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And then there were 2: Anthony opts out, Jones impending buyout leaves skeleton roster on the Heat

As reported by the Sun-Sentinel, Joel Anthony has opted out of his contract at midnight and is now a free agent. As agent Michael Higgins indicated to the Sun Sentinel last month, free-agent center Joel Anthony has elected to bypass the 2010-11 player option he held with the Heat. Anthony faced a midnight Thursday deadline on his decision, with his inaction to make him a free agent. The decision to bypass the opt-in makes Anthony more expensive to the Heat. Anthony had an opt-in for $885,120 next season, after earning $825,497 this past season, his third in the league. However, the Heat now has to extend a qualifying offer of roughly $1 million for 2010-11 in order to match outside offers. In addition, until such a qualifying offer is accepted, Anthony would count at double his 2009-10 salary against the 2010-11 salary cap. While maximizing cap space has been the Heat's ultimate goal, Anthony is cheap enough labor that the Heat might be willing to pay the $1 million qualifying offer. In addition, the Heat are desperately trying to unload James Jones to another team ahead of his contractual buyout at the end of the month. Unless the Heat is able to work out a trade for forward James Jones in the next week, the Heat will move forward with the June 30 buyout it placed in Jones' contract when it signed the 3-point specialist and Southwest Ranches resident in the 2008 offseason. With the Heat able to trade out of a first round pick and a guaranteed contract, only Mario Chalmers (with the Heat invoking their option on him days ago) and trade bait Michael Beasley remain on the Heat's roster with only six days remaining to the July 1st start of free agency. In the next coming days I'll be analyzing each potential series of developments that might occur next week including dream and doomsday scenarios. I'm also happy to report that I'll be covering the Heat next month in Las Vegas for the Summer League where I will provide first-hand accounts of the newest crop of prospects for you. What happens in Vegas, will (for the most part) be on Hot Hot Hoops!