Blog Entry

Heat take small step toward Big Three (UPDATE)

Posted on: June 29, 2010 3:20 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2010 6:55 pm

The Heat picked up $356,000 in additional cap space Tuesday by agreeing to a buyout with James Jones, but the only move that would give them a clear, uncomplicated path to fitting max free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh under the cap with Dwyane Wade -- trading Michael Beasley -- is proving to be the most difficult task of the NBA offseason.

The buyout with Jones, which according to a person familiar with it will be official by Wednesday, means his contract will count only $1.5 million on Miami's cap -- a $356,000 savings on the $1.856 million that had been guaranteed. Jones' full salary had been $4.65 million, but most cap experts already were figuring only the guaranteed amount in Miami's obligations. The buyout was first reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel .

But the real key to orchestrating three-max coup when the negotiating period begins Thursday at 12:01 a.m. is removing Beasley, a former No. 2 overall pick, and his $4.9 million contract from Miami's books. Those efforts have fallen on deaf ears among the few teams left with cap space that have displayed a willingness to absorb contracts.

"They literally can't give him away right now," a person with knowledge of the Beasley dilemma told "No one is going to take that money on their cap."

According to the person familiar with the situation, the Nets turned down Miami's offer of Beasley for Keyon Dooling's $500,000 non-guaranteed contract. (For obvious reasons. The Nets are trying to clear space for two max free agents, as well, and in fact dumped Yi Jianlian on the Wizards Tuesday to save $3 million.) Minnesota also turned down the Heat's offer of Beasley for Ryan Gomes, the person said.

If the Heat are unable to dump Beasley by July 8, the first day free-agent contracts can be signed and trades approved, they'll have to get creative in trying to pull off the LeBron-Wade-Bosh trifecta they're believed to be working on. Short of pure cap space for re-signing Wade and signign the other two, someone would have to agree to a sign-and-trade (smaller raises and one less year) or take less than the max, which starts at $16.6 million next season.

Meanwhile, speculation and conflicting reports continue to swirl about whether a free-agent summut occurred in Miami this past weekend involving James, Wade and Bosh. A person with direct knowledge of the players' offseason plans told that the trio -- who are friends and are represented by the same agency, CAA -- have spoken with each other about their offseason strategy since their respective seasons ended. However, the person said there was no meeting in Miami this past weekend. Wade was in Chicago Saturday to conduct business meetings and take his children to the Cubs-White Sox game before flying to an undisclosed location -- not Miami -- on Sunday. Gossip reports in New York placed James on the social scene in Manhattan over the weekend, including a post-draft party at pal Jay-Z's 40/40 Club and a 40th birthday party for marketing maven Steve Stoute at Rockefeller Center.

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