reduced under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement after the coming season, it would be a substantial risk for Joel not to attempt to lock in a longer term deal.

And third, cooperating with Riley would allow him to secure much bigger dollars than his qualifying offer.

For now, Anthony is a free agent and allowed to solicit offer sheets from outside teams starting Thursday. The Heat then would have seven days to decide whether to match such an offer or allow him to depart.

Jarvis Varnado, the 6’9″ power forward from Mississippi State drafted by the Heat with the 41st overall pick, figures to be a possible replacement for Joel Anthony if need be. But the NCAA’s career leader in blocked shots is far more likely to spend the season abroad while honing his skills.

Anthony finished third in the league with 3.96 blocks per 48 minutes this past season, with a combined total of 109. The 6’9″ shot-blocking specialist was signed by the Heat on July 3, 2007 to a two-year minimum salary contract after going undrafted out of UNLV. He was signed to a second minimum contract on July 20, 2009. He has appeared in 169 regular season games, all with the Heat, including 45 starts, averaging 2.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 17.0 minutes per game, while shooting .478 from the field and .668 from the line.

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  1. Heat-Struck
    June 29th, 2010 at 18:59 | #1

    It’s too bad he doesn’t know how to do anything other than block shots…

    The Heat must be very confident that they’re getting Wade/Lebron/Bosh to be playing with fire like this. In that case, the Heat making this move could be viewed as a positive. I bet they already have a Beasley trade in the works, where the other team is also asking for Mario Chalmers.

  2. Vincent
    June 29th, 2010 at 22:14 | #2

    The Heat should let JA set his price on the open market. If there is a team that will offer him over 2 mil a year for 3+ years, then I say let him walk. But I bet a deal for Joel is already done to play for the Heat this season, as a starting center.

  3. lucas fb
    June 29th, 2010 at 23:47 | #3

    @Heat-Struck
    I know Mario disappointed this season, but for $0.8m/$0.9m I say keep him.

    I would not be even a bit mad if we end up with a Big 4 of Wade+Bosh+Gay+Beasley instead of the Big 3. James is an egomaniac. And I know the media will try at all costs make this queen’s team not Wade’s, so I say forget him. He isn’t coming here anyway. He is trying to mess with both us and Wade, by grabbing Bosh to join the Bulls.

  4. Heat-Struck
    June 30th, 2010 at 00:23 | #4

    Bosh will definitely not go to the Bulls, because he would only get about $14 mil there. He would get more money here in Miami. If we can’t get rid of Beasley, he could share the pay cut with Wade and Lebron and make $15 mil, or if we can get rid of Beasley, and then he’ll get his max $16.5 mil.

  5. Curtis
    June 30th, 2010 at 04:36 | #5

    I have a theory about why the Heat made this qualifying offer.

    According to this article: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AuvWj3ALbuneUj38V60NMcq8vLYF?slug=ys-boshwade062910

    The Raptors would want Beasley AND Chalmers in a sign and trade for Bosh. Anthony’s qualifying offer is about 200,000 more then Chalmers cap number. With the savings from the lowered James Jones buyout the surplus 300,000 from it covers the 100,000 short the Heat were for the three maxes and allows them to keep Joel over Chalmers. This also explains why Mario’s option was picked up. The Heat prefer Joel as a center to Chalmers as multiple free agents are available on the cheap such as Earl Watson, Steve Blake and Keyon Dooling. All the puzzlie pieces fit in this scenario.

    • June 30th, 2010 at 04:40 | #6

      @Curtis
      My hunch is that you are over-thinking this. As I first described here last month, I would imagine that the decision to extend Joel a qualifying offer was just a logic first step that will eventually lead to a significant pay raise.

      If the Heat instead ultimately needs the additional cap space when everything shakes they, they can simply renounce him.

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