The Miami Heat are reportedly prepared to pursue the top free agents in the 2014 offseason, even as their own players are said to be the targets of several NBA teams.
Miami currently pays over $80 million in salary costs as well as the luxury-tax fine, which the league imposes on teams that cross their mandated maximum-salary threshold. The Heat recently released Mike Miller as part of the amnesty clause and there is a possibility that every player on the their roster will be a free agent at the end of next season, according to ESPN.
Miami's "big three" of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh are all expected to opt out of their contracts after the 2013-2014 contract. Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, Ray Allen, James Jones and Rashard Lewis all are headed into the final year of their contracts. Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony and Chris Andersen all have player options, while Norris Cole has a team option.
"When 2014 hits, we'll be ready to deal with that," Heat President Pat Riley said after the season. "We're just going to keep everything very fluid ... we'll be prepared for anything, as we were in 2010."
"Anything" could mean allowing Bosh, or the often-injured Dwayne Wade, to walk and luring perennial all-stars such as the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, Grizzlies' Zach Randolph, Lakers' Pau Gasol and the Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving, all of whom will be up for grabs in 2014.
The Heat are expected to do everything in their power to keep James but will have competition from the Lakers, who are primed to land a big name after losing Dwight Howard, as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers -- James' former team.
Riley dismissed rivals' rumored attempts to chase James or challenged the Heat in signing star free agents because he's confident in how the franchise has positioned itself in the short- and long-term.
"What one other team does, I think it doesn't have any bearing on what we're thinking about," Riley said. "We're a three-time finalist. We won back-to-back championships. We've got our entire core back, signed, opted-in, and we're tickled to death with that."