You knew this was coming, but that won’t make it any easier for Celtics fans to stomach.
Multiple league sources told ESPN.com Heat Index reporter Brian Windhorst that there is mutual interest between Celtics free agent Ray Allen and the Heat.
Even if there is that “mutual interest,” could the Heat afford to add Allen, who made $10 million last season?
The most the Heat can offer (Allen) is a contract starting at $3 million per year, which is known as the taxpayer’s midlevel. Allen could get more money elsewhere, but the Heat offer an attractive portfolio that goes deeper than cash.
But before you consider how Allen might look in a Heat uniform, take a moment to get a more well-rounded view of the situation.
A big issue is just how much money is the team is willing to send to its competitors in luxury-tax payouts to add Allen or any other free agent. It is a championship team as is, and its payroll is ballooning even without adding players.
The Heat are one of the teams that will test the mechanics of the new collective bargaining agreement, which places a heavy burden on the big spenders in an effort to control competitive balance. This season the Heat will write a check for about $7 million in luxury tax. They are in position to have the third-highest payroll in the league next year at nearly $80 million, and that’s before signing a free agent. That will cost them $10 million in tax in 2013, and they will have to pay millions more in revenue sharing that also will go to their rivals, including the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the '13-14 season, when the new enhanced tax takes effect and the Heat already have in excess of $80 million committed, they are looking at a potential luxury-tax bill between $15-20 million. And just to repeat: That’s without signing any free agents this summer or next summer.