Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) and Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) react in the second half of a game against the Toronto Raptors at American Airlines Arena. (USA TODAY Sports: Robert Mayer)
Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James will meet to discuss their collective future as the core of the Miami Heat.
Wade, in his 11th season with the franchise that drafted him in the first round out of Marquette, continues to be slowed by injuries but is owed $42 million for the next two seasons. He said the Heat will focus on the task at hand — a bid to three-peat in what would be a fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance — before sitting down as a trio to talk about what’s next.
“I’m at a position where I don’t really have to worry about it,” Wade told ESPN. “I’ve been with the same organization for now 11 years. We’ve won multiple championships, so it’s no reason where I need to think about that yet. I’m not at a point where we are a bad team and I need to think about the future so right now I’m really focused on just enjoying this team, enjoying our quest to try to ‘Three-peat.’ And when the season is over, and whatever happens, then I will sit down and I will sit down with Chris and I will sit down with Bron and I will sit down and make the best decision for myself and my family.”
Wade could follow the path of aging stars such as Tim Duncan, who opted out of his contract with the San Antonio Spurs with the intent of lowering his annual salary, affording the franchise the cashflow to sign other players and keep together that team’s version of the Big Three — Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Duncan.
Duncan took a three-year, $30 million deal in 2012 — cutting his own salary by more than half — a team-friendly approach that isn’t for everyone. Kobe Bryant took the opposite tact, signing for two years, $48.5 million in November.
James, who along with Bosh joined Miami in July 2010, did not receive a maximum contract but is in the running for his fifth Most Valuable Player award. He said there is an appeal to being a free agent.
James turns 30 in December and the 2003 No. 1 overall pick and will be well over the 1,000 games played mark when Miami’s playoff run ends. By comparison, Bryant has played 1,465 career games, including postseason. While James is impeccable conditioned, if he signs a five-year deal in July after opting out of his current deal, it could well be his last foray into free agency with maximum contract potential.
Wade, who helped orchestrate the union of the Big Three four years ago, took a pay cut in 2010 to help the Heat afford his sidekicks.
“As players, you only have so much time and you only have so many moments where you have the ability to control your own fate, so it’s not a bad thing at all if that’s what someone is thinking,” he said. “I haven’t had that conversation with Chris. I haven’t had that conversation with Bron.”