MIAMI — A source close to Miami Heat free-agent guard Dwyane Wade has confirmed that in recent days Wade not only has addressed the possibility of playing alongside Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh, but has discussed the financial machinations.
The Sun Sentinel has learned that the three star free agents have gone as far as to acknowledge that it might not be possible for the Heat to clear the needed space to start each of the three at the $16.6 million maximum salary that they would be eligible for in the first year of new contracts.
According to the source, the three have agreed to consider to "split the money up," if need be.
However, an ESPN report of the three stars meeting this past weekend in South Florida has been widely disputed, with agent Henry Thomas, who represents both Wade and Bosh, saying that Wade was not in South Florida this past weekend.
"Dwyane was not in Miami this weekend," Thomas said. "That is untrue."
As for a possible meeting last week at a players' union meeting in Las Vegas, of the three, only Wade attended those sessions.
"I said when it first broke about that, that the guys would undoubtedly talk with each other, which they have. That's not a surprise to anyone," Thomas said. "But this meeting this weekend in Miami just did not take place. Dwyane was not in Miami this weekend."
By unloading the $4.96 million 2010-11 salary on the contract of forward Michael Beasley, as well as potentially minimizing the cap hit of the buyout of forward James Jones, the Heat would be on the cusp of being able to extend maximum offers to Wade, James and Bosh.
With Cleveland not appearing receptive to working with James on a sign-and-trade transaction, it would limit the forward to a five-year contract, should he sign outright with the Heat. Wade, by re-signing with his own team, could receive a six-year contract instead. Bosh, however, is seeking such a six-year package.
Bosh could be accommodated in such a scenario by the Heat either sending Beasley to the Raptors or including him in a multiple-team trade that involves Toronto. The Heat also could send draft picks to Toronto, including the Raptors' future first-round pick the Heat currently holds, as a means of Bosh receiving his maximum contract length.
According to the source, a strong sense that the three might play together next season in South Florida came together only in recent days, although it had been discussed previously by the three.