The last time LeBron James left a team, it won 42 fewer games the following season.
I think the Heat will do better than 12-70, but they’re facing a new reality. Even with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh softening the blow, losing LeBron will hurt. Badly.
Just how much it stings will determine whether Pat Riley continues with this path or shakes things up in Miami.
Wade – who calls himself a “#HeatLifer” – is protected against getting shook in such a shakeup.
In addition to Carmelo Anthony, Wade joins Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki with no-trade clauses.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
By rule, Wade has the ability to approve any trade next season, because he’s on a one-year contract (the player option season doesn’t count until exercised), he’d have full Bird rights after the season and would lose them as a result of the trade. If he approves a trade, he’d have non-Bird rights, and his new team could exceed the cap to re-sign him up to $18 million and could provide just 4.5 raises (as opposed to the maximum salary and 7.5 raises via full Bird rights if he remains with the Heat).
Wade’s no-trade clause becomes particularly useful if he opts in, because he signed just a two-year contract. If he’s traded, he’d have early Bird rights with his new team as opposed to full Bird rights with the Heat. Unless the 2016-17 cap skyrockets north of $86 million – an extreme projection for even those most optimistic about the effect of a new TV deal – having early Bird as opposed to full Bird rights won’t affect Wade’s starting salary that season, but it would prevent him from getting more than 4.5 percent raises.
I don’t think Riley will trade Wade, who’s been the face of the Heat – with couple-season break when he ceded the crown to LeBron – since people realized the shooting guard was carrying Shaquille O’Neal and not the other way around.
But, just in case, Wade has a little security – both financial and his in his ability to remain comfortable in Miami.