Howard Beck: ‘Heat Need Big 3 To Opt Out For Melo’

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MIAMI, FL - APRIL 6: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat defends Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks as he calls for the ball during a game on April 6, 2014 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony (Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Miami Heat are gunning for a third consecutive NBA title, but that potentially historic achievement has suddenly taken a back seat to this offseason’s impending free agency.

According to reports, the Heat intend to make a serious push to acquire Carmelo Anthony while also keeping LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

Is this even plausible? And if it is, is it something Anthony would do?

“I don’t think there’s anything definitive on either of those things,” Bleacher Report NBA columnist Howard Beck said on The John Feinstein Show. “I mean, yes, there are discussions going on, and there are things being floated – not just publicly, but there have been murmurings about this for awhile – that yes, Carmelo would love to play with LeBron, (and) LeBron would love to play with Carmelo. Is there a possibility of doing it in Miami? Could it happen? Those are things that are being discussed (between) players and camps.”

“But when it comes to the team, the Heat don’t have full control over this,” Beck continued. “In fact, the Heat have almost no control over this at the outset because they don’t have cap space until – or unless – the Big Three all opt out. If all three of them opt out, okay, they’ve got cap room. And if everybody wants to reshuffle the money around and take massive pay cuts and fit a fourth guy in – or maybe Bosh walks aways and Carmelo becomes the third guy – there are ways it can plausibly happen. Whether it’s a Big Three or a Big Four, whether that actually will happen and how difficult it is – those are different questions.”

But even the Heat find a way to do this, should they want to?

“Look, one of the weaknesses the Heat have in this series right now (against San Antonio) is the surrounding cast has really eroded badly over the course of the last few years,” Beck said. “Okay, fine, maybe you’ll have four stars instead of three. I still don’t think that makes up for the fact that you need rebounders and defenders and three-point shooters. You can only (fool) around with a bunch of minimum guys for so long. Eventually, it does catch up with you.”

And if you think the Heat are better off signing Anthony and letting Bosh walk, slow down.

“Bosh is still, I think, a pretty key player in this team being a championship contender,” Beck said. “It’s Wade who’s the concern because of the knee and his production drop-off. LeBron has to carry too much. And so the attraction of Carmelo would be, hey, here’s a guy who can throw up 25 points a night and that would take a lot of the pressure off of LeBron. It would fill in where Wade used to.”

“But I don’t think Wade’s going anywhere,” Beck continued. “I think you still need a big man like Bosh. Carmelo Anthony can play as a power forward, but he doesn’t have Bosh’s height (6-11 versus 6-8), and he certainly doesn’t have his defensive instincts. It’s tricky.”

But if Anthony signs with the Heat – and thus, takes far less money – it’ll be extremely telling. After all, this is a guy who wanted to be the man in Denver and then forced a trade to become the man in New York – even though the Knicks had to give up extremely valuable assets to get him.

“It seems he’s considering (being) a third banana somewhere to make a run at a title, which is understandable,” Beck said. “He just turned 30, and wherever he signs his next contract, that’s it. That next contract is probably four or five years. That’s pretty much the last contract he’s signing as an elite player.”

“He has to decide what’s most important: the money (or) contending for titles. These are the decisions he has to make on July 1. I think that’s what he’s weighing right now: not only where he can maximize money – because that part’s obvious – but where can he actually maximize his opportunity to win? Can he even do that in New York? Does he believe he can do it in New York? Or does he need to find better help himself as he saw LeBron do four years ago?”


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