Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Chris Bosh’

Living in a dream world… if only for a moment

June 22nd, 2011 2 comments

Pat Riley had a plan. He executed upon it with deadly precision. He got the big things so right that it almost didn’t matter how he handled the little things.

But not all of those little things went perfectly.

What if he did better with those little things? With the 2011 NBA draft now bearing down on us, would it have made any difference?

Navigating the uncertain waters of the draft has always been a special kind of hell for Riley. Riley’s draft record with the Heat reads more like a comedy of errors than it does a serious attempt at identifying talent.

In 2003, Riley nearly drafted Chris Kaman with the fifth overall pick before being talked into selecting Dwyane Wade by his staff. Whew!

Since that time, only three players he’s selected have ever played more than eleven big-league minutes for the Heat – Dorell Wright, Wayne Simien, and Michael Beasley. The very next players taken in those drafts were Jameer Nelson, David Lee, and, two picks down, Russell Westbrook.

Perhaps it is something of a blessing that he now has just eight picks, just two first rounders, to deal with over the next five years.

Was it a combination of strong basketball decisions or his strong aversion to the type of scrutiny that comes with the draft that led Riley and the Miami Heat to this position?

Riley again yesterday openly described his aversion.

“I don’t think you win championships with young, athletic players that don’t have experience. I think we’ve learned over the years that building with young players is very frustrating.”

But what if things were different?

What if the Heat had made some different decisions along the way?

There was Dorell Wright.

In a season to that point mired in frustration, and seemingly defined by the anticipation of things to come, keeping Wright at the trade deadline was perhaps the single most popular decision the Heat brass made. Riley and crew decided that Wright’s presence was more of a priority than the estimated $7.7 million addition to owner Micky Arison’s already fat wallet.

Wright responded in kind, offering some of the best work of his career.

But not all of us were so thrilled. A select few among us realized that if the Heat were to be successful in its bid for three max contract free agents, the team would need to soak up every possible opportunity to create depth around them.

The Grizzlies were offering a lottery-protected first round pick in return for his services. This select few realized that, despite Wright’s overwhelming popularity and still very much untapped potential, 26 final games from a free-agent-to-be in a season going nowhere was simply not worth $7.7 million and a future first round draft pick. That pick ended up being No. 20 overall in tomorrow’s draft.

There was Daequan Cook.

We all understood the rationale behind surrendering the No. 18 overall pick in last year’s draft in order to be free of all obligations to Cook. With such high stakes, Miami could hardly afford to gamble on the $2.2 million devoted to Cook.

But not all of us agreed on the approach. Some of us felt that the $2.2 million could rather easily be shed simply by offering a potential suitor up to the $3.0 million cash limit the CBA allows as well as a selection of second round picks, if necessary. How many unprofitable smaller-market teams could realistically pass up the opportunity to add backcourt depth in the form of a young and developing Three-Point Shootout champion not only free of charge, but at an $830k profit?

These same people felt that treating the No. 18 overall pick with such apathy was imprudent, that it could be better utilized to draft a potential future starter, if available, and in a trade for a similar such pick in a future draft if notThey realized that while drafting a player would eat into the team’s valuable cap space, the very situation the Heat were trying to rid themselves of with Cook, in this case we’d only be talking about an incremental $760K, or roughly equivalent to the cap space the Heat was willing to eat up to retain the Bird rights of Joel Anthony. They realized that sacrificing one for the other was a good gamble.

There was the Big Three.

When Chris Bosh and LeBron James made their decisions, there was elation. When they were signed, there was controversy.

Surrendering four first round picks and two second round picks, in addition to two large trade exceptions, seemed a bit excessive to some of us for a couple of players who were otherwise already committed to the Miami Heat. It seemed a bit excessive in return for nothing more than a sixth season tacked on to an already huge five-year contract – a sixth year that both are likely to opt out of anyway.

The question has been asked. What if things were different?

