SU­PER­STARS BE­ING LINKED

The Kansas City Star (Sunday) - - DAILY DEUCE -

Imag­ine NBA su­per­stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the same team, per­haps even coached by Pat Ri­ley.

And, no, we’re not talk­ing about a fan­tasy league. Spec­u­la­tion in­ten­si­fied Tues­day that it was a pos­si­bil­ity with the Mi­ami Heat.

All three play­ers plan to opt out of the fi­nal year of the re­spec­tive con­tracts and en­ter free-agency. Bosh, com­ing off his most pro­duc­tive sea­son in Toronto, is con­sid­ered the most likely to leave his cur­rent team for a new lo­ca­tion.

Re­ports in­di­cate that Wade not only has ad­dressed the pos­si­bil­ity of play­ing along­side James and Bosh with Mi­ami, but he also has dis­cussed the fi­nan­cial ma­neu­ver­ings it would take to make it hap­pen. Teams can ne­go­ti­ate with free agents start­ing at 12:01 a.m. Thurs­day, but play­ers are not al­lowed to sign con­tracts un­til July 8.

“I don’t look at it as re­cruit­ing,” Wade said. “I look at it as gaug­ing, con­ver­sa­tion be­tween guys to see what they like.”

ESPN re­ported that the three met last week­end in

❙Com­plete list of NBA free agents south Florida. That could be con­sid­ered tam­per­ing, so it was no sur­prise when agent Henry Thomas, who rep­re­sents Wade and Bosh, de­nied Tues­day that it hap­pened.

Un­like other teams with cap space, Mi­ami can of­fer the likes of James and Bosh the chance to play with a for­mer NBA fi­nals MVP, as­sum­ing Wade sticks around. And then there’s the lure of Ri­ley, who even though he’s re­tired from coach­ing — at least for now — still serves as the team’s pres­i­dent and has an ex­alted rep­u­ta­tion among many play­ers.

The Heat ap­pears to be in po­si­tion to of­fer Wade, James and Bosh each a start­ing salary of about $15 mil­lion. Mi­ami is the only team in the league that could split that much money among three free agents.

To make it hap­pen, the Heat prob­a­bly would have to un­load the $4.96 mil­lion salary due this sea­son to for­mer Kansas State star Michael Beasley. | Star News Ser­vices

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