(CBS) Even as they’re in the midst of the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat have an eye on the future.
Heat executives and their star players are discussing how they could create the financial flexibility to make a serious run at Carmelo Anthony in free agency this summer, ESPN.com reported. Anthony has an early termination option on his contract with the Knicks, and he’s previously said he intends to opt out and test the open market.
If so, the Heat are interested in adding him to their Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Those three all have early termination options as well, and if they opt out, they could sign new contracts at lower salaries, giving Miami the money to make a run at Anthony.
The Heat can’t make formal contact with Anthony until July 1, when teams can begin negotiating with free agents. Reports indicated the Knicks have told Anthony they want a decision from him on whether to opt in or out of his contract by June 23.
With cooperation from their stars and role players Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen, who also possess player options for next season, the Heat could open up in excess of $50 million in cap space this summer and have the most financial flexibility in the league. The only Heat player locked into place for next season is Norris Cole at a salary of $2 million, although (Pat) Riley will have to contend with a handful of cap holds for pending free agents as well as their upcoming first-round pick (No. 26 overall) in the draft later this month.
The Bulls and Rockets are expected to be suitors for Anthony as well if he opts out of his final year with the Knicks.