Two of the Miami Heat’s top free agent targets are now spoken for and Heat president Pat Riley’s options to surround his “Big 3” with talent are now dwindling. The Washington Wizards locked in Polish big man Marcin Gortat to a five-year, $60 million deal. Kyle Lowry has agreed to a 4-year, $48 million contract with the Toronto Raptors. Either player would have provided solid impact in positions Miami desperately needed improvement in and they are now off the table.
The Lakers’ Spanish forward-center Pau Gasol would be a great addition to the club, but the Oklahoma City Thunder are making a strong push bring him in. Gasol could also re-sign with the Lakers if they end up signing Carmelo Anthony.
Another issue that Riley will have to juggle is the combined contracts that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will be seeking. Initially, it was expected that the trio would take less money in order to give him more wiggle room with which to improve the Heat’s roster and make it championship-worthy once again. News has surfaced that James wants a maximum deal and Bosh wants a big contract. If true, Pat Riley will have to work with gathering veterans who will play for the minimum salary, leaving talents like British forward Luol Deng as unlikely options.
Despite the difficulties that Riley is facing at this time, he is still one of the best front office men in the business today. He did, after all, manage to bring those three players together and win two NBA championships for his team.