SBD/April 22, 2013/Franchises

Heat Execs Already Talking About Ways To Keep Big Three Together Amid Luxury Taxes

Wade, Bosh and James can all opt out of their contracts following the '13-14 season
As the Heat begin their attempt to win a second consecutive NBA title, team President Pat Riley acknowledged that he, Owner Micky Arison, CEO Nick Arison and Senior VP & Assistant GM Andy Elisburg "have already had talks about how Miami can keep the core of this team together for years to come," according to Tim Reynolds of the AP. Heat F LeBron James, G Dwyane Wade and C Chris Bosh can all opt out of their contracts following the '13-14 season. Riley said of keeping all three together, "It's doable in this tax economy, but I'm going to leave that to Micky. We've already had conversations, internal conversations about it, Nick and Andy and myself and Micky. That will all be tackled after the season. We'll start talking about that. But it is doable." Reynolds noted the Heat may be "facing some significant luxury-tax bills in the coming years," which will be "one of many factors that go into the shaping of the roster for 2014-15 and beyond." Riley said that he wanted to "build a dynasty when the Heat structured their finances in such a way to allow maximum flexibility -- and maximum spending -- when James, Bosh and Wade hit the market together in 2010." Given the "financial realities" that are associated with the current CBA, especially the "more punitive luxury tax for big-spending teams, few might think that the Heat will be able to retain all three." Riley: "There's going to have to be some strategic planning, not only from that standpoint but personnel-wise over the next couple years to deal with it" (AP, 4/20). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde wrote it would be "stunning" if Micky Arison "allows this team to break up." He "no doubt has a plan in place already to keep it together." The Heat are "a marketing machine right now," and the question is if they "can fully unlock the financial rewards of that and lessen what will be a punitive luxury tax in 2014" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 4/21).

KNOW YOUR ROLE: ESPN’s J.A. Adande noted the "only thing that can keep them from being a dynasty is the new collective bargaining agreement, which will limit their ability to bring in" quality role players for the salary exemption. Adande: "Those won’t be at their disposal because they’ll be a tax-paying team” (“NBA Tonight,” ESPN2, 4/20).
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