The King wants to be paid like one. And his teammates appear to be just fine with that.
Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade all opted out of their contracts yesterday leaving Pat Riley’s massive plan to reconfigure and revamp the Miami Heat’s roster one step closer to its goal. Everyone has sources these days – isn’t that right, Ric Bucher? – but the seemingly ever reliable Adrian Wojnarowski reported Miami remains LeBron’s first priority, as he has yet to schedule meetings with other teams. He also wants to see improvements made to Miami’s roster. But, yes, James is looking for the max deal (or somewhere close to it), which would center around the neighborhood of five years and $130M.
Supposedly, his teammates are willing to restructure their contracts to do so, too. For one, it’s understandable why LeBron is seeking the max. He led the Heat in points, rebounds, assists, steals, field goals made and attempted, field goal percentage and minutes this past season. Last year, James opened up about being – at the time – only the ninth highest paid player in the league. “I don’t get (credit) for it. That doesn’t matter to me; playing the game is what matters to me,” he told ESPN. “If you want the truth, if this was baseball, (my salary would) be up. I mean way up there.”
Of equal importance, pending these stories are true, having teammates willing to take less money is blessing in itself. The Heat have a record $55M in open cap space.
Elsewhere, Jason Kidd looks to be leaving Brooklyn for Milwaukee.
The weirdest news to emerge yesterday had nothing to do with Miami. In fact, the news first emerged on a RealGM message board of all places from a user named Carl2680 (who may or may not be TJ Kidd). Per reports, the first-year coach had a “why not me?” moment. Under Kidd’s watch, the Nets had a successful 2013-2014 season. So, naturally, Jason waltzed to Brooklyn management the hopes of receiving a promotion along the lines having personnel control, or the “Doc and Pop role.”
Allegedly, this rubbed Nets executives the wrong way something terrible and the Bucks were given clearance to speak with Kidd. Five things about this.
1. What really got the ball rolling here for Jason are the deals fellow former point guards and current rookie head coaches Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher received in Golden State and New York, respectively.
2. Per NetsDaily, “One of the final straws for Nets ownership came around the trade deadline. Kidd advocated for a trade with the Bucks that would sent Brook Lopez and Mirza Teletovic to Milwaukee for the deeply troubled Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova. The suggestion, mostly about Kidd’s belief that Lopez couldn’t fit in his system, was considered and rejected by the Nets brass.”
3. Lionel Hollins and his impeccable array of Steve Harvey threads is currently seen as a “very serious candidate” to wind up in Biggie’s hometown if Kidd does, indeed, bolt to the Midwest.
4. From the bright lights of Brooklyn to the “beer capital of the world” in Milwaukee isn’t exactly the everyday transition. If anything, it’s the other way around. Don’t underestimate the fact Kidd has deep, close ties with the Bucks new management, however. This includes co-owner Marc Larsy, a former Nets minority owner and former financial advisor to the 2011 NBA Champion.
5. Want to know why I’m really worried about Jason?
As for U-Turn back to Nets? Likely too late. "Russians are done with Kidd," one source tells Yahoo. Belief is that King is more forgiving.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 29, 2014
That’s why. The last thing anyone needs in their life is a pissed off Russian with deep pockets.