Bobcats, Rockets Enter Bosh Sign-and-Trade Discussions
The Miami Heat’s reported offer to Mike Miller suggests not only that LeBron James has decided to play for the Heat and that both he and the Heat would like Miller to join him, but also that the Heat has identified a trade partner for Michael Beasley if Miller elects to do so.
Beasley is currently under contract to the Heat for $4.96 million next season. Miller has a standing offer from the Heat for up to $30 million over five years, which implies a starting salary of approximately $5 million. Utilizing the cap space created from trading Beasley to sign Miller would therefore have no impact on the Heat’s salary cap position.
The details of any possible trade discussions for Beasley have largely been clandestine. Speculative indications based solely on salary cap maneuverings has suggested that such discussions could involve the Minnesota Timberwolves. Wolves general manager David Kahn has recently expressed a strong interest in Beasley. But a potential new trade partner has reportedly emerged.
Sources say that a four-team trade scenario between the Heat, Raptors, Bobcats and Rockets hatched on the eve of LeBron’s hour-long “Decision” special on ESPN would enable Toronto to bring back an asset or two in the wake of Chris Bosh’s departure but also avoid taking back Beasley. Which is believed to be the only sort of sign-and-trade that the Raptors would consider.
The proposed deal, sources said, would send Beasley and Rockets forward Jared Jeffries to Charlotte, land Bobcats center Tyson Chandler in Houston and create sufficient cap space for Heat president Pat Riley to offer max-contract money to Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and James.
The Heat and Raptors engaged in discussions for several hours after Bosh and Wade announced that they were committing to Miami in a package about the various sign-and-trade options. Discussions were serious enough Wednesday night, according to two sources, that Heat officials told Beasley to start preparing to relocate.
Such a transaction would be contingent on the approval of Toronto general manager Bryan Colangelo, which has yet to be given. The Raptors, though, have held firm on their determination to participate in a Bosh sign-and-trade only if they have to take back draft picks, while also creating a large trade exception through Bosh’s departure. The four-way proposal would create a $13.5 million trade exception for the Raptors but would also require them to take back at least $3.1 million in contracts from Houston, which they’ve thus far been unwilling to do.
If the Raptors ultimately consent to a sign-and-trade, Bosh would be able to sign a six-year max contract with the Heat starting at $16.6 million and worth up to $125.5 million, and Wade and James could secure maximum contracts starting at $16.6 million as well. However, it appears likely that each player has agreed to take less money in order to accommodate the salary of potential newcomer Mike Miller. A first year salary for Miller at a projected $5 million would imply that James, Wade and Bosh have agreed to split as much as $47 million in first year salary amongst themselves, an average of $15.6 million per player. That’s about $1 million less than the $16.6 million maximum salary to which each is entitled.