While LeBron James leaving for the Cleveland Cavaliers may have surprised the Miami Heat, Pat Riley and company have worked quickly to recover. Chris Bosh is back in the fold on a max contract, and there are reports Dwyane Wade could re-up soon. Miami is also working to fill some of the void James left at small forward with free agents Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza as possible targets, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports.
Even with Bosh signing a max contract, the Heat have plenty of salary cap space available. Depending on what Wade commands, Miami might be able to make an aggressive run at Deng or Ariza. The Heat have had talks with Deng's representatives following James' decision to sign with Cleveland, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. Deng has long been a target for Miami, with Riley reaching out to his representatives near the start of free agency. The plan then was to combine him with Bosh, James and Wade. Now, Deng could potentially help fill the void.
If Miami is going to land Deng or Ariza, it will have to fend off several other interested suitors. Deng has drawn interest from a few teams, including the Atlanta Hawks. He reportedly wants a deal that averages $12 million a season, which might be out of the price range for most teams. Miami could potentially meet that asking price, or at least come close to it, if Wade's deal is in a similar range. Ariza is reportedly looking for a similar deal in the $12 million range and has met with a number of teams, including the Heat. The Washington Wizards are pushing to re-sign Ariza, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com. Ariza is also reportedly interested in the Dallas Mavericks.
There isn't a simple solution for Miami to replace LeBron James, but the Heat are working to soften the blow.