This week is a busy one for the Miami Heat. The Heat head into free agency at midnight tonight with an NBA record $55 million dollars in salary cap room.
That space is largely created by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and also Udonis Haslem opting out of their contracts. James, Wade, and Bosh each left two years and over $42 million dollars on the table to become free agents.
Miami sports entertainment lawyer and founder of Heitner Legal, Darren Heitner, says the reasons behind these decisions will soon be revealed.
"We'll actually discover what the motivation is behind the Big 3 opting out of their contracts," says Heitner. "Is it because they want to look elsewhere to see what options there are with other teams or have they all discussed their plans to stay in Miami, take a pay cut, and provide more dollars to the team to add free agents."
The last week has been filled with reports of meetings between the Heat stars, team president Pat Riley, and other decision makers. James, Wade, and Bosh could all sign longer deals, but the amount of cash they take will ultimately decide what type of players the Heat can attract.
In his career spanning 11 seasons, James has never been the highest paid player on his team. Still, an ever expanding business portfolio has kept him among the world's highest-paid athletes.
Heitner believes it would make basketball and business sense for the Big 3 to play for a little less and stick together.
"If they come together and win more championships it will only open up more doors off the court for big time endorsements and the potential to supplement their salaries with the NBA," says Heitner.
Ultimately, the blueprint of what the Heat pulled off in 2010 will be a guiding force through this process. Heitner says Riley's experience pulling off the improbable is key.
"I don't put anything past Pat Riley," says Heitner. "He is a genius, he is a mastermind. He did it the first time when it required players taking a pay cut to play together."
Andy Lyons / 2014 Getty Images