Mailbag: Do Heat really have a chance in the LeBron James free agency sweepstakes?

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during Game Seven of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on May 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

MIAMI — It’s time for another Heat mailbag.

If you weren’t able to ask a question this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44). You can also email me at achiang@pbpost.com.

@Aj3th: Bovada lists the Heat as one of eight teams with odds to sign LeBron this summer. Does Miami really have a chance to get LeBron back?

Anthony Chiang: True, the Heat are in that group. In odds released Wednesday, the sports book has the Heat tied with the Spurs and Clippers at 25-to-1 to land LeBron James this offseason. That’s behind the Warriors, Lakers, Rockets, Sixers and Cavaliers. And in odds released by BetOnline, the Heat have even a better chance to acquire LeBron at 20-to-1, behind the Warriors, Lakers, Rockets, Cavaliers and Sixers. But, do I believe Miami really has a chance to acquire LeBron this summer? Please don’t get your hopes up because it’s a longshot.

The Heat currently lack the salary-cap space to sign LeBron in free agency.  The Heat are already close to the luxury tax line with 10 players under contract for 2018-19 who are due $119 million. That puts Miami way above the projected $101 million salary cap and very close to the projected $123 million luxury tax line, and definitely not in position to sign a max player like LeBron unless it can shed a lot of salary. And if you’re thinking, what about acquiring LeBron from Cleveland in a sign-and-trade deal? The Cavaliers have very little incentive to facilitate that type of move because it would probably keep them above the luxury tax line while losing the best player in the world. Meanwhile, other teams that are expected to be part of the LeBron sweepstakes actually have the cap space to make it happen, like the Lakers and Sixers. With the Heat’s current cap situation, they aren’t in a position to sign any big-name free agent this year unless they can find a way to get rid of a lot of salary.

@AutomatedDroneS: So, there’s apparently beef all over NBA and Twitter. But the only beef I want resolved is the Hassan sit-down with Spo, Pat, and Micky. And it may already be decided with the Heat’s “preferred” rotation of Bam and Olynyk, along with using JJ and sometimes Winslow at the 4.

Anthony Chiang: The offseason dialogue between the Heat and Hassan Whiteside has begun and is ongoing. There’s hope that it will yield positive results. You have to wonder if it might be too late, though, especially when Whiteside goes to Instagram recently and says, “There’s a difference between you can’t shot and not allowed,” after making a 3-pointer on video. But the Heat and Whiteside are trying to talk it out, and that’s a step forward.

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[Miami Heat ties to Finals not limited to LeBron James]

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