As the clock struck midnight and the calendar moved to July, NBA teams around the country began reaching out to free agents but only the Miami Heat remain serious contenders to sign Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic.
While the Portland Trail Blazers were the first to strike with a surprising four-year, $30 million deal for forward Al-Farouq Aminu and the New Orleans Pelicans inked superstar Anthony Davis to a blockbuster max extension worth a record $145 million for five years, neither Wade or Dragic were linked to any other teams other than the Heat.
The Heat reached out to Wade's camp at the start of the free agency period, as reported by Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Other teams said to have been interested in his services appear to be focusing on other targets as of now.
As for Wade, the contact from the Heat was a positive sign of restoring a relationship that appeared fractured amid the team's concerns of also maintaining payroll flexibility for the 2016 free-agency period, when some of the league's biggest names will hit the market.
With Dragic, re-signing the starting point guard appears to be a formality as he is also not linked to any other potential suitors.
Haven't heard Goran Dragic's name associated with any team outside of Miami tonight. Assumption around league has been a re-signing.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) July 1, 2015
The Miami Heat placed a call to Goran Dragic shortly after midnight on the East Coast, but he's in Slovenia where it's quite a bit later ;)— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 1, 2015
The free agency dialogue between Goran Dragic and the Miami Heat, I'm told, will continue in the morning. That's all for now on that front.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 1, 2015
Though the return of the Heat's starting backcourt appears to be a strong possibility, much to the relief of Heat fans, it also appears likely that the team will have to shed some salary in order to meet their contract demands and/or to augment the bench.
As FA opens for Heat, I now expect: Dragic locks in early (under max), Wade re-ups by week's end, some reserves moved (McRoberts likely).— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) July 1, 2015
Josh McRoberts signed a four-year, $23 million deal with the Heat last season and is one of the few players under contract for the all-important 2016-17 season, where the salary cap is expected to increase roughly $20 million. Though he never got going with the team after season-ending surgery in December, the decision to try to move his contract would be disappointing as the team could use his versatility and playmaking off the bench. For the 2015-16 season, McRoberts will earn a base salary of $5,543,725.
Other players rumored to be on the move to clear more salary are guard Mario Chalmers ($4.3 million due next season) and Chris Andersen ($5 million due next season).
Free agents linked to the Heat before free agency began have already began discussing deals with other teams such as Monta Ellis, who played with the Dallas Mavericks last season, is in talks with the Indiana Pacers on a three-year deal.
The Heat have not been reported to be seeking early deals with any other free agents aside from Dragic and Wade and would likely have to make further roster transactions to clear any cap space before making such moves.
Multiple reports have come in that Dragic has indeed been signed for five years at $90 million to stay with the Heat.
Additionally, Yahoo Sports first reported that Wade was seeking a max deal and the latest is now that talks have centered on a multi-year deal.
We will continue to update the situation as it unfolds.
Free agent Dwyane Wade and Miami are progressing in talks on a likely multi-year deal, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2015