Dwyane Wade(notes) and Chris Bosh(notes) have decided to sign with the Miami Heat while continuing to recruit LeBron James(notes) to help them form an All-Star triumvirate that threatens to shift the NBA’s balance of power, two sources with knowledge of the plans told Yahoo! Sports.
“They think they’ve got a real chance to pull this off with LeBron,” a league source said.
Said an official with one team that made a formal presentation to James: "It's down to Cleveland or Miami for him."
Still, other league executives weren't yet ready to rule out the Knicks.
The three players shared a call after midnight on Wednesday, when Wade and Bosh told James they were committing to the Heat, a source said. James didn’t commit with them, but kept his own plans private for a television announcement on Thursday night. Wade and Bosh formally announced their decision on Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m so glad it’s over,” Wade said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I had to do what was best for me. And I know I did that.”
Wade and Bosh decided they needed to make a commitment to give them the best possible chance of luring more talent – including James – with the additional salary-cap space in Miami.
Had James been able to convince Bosh to come to Cleveland in a sign-and-trade, sources said Wade had decided he would leave Miami for the Chicago Bulls.
Only now, the Heat need to dump more salary – namely, Michael Beasley – to get more space to sign James. If Wade takes a max deal, his salary will start at $16.5 million next season – which leaves just under $30 million under the cap for Bosh and James. The Heat would look to move Beasley’s $4.9 million to a team with cap space to create more room.
If James doesn’t come, the Heat are targeting free agent Mike Miller to take part of the third salary slot with Wade and Bosh. Wade has been personally pushing Miller to Heat president Pat Riley, sources said. Miller has Miami at the top of his list, sources close to him said. New York, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers are also among his most aggressive pursuers.
With Bosh and Wade committed, the Chicago Bulls moved quickly to reach agreement on a five-year, $80 million contract with Carlos Boozer. The New Jersey Nets were also in talks with Boozer and may now try to sign David Lee.
ESPN first reported Wade and Bosh’s plans.