As Sunday night's 11:59PM deadline nears, where the Miami Heat need to decide whether or not to match the Brooklyn Nets 4-year, $50 million offer to restricted free agent Tyler Johnson, Marc Stein of ESPN is reporting that the Heat are leaning toward matching the Nets' offer.
Whispers getting louder leaguewide that Miami plans to match Tyler Johnson's offer sheet but the Heat CAN opt to drag the drama to 11:59 PM.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 10, 2016
Again, nothing final, but there were certainly fears that once the Heat didn't offer Dwyane Wade the $50 million that he wanted over two years, the Heat would likely be leaning toward matching the Nets offer -- even though the Nets added the "poison pill" to the deal, in which Johnson will be paid close to $40 million in those final two years of the deal.
The Heat have been making deals all day --Wayne Ellington, James Johnson, Udonis Haslem-- trying to get over the cap so that, under the bizarre rules affecting players like Johnson, his cap hit would be limited to $1.2 million, his qualifying offer, instead of the $5.6 million on the Nets offer sheet. If they do that, the final question is whether they want to pay Johnson $18.9 million and $19.6 million in the final two years ... when they hope to have signed what some are calling the "whale" free agent class of next summer.
If, however, the Heat do match the deal on Johnson -- but the Blazers don't match on Allen Crabbe -- the Nets then will have roughly $21 million in cap space. If both teams match, the Nets will have around $33 million in cap space and, well, hopefully another plan in mind.
Still, we wait...and wait...and wait as the 11:59 PM deadline draws near.