MIAMI — Though they would rather have been showing up at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday to prepare for Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Miami Heat players instead met with coaching staff and the media one last time before heading off on their summer vacations.
As expected, the main topic of discussion was whether the Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would potentially be opting out of their contracts and either seeking free agency or re-signing with the team at a lower rate, allowing the team to bring in some fresh, top-level talent.
There is also the chance that the three could just stay put and take another check from Heat before deciding on the 2015-16 player options of their deals for the final year of their current contracts.
"I haven’t even begun to wrap my mind around it," said James, when asked about his next big decision. "I need to get away with my family before I even start to think about what happens next. After that I’ll be a little more clear-headed about the things that need to be done going into the future."
Bosh was also not quite ready to put too much thought into his future at the present time.
"I think right now we have to sort out what we’re going through individually, let the season deflate," Bosh said. "Eventually we’ll come together and figure this thing out."
One major factor mentioned by both superstars was the influence their families will have on what happens.
Bosh is married with two young children, and James has a wife, Savannah, two sons, and a daughter on the way. Savannah also just opened her own downtown Miami juice bar late last year.
"The decision comes down to me and my family at the end of the day," James said. "If my family is happy, then I’m happy; I’m able to perform at a high level."
"My family is here and I love working here," Bosh said. "We’re competing and have a chance every year. That’s a very good thing."
Though Dwyane Wade didn’t address the gathered media, coach Eric Spoelstra had plenty to say, speaking for 25 minutes about both the season gone by and the interesting offseason coming up.
"It was a great year in many regards. We didn’t accomplish our ultimate goal, but we’ll learn from it," Spoelstra said. "They (the Spurs) played great basketball. They were able to take their game to another level."
When asked about his thoughts on the future of the Big Three, Spoelstra seemed confident that the Heat’s standing as an elite franchise is enough of a reason for them to heavily consider sticking around.
"We have a very committed group to do whatever it takes, and we’ll do whatever’s necessary," Spoelstra said. "We feel we have a lot to offer here as a first-class championship organization that’s proven itself — that’s our best selling pitch. Our players know what we’re about, the Heat family."
One thing for sure is the ‘Decision Part Deux’, shall we say, won’t be a solo effort.
"I think there’s a conversation that will be had between the three of us," James said. "I think its only right. I think we’ve earned that for each other. I don’t know what Chris or Dwyane are thinking. We’ll see what happens."
That we will. And we’ll know by June 29th, the league deadline for players to make a decision on their options.
Once the Big Three have made up their minds, management can then sit down with the likes of Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and several other role players to figure out just how much of a gutting this roster will take going into next season.
For Heat fans feeling their anxiety level rise with each day leading up to the deadline, one positive to take away from Tuesday is that James feels much more mentally comfortable about this offseason than he did back in 2010.
"I feel more at ease this time. 2010 was out of control, the craziest summer I’ve ever been a part of. I learned a lot. I’m definitely in a better place."