MIAMI (AP)—Derek Fisher might be why Miami’s new trio of superstars left money on the table.
Fisher met Saturday with Heat president Pat Riley, one day after the team lavishly introduced LeBron James and Chris Bosh as Dwyane Wade’s newest teammates. James, Bosh and Wade all will make less than the $16.6 million they could have commanded next season, giving Miami the chance to lure other players.
Riley declined to comment Saturday.
Fisher has been part of all five Los Angeles Lakers’ championships in the Kobe Bryant era, four of them as a starter. After the Lakers won their second straight title last month, Fisher said he would return to Los Angeles, and Bryant insisted that he wouldn’t allow Fisher to play anywhere else.
But after Fisher reportedly received a $2.5 million offer for next season from Los Angeles, he listened to other possibilities, including the chance to play in Miami, which had enough cap room to not only keep Wade, add James and Bosh, but could lure a slew of other talented players as well.
“It’s about sacrifice now,” Wade said.
James, Bosh and Wade all signed six-year contracts. The value of James and Bosh’s deals is nearly $111 million, while Wade took around $107 million. They could have received about $125.5 million apiece if they had taken the maximum value allowed under the current collective bargaining agreement.
“What we signed for is not important,” James said Friday night at Miami’s welcome celebration. “One thing that is important is we all sacrificed money, sacrificed a lot of things to be a part of this. But what we signed for is not important. What we’re going to do this coming fall is what’s most important.”
Fisher averaged 7.5 points and 2.5 assists while starting all 82 regular-season games last season for the Lakers. In the playoffs, he averaged 10.3 points and 2.8 assists, again the starter in all 23 postseason contests.
Wade, James and Bosh have all given names to Riley of various players they would like to see join the Heat. Miami is closing in on a deal with Mike Miller and expects to keep Udonis Haslem, who has more lucrative offers from other clubs but wants to remain in South Florida—his lifelong home.
“He’s been a part of this with me for seven years. … We want Udonis back and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure Udonis stays home,” Wade said Friday night.
Riley said Friday that there “might be some good news” about Haslem’s status with the Heat in the coming days.
Nonetheless, with now only four players—James, Wade, Bosh and Mario Chalmers—under contract, the work continues to fill out Miami’s roster.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Saturday that Miami has had contact with forward Juwan Howard. Other free agents who are known to have expressed interest in Miami include Raja Bell, Chris Quinn, Quentin Richardson and Jamaal Magloire, and the Heat still have the rights to restricted center Joel Anthony.
Dorell Wright is moving on, however. The swingman who spent his first six seasons in Miami agreed in principle to a three-year deal Saturday with Golden State, returning to his native California.
Tim Reynolds, Associated Press