And Riles said any notion of a major free agent, like Carmelo Anthony, joining the Big Three in Miami is a long shot. Riley was asked about the speculation surrounding the Heat that they can add a fourth star via free agency should LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh opt out and take drastic pay cuts.
"That's a pipe dream," Riley told reporters, without mentioning the name of a potentially targeted player according to ESPN’s Michael Wallace. "But everyone thought 2010 was a pipe dream. That's not where we're headed."
Of course, Riley’s reference to 2010 was when he was able to lure James to South Beach. Riley may have labeled a scenario in which the Heat can land a big-time free agent like Anthony as a “pipe dream.” But Riley can never be underestimated.
Riley always has a plan, and is incredibly persuasive. Wallace points out that should the Heat's top players opt out, Miami could potentially “have at least $51 million in salary-cap space to retool the roster and possibly add quality free agents alongside James, Wade and Bosh.”
Anthony is expected to opt out of his contract and can sign a max deal for $129 million over five years with the Knicks. But as our Ian Begley points out, Anthony might have to sign a deal with a starting salary of $13.8 million if he were to go to Miami if James, Bosh and Wade split the amount evenly to be able to sign Anthony. In that case, Anthony’s four-year deal would be worth $58.8 million in total.
Anthony is close with James. But it certainly appears he will have to give up a lot of money to play alongside LeBron. The bottom line will be just how much does Anthony want to win a championship and how soon? And where does he feel he has the best chance to do that? New York? Miami? Chicago? Houston?
Riley said he did not anticipate presenting a plan that would entail the Big Three taking sizable pay cuts if they opt out. But Riley said he would be open to ideas that they have to improve the Heat and make another title run.
Riley believes the Heat's core is still enough to remain a contender with tweaks perhaps to the supporting cast.
"It's not about options. It's not about free agency," Riley said. "It's about what we've done over four years. It's about looking around the room now and seeing who is going to stand up. Those four years we've had with LeBron, we're hoping to turn them into eight or 10. We're not walking around on eggshells anymore."
"How can we keep the guys together?" Riley added. "We're prepared. We've got the main thing all written up. Whatever it takes to keep them together, we're ready for. Let's stay here and try to keep this thing going."
So what do you guys think? Do you believe Riley's “pipe dream” assertion or are you nervous about Miami luring Melo to South Beach?