The Associated Press
MIAMI — For now, the prospects of paying a big luxury-tax bill next year is not enough to dissuade Miami from its plan to keep the Heat’s current championship core intact.
Heat President Pat Riley said Friday that the team does not currently plan to use its one-time amnesty option as a way of lightening its looming tax load, with the team’s focus instead being on simply finding ways to get better.
“Right now, we’re not using amnesty, no,” Riley said.
Amnesty would allow the Heat to essentially cut one player and pay whatever is left on his contract, but without that salary counting against the team’s cap space or adding to future luxury-tax bills. Miami is currently in line to pay more than $30 million in tax for the coming season, though could shave off at least one-quarter of that by parting with someone like Joel Anthony or Mike Miller.
In a conference call Friday, Riley made clear that the team’s plan is to add and not subtract, especially coming off two straight NBA championships.
“We want to win and we want to win again next year and we’re going to try to do everything we can to do that,” Riley said. “What I said at the end of the season is what I meant. I want to try to keep this team intact as long as we can because we have a championship basketball team here and continuity being, I think the most important thing to when it comes to winning championships ... I would hate to break it up.”
Riley said team officials will meet next week before this summer’s amnesty window ends, so a change of plans is possible. Still, Miami is expected to be the favorites heading into next season, even though several teams in the Eastern Conference should be better than they were this past season.
Brooklyn, most notably, made a huge splash this summer by acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from the Boston Celtics — a move that helped drive the Nets’ potential luxury-tax bill for this coming season well past the $70 million mark.