Now that the Heat has been eliminated from contention, it is a bittersweet feeling to continue watching the playoffs. But there is still plenty to root for.
Next season’s salary cap is based on revenues generated by the league this season. That includes playoff ticket sales, concessions and parking. The longer each playoff series goes, the higher the upcoming cap will be. While the Heat didn’t do anything to help itself – bowing out in just five games – playoff attendance is actually up year-over-year. That could be a good sign.
Last month, Commissioner David Stern said the league is projecting the salary cap to come in around $56.1 million, good news for a Heat team looking to sign top stars during this summer’s expected free agency bonanza. While that figure would still be lower than this season’s $57.7 million cap and only the third time it’s ever fallen, it’s far better than estimates from last summer, when the league sent a memo to teams warning them of a potential sharp drop to between $50.4 million to $53.6 million.
But if the playoffs prove to be more profitable than projected in April, it would certainly be possible for the cap to rise even further. That’s quite meaningful for the Heat. Every dollar rise in the cap is another dollar that can be given to that potential third elite player, after offering max contracts to both Wade and a sidekick.
There are also subplots that should be considered. Each of the Heat’s potential primary targets, with the exception of Chris Bosh, has led his team into the second round of the playoffs. Any such successes can only provide more impetus for teams to offer up more money to retain their stars, and provide more incentive for these players to consider the status quo.
The message is this. Root for the Celtics, Magic, Lakers and Spurs to win their second round match-ups… in seven games.