Let’s try to answer it.

Mario Chalmers and Eric Bledsoe would be battling it out for starters minutes at the point.

Dwyane Wade would still be playing under a six year contract, earning $2.0 million more than he is today. Eddie House would be battling it out with Danny Green for reserve two-guard minutes.

LeBron James would be playing under a full maximum contract, sacrificing that sixth year guarantee in exchange for an added $8.4 million over the first five. James Jones would still be the Heat’s primary reserve small forward. Mike Miller would, unfortunately, be playing under a long-term contract elsewhere.

Chris Bosh would be playing under a full maximum contract, sacrificing his sixth year guarantee in exchange for an added $8.4 million over the first five. Udonis Haslem’s contract would remain unaltered.

The disastrous contingent of Heat centers would remain unaltered. But, at least, having sacrificed the $1.1 million cap hit his Bird rights required in exchange for the $1.2 million cap hit of Bledsoe, Anthony would be playing under a much more palatable minimum salary contract.

And the Miami Heat would have five – yes, five! – more first round draft picks and two more second round draft picks over the next five years, including a potential unprotected first round pick from the Raptors in 2015 that could very easily turn into the No. 1 overall pick in the draft in the season immediately after the contracts of James and Bosh would expire.

In short, the Heat would have produced the very same roster, save for adding Eric Bledsoe and swapping out Mike Miller for Danny Green, and would have stockpiled a whopping seven first round picks and eight second round picks over the next five years.

That’s 15 picks in just five years! No other team in the league has anywhere near that total.

(For those who are counting, the first round picks would have been: Miami’s own 2011-15, Memphis’ 2011, and Toronto’s potentially unprotected 2015. The second round picks would have been: Miami’s own 2013-2015, Oklahoma City’s 2011, Minnesota’s 2011 and 2014, New Orleans’ 2012, and Memphis’ top-55 protected 2012.)

One has to wonder.

What would two first round picks (Nos. 20, 28) and a high second round pick (No. 31) get you? A top ten pick in this year’s draft?

What would two first round picks (Nos. 20, 28), a second round pick (No. 31), and what figures to be a fully unprotected Raptors first round pick in 2015 get you? The No. 2 overall pick from a Minnesota Timberwolves team actively looking to trade it?

The possibilities with that grouping of picks would have, in this fictional reality, been endless.

If Riley’s aversion to the draft was ever present, think of the potential trade possibilities. By way of example, rumor would have you believe that the Phoenix Suns were shopping Marcin Gortat and their No. 13 pick for the No. 2 pick. Imagine if the Heat had acquired that No. 2 pick, and then pulled the trigger on this trade (involving, perhaps, Haslem, the unguaranteed contract of Pittman, and any one of the minimum contractors who picks up his second year option to make the math work).

How would Gortat look in a Heat uniform? He’s huge, he’s athletic, he’s among the best pick-and-roll operators around, he’s got a soft touch around the rim, he’s got good range, he’s a solid post defender, and he’s a beast on the boards. Is there a more perfect fit for this Miami Heat team, outside of Dwight Howard, in the whole of the NBA? Can you imagine how dominant such a Big Four would be?

With the Heat second team backcourt flush with youthful talent, how would frontcourt options such as SF Kawhi Leonard, PF Markieff Morris, or C Nikola Vucevic look with that No. 13 pick?

How would it feel to have secured both Gortat and one of the above selections, and still have four first round and seven second round picks to play with over the next five years?

It’s not as if an entirely unrealistic scenario is being painted here. Many of us were questioning each one of these little decisions made by Riley and his crew as they were happening. Of course, they are now important only for those among us who choose to live in the past.

The lesson, however, remains the same: Ignore the NBA draft at your own peril.

