Three-Way Split?

Chuck Schillken reports on the possibility that Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade will all team up in Miami, noting one potential problem with this scenario is that they’d each have to make less money than they otherwise might:

When free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. EDT Thursday, the Heat will have a league-high $43.3 million available in salary-cap space — if my math is correct, that’s $14.4 million each if the three superstars split it evenly.

So if this dream-team scenario takes place, it might cost each of them $2 million or more in potential pay. Sounds like a lot, but it may be worth it especially for James and Bosh, who are still seeking their first NBA championship rings.

In some ways I think the bigger logistical hurdle to this isn’t leaving the $2 million on the table, it’d be the fact that Chris Bosh isn’t nearly as good at basketball as James or Wade. Make no mistake, he’s good. But he’s not as good, so why should they all earn the same amount of money?

This scenario almost certainly won’t happen, but it does highlight some of the oddities created in the marketplace by the ascension of the cap on how much money a team is allowed to pay any one player. That habituates us to the idea that all really good players deserve “max contracts” and thus that it’s plausible to imagine these three guys splitting the pie evenly at a sub-max level.