Heat stars sign six-year deals
The Heat's two newest superstars signed matching six-year, $110.1 million contracts, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher. Dwyane Wade took an even bigger discount to stay in Miami, signing for six years and $107.5 million, according to the sources.
Sources told ESPN.com's Chad Ford that James and Bosh are scheduled to make $14.5 million and Wade $14 million in 2010-11.
Each player took $15 million less over the life of the contract to sign with Miami, but the deals came with a caveat.
All three contracts, sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein, have an early termination option after the fourth season that would allow LeBron, Bosh and Wade to return to free agency in the summer of 2014. Each player also possesses a player option entering the final season of the contract (2015-16).
Bosh and James' deals were completed through sign-and-trades, making all three eligible for 10.5 percent raises each year.
The Heat sent two future first-round and two second-round picks to the Cavaliers for James, while packaging two first-round picks to the Raptors for Bosh.
Sources told ESPN that Toronto reacquired its first-round selection in 2011, which Miami had from a 2009 trade that sent Shawn Marion to the Raptors, and added the Heat's own first rounder in 2011.
Miami then sent its first-round picks in 2013 and 2015 to the Cavaliers and Cleveland has the option to swap first-round picks in 2012.
Both the Raptors and the Cavs will receive trade exceptions valued at $14.5 million, sources told ESPN.com.
"This deal provides us with multiple key assets and additional flexibility as we move forward for both the short term and beyond," Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant said in a release.
With all three superstars wrapped up, it was time for the Heat and their fans to celebrate and they greeted the NBA's newest superstar trio in a fashion normally reserved for rock concerts and award shows.
James, Wade and Bosh all arrived in white Heat uniforms accompanied by plumes of smoke, lifted into the air on a forklift for their grand arrival.
"I understand now that I've made the right decision," James said.
A packed arena, plus another 10,000 or so outside the building, couldn't have been more thrilled to hear James say those words. As they cheered their new king, he took a look at his new home crowd, folded his arms across his chest after he and his teammates were dropped from the sky on a forklift, and nodded.
"We know what the fans want," James said.
In case there was some question, they told him: Yes, a "Beat L.A." chant broke out in July, call it an opening salvo aimed at the two-time defending champion Lakers.
I knew this was going to evolve a while ago. We knew a long time ago.” -- Miami executive Alonzo Mourning on Heat signing superstar trio
Great fanfare. Great expectations.
"It's still surreal, man," Wade said. "Me, Chris and 'Bron. We ready. We want to go to the gym now."
Wade was in the middle as the trio was lifted skyward for the entrance -- Bosh on his right, James on his left. Bosh pointed to the fans and screamed, while Wade aimed his index fingers at the crowd and James strutted about to the fans' delight.
They walked down the stairs to a long runway, slapping high-fives with fans, clapping their hands and soaking in the atmosphere.
"We wanted to come here, then LeBron wanted to come," Bosh said. "Let's get it done, man. Let's get this thing going."
Heat president Pat Riley -- the mastermind of the deals -- and coach Erik Spoelstra sat in the stands, as did owner Micky Arison, all of them beaming.
Next up for the Miami braintrust: Filling out the roster.
By dealing off Michael Beasley late Thursday night, Riley created an extra $5 million in cap space, sources told ESPN.com.
Sharpshooting swingman Mike Miller has reportedly agreed to a five-year, $30 million deal with Miami, according to multiple media outlets and Wade has made it clear he wants the Heat to retain Udonis Haslem.
"Udonis has been a part of this with me for seven years," Wade said. "We want Udonis back and we're going to do everything we can to make sure Udonis stays home."
Riley called the situations with Miller and Haslem "fluid" but hopes to have both worked out in the coming days.
"There are plans to bring in other players and we're very aggressive with that," Riley said. "There is nothing that has been completed."
Riley, who has a meeting scheduled with Lakers point guard Derek Fisher, was reticent, but confident.
"I have a very, very good feeling we'll be able to do something," Riley said.
But for the moment, it was about the players who are in Miami, and they plan on staying for quite a while.
"We here now," James said. "And we're here for a long time."
"All three of these gentlemen up here are going to be here for a long time," Riley continued, "and they're going to be here for a long time for us to enjoy, thoroughly enjoy."
The last 24 hours, though, were not ones James could enjoy.
He said he anguished over the decision to leave Cleveland, which sparked a level of outrage he didn't even expect. Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert called James' choice "cowardly betrayal" and issued this statement: "I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE."
"I feel great now," James said. "The fans and this organization have put me back in a family-oriented place."
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At the rally, which was announced Friday afternoon and people still snatched up all 13,000 available seats in an hour, fans were given posters with James, Wade and Bosh together in Heat uniforms -- "Yes. We. Did." was the slogan in big white letters.
If Riley gets his way, the party will be the first of many for the NBA's newest star cluster -- a grouping everyone, even Wade, is still getting used to.
"When I look around and see No. 6 and No. 1 on the court with me, that's when it's going to see real," he said.
James will wear No. 6 in Miami, Bosh No. 1, both having switched their numbers. Wade considered swapping his No. 3 as well.
"Then I realized, three is magical, and now it represents more than just my number," Wade said. "It represents the three of us making sacrifices as well."
Wade and Bosh decided Tuesday that they would play together in Miami, releasing that information to the world on Wednesday. With that, it was all up to James, who said he decided Thursday morning -- hours before his made-for-TV announcement special that night -- that he'd join the Heat and form a power triple.
James touched down Friday morning, took his physical, and then arrived for the party.
Turns out, some members of the Heat family had more than an inkling that James was coming long before the show.
"I knew this was going to evolve a while ago," Heat executive Alonzo Mourning said Friday. "We knew a long time ago. We did our due diligence on our recruiting trip, and we had a good feeling about this. When we came back, we knew that it pretty much was going to evolve in our favor."
Expectations couldn't be higher, and James, Wade and Bosh all accepted the challenge.
"Bring it on. We'll accept it," Wade said. "At the end of the day we know what's important. And what's important is winning ballgames and winning championships. So once you do that, winner take all."
On Friday in Miami, the scene was sheer bliss.
James' jerseys weren't even going on hangers inside the Miami team store; for the most part, they were getting sold as soon as they could be taken out of the box. A line of fans snaked around the arena on a steamy morning just to put their names on a waiting list for tickets. The switchboard at AmericanAirlines Arena was overwhelmed for much of the day, and the seats for the welcoming bash were made available online at 4 p.m. -- and were gone in an hour.
"The road to history," James wrote early Friday on Twitter, "starts now."
ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher, ESPN.com's Chad Ford and Marc Stein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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