Dwyane Wade the Victim of Salary Cap Mistakes By His Agent and Team

July 18th, 2010 No comments

Miami Heat general manager Pat Riley and salary cap expert Andy Elisburg have been widely praised not only for their ability to recruit LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Mike Miller to join Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem in South Florida but also for their ability to structure their contracts to fit within the confines of a $58.044 million salary cap. Wade, however, has reason to be less than thrilled – with the Heat organization but, more importantly, with agent Henry Thomas.

Wade, James and Bosh were all eligible to receive maximum contracts with a starting salary of $16,568,908. However, in order to accommodate the contracts of Miller and Haslem, each graciously took less. The first year salaries in the contracts of James and Bosh have been finalized at $14,500,000, while the first year salary for Wade has been finalized at $14,200,000.

It remains unclear as to why Wade took a bigger discount than his Big Three cohorts. What is clear, however, is that it was unnecessary. The Heat had the ability to create the necessary room to allow Wade’s contract to match that of James and Bosh, with room to spare, without impacting the contract of any other player. The $300,000 discrepancy will wind up costing Wade $2,272,500 over the life of his deal.

Understanding how this would have been possible necessitates an understanding certain league rules.  Read more…

Everything is Done: How Did It All Happen?

July 17th, 2010 5 comments

The Miami Heat finished last season with 16 players under contract and a team salary far in excess of the salary cap. They then created enough salary cap room to sign everyone who is on the roster today. Now they are far in excess of the salary cap once again.

So how did it all happen? How did they manage to get so far below the salary cap and then above it again all in the same season? With creative financing!

Everything has now been finalized. It’s done. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown.

(Note: The actions below, in some cases, may be out of order. They have been structured so as to make evident the Heat’s thought process along the way, as well as to promote ease of reader comprehension. Full comprehension also requires an understanding of cap holds and roster charges, which are described in detail here.)

This is a snapshot of the Heat’s salary cap situation at the end of last season:

Read more…

It’s Official!!!

July 9th, 2010 8 comments

With 13,000 Heat fans anxiously waiting in AmericanAirlines Arena to welcome its newest trio of superstars, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh were upstairs finalizing their contracts. Minutes later, they emerged through a cloud of Canes-like smoke… along with some unexpected news. Udonis Haslem is returning to join the party.

Haslem’s commitment was, needless to say, a shocking revelation. Even I had previously reported that Udonis would not be back. The Heat was out of cap space, the team was unable to utilize his Bird rights, and he was not about to sign for the league minimum.

So, how was it possible?

In short, the triumvirate agreed to reduce the value of their contracts. And Riley turned around and utilized the recovered cap space to secure the beloved power forward, as well as newcomer Mike Miller.

But why would they so drastically reduce their salaries? Well, pure generosity. Udonis and Mike are friends of the Big Three, and the Big Three did right by their friends in their desire to put together a championship-caliber roster and close-knit team.

How much did they sacrifice? Let’s take a look. Read more…

Bobcats, Rockets Enter Bosh Sign-and-Trade Discussions

July 8th, 2010 3 comments

It appears as though Michael Beasley may not be part of Pat Riley’s vision for the future of the Miami Heat organization.

Per Chad Ford and Marc Stein of ESPN:

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, despite significant financial rationale, has yet to be given. The Raptors appear unwilling to play a part in any transaction that would make Bosh’s departure more lucrative as well as aid the Heat in the possible acquisition of LeBron James.

If the Raptors ultimately consent to a sign-and-trade, Bosh would be able to sign a six-year max contract with the Heat worth approximately $125.5 million, and Wade and James could secure maximum contracts as well. As of now, if the trio split the shortfall equal, they would each fall $937,452 short of maximum dollars, which equates to $7,101,099 over the life of a six-year max deal utilizing full Bird rights and $5,437,222 over the life of potential five-year non-Bird max contract.

Toronto, meanwhile, would come away with a combination of Rockets personnel set to make at least $3.1 million in salary in the coming season as well as a trade exception as large as $13.5 million. Alternatively, the Raptors could secure Beasley and a trade exception worth more than $11.6 million in a direct Heat-Raptors sign-and-trade scenario. It is yet to be determined whether any additional considerations (potentially up to $3 million in cash and/or draft picks) would be included by the Heat in any such package.

