Micky Arison was one of five NBA owners who voted against the current Collective Bargaining Agreement back in December of 2011. It was mostly a symbolic move – he knew the agreement would pass either way. But the point he was making was clear: the harshest elements of the new contract, the more penal luxury tax system and the new revenue sharing model, were clearly aimed directly at his Miami Heat.
The lockout having ended, the season was spared and the Heat went on to win its first, and now its second, championship of the Big Three era. Heat fans have thus far been spoiled by Arison’s willingness to spend his way into ensuring the future is bright in Miami. But could the day of reckoning the league had envisioned for the Heat soon be upon us?
Player salaries, when combined with luxury tax obligations, can get quite expensive for a title contender such as the Heat. Revenue sharing obligations only increase that financial burden.
So the question becomes: How profitable is the Heat organization?
First, some background.
Micky Arison is a multi-billionaire.
He is the son of Ted Arison, co-founder of Carnival in 1972. He became Chairman and CEO of Carnival in 1979. He announced his intention to step down as CEO earlier today, retaining his role as Chairman, but he nonetheless owns 111 million shares of the company, currently valued at a whopping $3.9 billion!
He is the majority owner of the Miami Heat, having purchased the team from his father and two other men, Billy Cunningham and Lewis Schaffel, for $68 million in 1995, who themselves paid out $32.5 million in expansion fees in 1988 to bring the team to Miami. Read more…
The Miami Heat have no first or second round picks in the 2013 NBA Draft, which is to be held on June 27 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The Heat’s first round pick was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of the LeBron James sign-and-trade on July 9, 2010. It was subsequently traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, and is now the property of the Phoenix Suns. It has become the No. 30 and final pick in the round.
The Heat also acquired a first round pick from the Philadelphia 76ers in the Arnett Moultrie draft-and-trade on June 28, 2012. However, the pick is lottery protected through 2015; if not conveyed by 2015, it will become consecutive second round picks in 2015 and 2016. Since the Sixers missed the playoffs this past season, the pick will be conditionally transferred to the Heat next year.
Currently a bystander to Thursday evening’s activities, should the Heat attempt to trade into the first round of the draft? Read more…
When the Miami Heat signed Chris “Birdman” Andersen in January, they were hoping for an extra body off the bench who could bring energy, rebounding and defense. Since joining the team, the veteran forward/center has given them much more than that.
Outside of LeBron James, Andersen was the Heat’s most important player on offense during various stretches of the regular and postseason. Andersen was the beneficiary of James’ creative passing, scoring mostly at the rim, mostly on dunks, adding vertical floor spacing to the Heat’s offense, drawing double and triple teams away from the perimeter, and forcing opposing defenses to pay the ultimate price for their help defense.
Outside of James, he was also the Heat’s most important player on defense at times. James has praised Birdman profusely in the past, comparing him to his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Anderson Varejao for his hustle and energy. He blocks shots, he’s versatile enough to check both frontcourt positions, and he rebounds the basketball.
The Heat repeated as champions because they have LeBron James. But they wouldn’t have been nearly as dominant as they were without the contributions of their many secondary players, guys who know their roles and do what they’re supposed to do. Birdman has shown that he can be as valuable to the team as anyone not named James, Wade or Bosh.
He was a wonderful addition for the Heat this past season. A perfect fit. The missing piece at a position of desperate need. But he’s also a soon-to-be 35-year-old, low-minute, high-energy reserve. How should the Heat value such a player? How much can they afford to pay?
Basic mathematics could provide the answers. Read more…
It’s still time for celebration in Miami, the Heat just having won its second NBA title in as many seasons. The champagne is still flowing, the parade is still upcoming, and the sheer joy of the moment is still bringing smiles to all of our faces.
For the front office, however, it’s time to get to work. There are tough decisions to be made.
Toughest of all may be the case of Mike Miller.
Miller is a truly wonderful guy. He’s classy. He’s humble. He’s a family man with a touching story. He’s a great teammate. He’s a great player. He can hit a barrage of clutch three-pointers to clinch NBA titles. He can hit them without shoes on. When he’s right, he can be the second most valuable player on the team.
But the Heat is in a difficult financial position and, as such, his tenure on the team is in doubt.
Was he right? Were his actions premature? What are the alternatives for Miller and the Heat? Read more…
The clock is ticking. Within a week, the first decisions for next season need to be made.
By June 29, there will have to be resolution with the four players on the roster with options for the 2013-14 season.
Of those decisions, only one is at the Heat’s discretion, the third and final year on Mario Chalmers’ contract. It is a $4 million team option. It almost assuredly will be picked up, a bargain price for an NBA starting point guard.
Three other options are out of the Heat’s control – player options held by guard Ray Allen and forwards James Jones and Rashard Lewis.
Allen has been silent on the issue of his $3.2 million option. But having hit the most iconic shot of the 2013 playoffs – and perhaps the single biggest field goal in Miami Heat history – resulting in his second NBA title, he is surely rejuvenated and excited to return. Lewis and Jones have each already expressed their excitement in returning with varying levels of certainty.
