The Miami Heat are facing a financial pickle which might prove to harder to solve than that of last season. Dwyane Wade is coming off his best season in years, and Chris Bosh has not yet retired nor been cleared to play basketball. I did some research on what Whiteside could earn, who they will have under contract, and other financial things you need to know.

The NBA salary cap for the 2016-17 season is projected by the league to be set at $92 million, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt. Earlier projections had it going from $70 million in 2015-16 to $90 million for the next season, but now that number is expected to be even higher. (SB NATION)

Its worth noting that the Miami Heat current have a payroll of about $ 85 million, but also have numerous players becoming free agents. Wade and Deng combine to earn about $ 30 million and will both be free agents. Haslem, Stoudemire, Udrih, Green, Whiteside, Johnson, Johnson (again), Weber, and Wright are also free agents.

After doing the math, the Heat will have an estimate cap space of $43,991,325 and must use that budget to replace/ resign at least 8 NBA players, including the Heat’s top priority according to Pat Riley, Hassan Whiteside.

Hassan Whiteside will technically be a 7th year player coming up this year, so under current CBA rules, Whiteside can earn up to 25-30% of the total salary based on criteria he has to meet. Realistically without going into it too much, Whiteside and his agent will be looking for that 25%, which will equate up to around $23 million a year. Think that’s crazy? Cleveland Cavaliers are paying Kevin Love around $25 million and Tristan Thompson around $18 million.

If the Heat don’t give Whiteside at least $20 million, someone will. Let’s assume he earns right around $21 million after making an all-star appearance, that would leave the Heat with about $22 million. Let’s be clear about something, Joe Johnson will not play for the Heat again for under $500,000. If the Heat are looking to even think about participating in the long list of formidable free agents this summer, they are going to have to think long and hard about their star guard Dwyane Wade, who is turning 35 and has indication no intention to take a significant pay cut to remain with the Miami Heat. Now, if Wade does do that, the Heat could easily find a way to make it work. If Bosh retires, that would clear up some space. However, unless one of those two things happen, Pat Riley is going to have to go to war with Whiteside’s agent in a desperate attempt to get him to take less money. Florida’s state income tax, or lack there of, could play into Riley’s financial pitch to Whiteside.

$22,000 is not a lot to play with if you’re serious about contending. This would be far less of an issue if Bosh was healthy and playing. The Heat need bodies now more than ever. Decent players for under $3 million are hard to come by. Maybe they should give their friend Michael Beasley a call (again). The Heat aren’t too thrilled about the idea of digging into their luxury tax pocket book either. Its going to be an interesting game of chess for Riley this summer, that’s for sure.

Hopefully the Heat find a way to achieve their off-season goals and still manage to sign Wade on a long term deal. With the salary cap increasing again in 2017-2018, the Heat should be willing to take a hit on the luxury tax for Wade. However, it’s not my money.

If my math is wrong, feel free to Tweet at me @TPRx11