It has also been suggested that the Heat may have alternative plans for the cap room a Beasley departure would free up. Mike Miller has reportedly been offered a five-year deal, worth approximately $27 million to $30 million. If Miller were to accept the offer, his contract would likely have a starting salary of between $4,655,172 and $5,172,414 in the coming season. Beasley is set to make $4,962,240.

Raptors have lost last bit of leverage in Bosh S&T

July 8th, 2010 5 comments

The Toronto Raptors have signed Lenis Kleiza to a four-year, $20-million offer sheet.

While this means very little by way of increased competition for the Miami Heat next season, it has far-reaching implications for both its All-Star power forward and its potential future Hall-of-Fame small forward.

At the start of the free agent signing period at 12:01 this morning, the Raptors had total maximum available room of $9,782,964 under the salary cap. The team also had a pending commitment to Amir Johnson on a 5-year, $34 million contract. The first year salary on such a contract, by league rule, can be no less than $5,619,835.

As you undoubtedly know by now, an accepted offer sheet is a binding contract between player and team. Therefore, when a team puts forth an offer sheet, it must have reserved the requisite room within the confines of the salary cap. In the Raptors’ case, the offer sheet to Kleiza would start at no less than $4,716,981, making it ethically impossible utilizing the team’s cap space (i.e., impossible without reneging on Johnson).

What does this mean?

It means the Raptors have chosen not to maximize cap space. It means the Raptors have instead decided to enter free agency over the salary cap threshold. It means Johnson will be signed utilizing the team’s Larry Bird exception. And it means Kleiza’s offer sheet was extended by utilizing the vast majority of the team’s mid-level exception.

Best of all, it means the Raptors have now completely lost all leverage in a potential sign-and-trade transaction with the Miami Heat.

If Toronto elects not to engage in such a transaction, it will have virtually no additional room with which to add any outside free agents (its $2.1 million bi-annual exception, as much as $1.1 million remaining of its mid-level-exception, and as many minimum salary contracts as its collective heart desires) for at least the next seven days. The team’s free agency period would, barring any unforeseen trade with seemingly undesirable trade pieces, effectively be over.

Additional room can only come from engaging with the Heat in sign-and-trade discussions. That means the Heat can now basically dictate its terms to Raptors’ general manager Bryan Colangelo. That means no first round draft picks will need to be surrendered. That means Michael Beasley’s salary can be jettisoned, unless you feel that Toronto would be willing to forgo the second year talent and an $11,606,668 trade exception, and instead lose its best trade asset for nothing.

That means Pat Riley can now threaten the man who just two days ago was rumored to have threatened to derail the Bosh-to-Miami scenario by refusing to engage in such sign-and-trade discussions. Payback is a five-letter-word.

That means, if Riley chooses to exert his leverage over an outmatched Colangelo, the Heat can produce the required cap space to offer three max contracts.

Two are reserved. All common logic would now suggest that LeBron will take the third. We’ll find out at 9:00 pm.

Categories: Commentary Tags: ,

Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat!!!

July 7th, 2010 4 comments

Per Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are teaming up together on the Miami Heat, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

ESPN’s Shelley Smith also reported the pending move through independent sources.

Whether LeBron James, the kingpin of this summer’s celebrated free agent class, will join them remains to be seen. James will announce his decision Thursday night at 9 ET during a one-hour special on ESPN.

Wade and Bosh are expected to announce their decision on Wednesday, according to the source.

If the reports are true, on July 8 the Heat will have Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers under contract, and $15,601,383 of remaining cap space available, of which up to $11,812,551 can be spent on any one player.

Yeah, baby!!!! None of us ever had a doubt!

