ORLANDO, Fla. -- WKMG Local 6 Sports Director David Pingalore has learned that two-time NBA MVP LeBron James and Toronto Raptors star forward Chris Bosh are seriously contemplating joining Dwyane Wade to play for the Miami Heat next season, according to an NBA source close to the discussions.
James, Wade and Bosh all become unrestricted free agents on July 1, the date that teams can begin courting free agents. Free agents aren't allowed to officially sign with NBA teams until July 8, but handshake deals are expected to be reached soon after July 1.
James, Wade and Bosh all made $15.7 million this past season. And even though they are eligible for drastic pay raises to maximum allowable money, all three might have to take pay cuts to play together in South Florida.
James, considered the top NBA free agent in years, can sign a six-year contract worth $126 million if he returns to Cleveland. If he leaves for another team, he can only sign a five-year deal worth $96.2 million.
If James and Bosh leave their teams and join Wade in Miami, it would likely dramatically shift the balance of power in the Eastern Conference. That trio in Miami would give the Heat easily the most star-studded roster in the Eastern Conference.
The scenario would also threaten the Orlando Magic's stranglehold on the Southeast Division. The Orlando Magic have won the last three division titles, easily outdistancing the Atlanta Hawks and Heat.
Wade led the Heat to the 2005 NBA title, but Miami hasn't been a serious contender in the years since -- much to the superstar shooting guard's frustration. Wade, who has finished in the top five in the MVP voting each of the past two seasons, has made it clear that he only plans to return to the Heat if Miami drastically upgrades the talent around him.
James, the league's MVP the past two seasons, led the Cavs to 66 and 61 wins the past two years, but Cleveland was knocked out of the playoffs short of the NBA Finals each time. The Magic beat top-seeded Cleveland in 2009, while Boston beat the Cavs in the second round of the playoffs last month.
Bosh has made the playoffs just twice in seven years in Toronto. He is considered one of the NBA's best all-around power forwards, ranking ninth in the NBA in scoring (24.0) and fifth in rebounding (10.8) this past season.