This is a happy team. It is a back-to-back NBA champion. It is the prohibitive favorite to get a third consecutive. Why would anyone choose to leave?
All four are likely to return.
But, for Lewis and Jones – who are playing at or near the minimum salary – there is a deeper story here. With the Heat in a financial crunch and attempting to keep its core together, the Heat and salary cap guru Andy Elisburg need to get creative. They have a golden opportunity to save as much as $3.1 million next season, and they should pounce. Read more…
The Miami Heat, who have now won their third NBA championship in team history, get to take home the Larry O’Brien trophy for the second time in as many seasons. The team also gets to take home a little pocket change: $3,811,608 in playoff bonus money.
In the NBA, there is no championship prize money per se – just a $13 million “Player Playoff Pool” that is funded by playoff gate receipts and is then allocated to playoff teams. The amount earned escalates as one’s team advances in the playoffs.
As a team, the Heat earned $2,302,232 from the pool for winning the championship, compared to the $1,525,515 the San Antonio Spurs received as runner-up.
Earlier, the Heat earned $374,947 for finishing with the best record in the NBA, another $328,078 for finishing with the best record in the Eastern Conference, $194,016 for participating in the first round of the playoffs, $230,853 for participating in the Conference Semifinals, and $381,482 for participating in the Conference Finals.
Their validation came in the form of a second consecutive championship celebration that began here late Thursday night and probably won’t end for days. And as the final seconds ticked off the game clock inside AmericanAirlines Arena, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh reveled in the moment. They earned it!
For Miami’s Big Three, the team’s 95-88 victory over San Antonio in Game 7 of the N.B.A. Finals completes a journey several years in the making. The Finals disappointment against Dallas in 2011, unforeseen setbacks and relentless criticism – much of it misguided – no longer mattered. They accomplished what they set out to do: win multiple N.B.A. titles as teammates.
That singular pursuit is what prompted the incomparable James to walk away from the team that drafted him, incurring the wrath of fans in his home state. It’s why Wade, one of the game’s greatest ever superstars, willingly stepped aside to let basketball’s best player lead the Heat. It’s why Bosh allowed himself to be denigrated from franchise player to disrespected third wheel.
The payoff was surely worth it.
In winning consecutive N.B.A. championships, the Heat joins an exclusive club that includes only the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers. The list of teams that have made at least three straight Finals appearances in doing so is even shorter: the Celtics, Bulls, Pistons and Lakers. Read more…
The NBA’s salary cap and luxury tax threshold aren’t expected to rise as much as the league initially projected, a development that could have significant implications for the Miami Heat.
Estimates that were provided by the league to NBA teams on May 31 have the salary cap rising to just $58.5 million and the tax threshold to just $71.6 million for the 2013-14 season, both slight increases from the current levels but considerably lower than what had been projected. The league had previously guided to $60 million and $73 million, respectively, at the beginning of the season. The numbers will be finalized only after the NBA does a full season audit during the first week in July.
The revised projections suggest that revenues for the 2012-13 season are falling short of expectations and, as a result, player salaries are correspondingly too high, triggering escrow adjustments to the following season’s salary cap and tax threshold. Read more…
Update (11/17/13): The bone bruises in Dwyane Wade’s right knee have now fully healed. While he has continuing issues with both knees, his most significant troubles are with his left knee, from which he had a portion of his lateral meniscus removed in March 2002.
We’ve been through this before – a 30+ year-old Dwyane Wade sustaining injury, and thus being unable to perform at the highest of levels at the most critical of times. Last year, it caused perhaps the worst postseason of his career. This year, it is lowering even that standard.
Last time around, it was further structural damage to an already surgically repaired left knee, which required the joint to be drained of excess fluid in May and then an arthroscopic procedure to clean out the area in July. This time around, it’s a bone bruise in the right knee. Three, in fact.
The term “bone bruise” perhaps makes the injury seem less serious than it is. People often think of a bruise as a black-and-blue mark on the skin, which is often nothing more than a minor nuisance. But bones can also be bruised. In fact, bone bruises can be quite severe and extremely painful. They’re not all that uncommon in basketball circles. And the knee is particularly susceptible. Read more…
There has been widespread speculation in NBA circles over the past year or so about the fate of the Miami Heat for next season and beyond. Articles that emphatically declare the inevitable financially-motivated implosion of Pat Riley’s brainchild have run rampant all across the internet universe.
The cost of doing business in the NBA has increased dramatically under the provisions of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The new rules are designed specifically to financially cripple high-spending teams like the Heat, in an attempt to promote competitive balance among all of the league’s 30 teams.
It’s working. Miami’s costs are soaring. But while predictions that call for the Big Three to be broken up to alleviate the hemorrhaging in the years to come are wildly premature and not very likely if things continue to run smoothly on the court, just how much Arison may be willing to spend to surround them depends largely on future luxury tax thresholds. Read more…