Heat Gaining Steam in Free Agent Sweepstakes

July 6th, 2010 4 comments

LeBron James wants desperately to play with Chris Bosh. He sees Bosh as the key to a team that can win multiple titles. As such, he’s been trying to recruit the All-Star to Cleveland for several weeks. The capped out Cavaliers have even worked out a sign-and-trade with the Raptors to make it happen.

Per Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Everything is set for Chris Bosh to join LeBron James in Cleveland. Everything, that is, except Bosh’s approval.

The Toronto Raptors have told the Cleveland Cavaliers they will do a sign-and-trade with them for Bosh, according to several league sources.

The exact details of the potential trade have not been solidified, but Toronto likely would get Anderson Varejao and or J.J. Hickson, Delonte West, and perhaps Anthony Parker. A draft pick could be involved as well.

The Raptors are certainly doing their part to drive their departing power forward toward a potential union with James, disingenuously suggesting it would not be willing to cooperate in a sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat.

But Chris has not exactly warmed to the idea of playing in Cleveland. And for good reason. The average temperature in Cleveland is 49 degrees; the average temperature in Miami is 75 degrees. Cleveland has factories; Miami has South Beach.

And for a guy who’s so motivated by the money, he’d be paying approximately $750,000 more in annual taxes (state, net of federal deductions) in Ohio than on an equivalent contract in Florida. Read more…

Anecdotal evidence keeps building

July 2nd, 2010 No comments

Not content to sit idly by and have their off-season plans destroyed by the departing Chris Bosh, general manager Bryan Colangelo and the Toronto Raptors opted instead to kick off free agency by agreeing to re-sign Amir Johnson to a five-year, $34 million contract.

The Johnson signing represents a commitment to rebuilding with the right long-term pieces for the start of the non-Bosh era. The 23-year old figures to be a key part of the frontcourt rotation for years to come and will have a chance to expand beyond his current role as a shot blocker and rebounder.

But to brush aside this ridiculous contract as a quality investment would be to assume that other teams were prepared to pay an average of $6.8 million per season over five years for a back-up big man who has had an exceedingly difficult time remaining on the floor due to his severe propensity for committing fouls. It is a perplexing expenditure for a franchise currently dealing with the consequences of another exorbitant contract that blew up in its face, and one dealing with several others (Calderon, 3 years and $29 million; Bargnani, 5 years and $50 million).

The consensus opinion after the first day of the most anticipated free agency period in league history is that rampant overspending is to be the norm, so the Raptors are certainly not alone in their dread. If Darko Milicic, who has averaged five points and four rebounds in 17 minutes per game for his career and was seriously contemplating moving back to Europe (always something of a buyer beware situation), can get a four-year, $20 million contract to play in sunny Minnesota, Johnson’s contract would seem right in line. The problem with that logic, however, is that such rampant league-wide spending is never an excuse for fiscal irresponsibility which can cripple an organization for the better part of a decade, particularly one that is already at the decided disadvantage of being located in another country and desperately trying to recruit citizens of the United States. Read more…

Categories: Commentary Tags: ,

Bosh Scenario to Miami Apparently Premature

July 1st, 2010 5 comments

The first step of Pat Riley’s mater rebuilding plan is apparently not as complete as initially reported.

On Wednesday, Miami Herald radio host and ESPN contributor Dan LeBatard reported that the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors had an agreement in place in which the Heat would acquire the services of forward Chris Bosh. Under the terms of the agreement, the Raptors were said to have agreed to a sign-and-trade of Bosh to the Heat, in exchange for Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony.

But multiple league sources have now disputed any such deal exists. In fact, a high-level Raptors source has suggested the team has no interest in Beasley or Chalmers. Toronto would, however, consider a $16.6 million trade exception (which would be produced if the Raptors were to trade Bosh for nobody in return) and the return of its first-round pick from Miami in the 2009 Jermaine O’Neal trade. Read more…

Categories: Commentary Tags: