Where the major benefit comes is over time. It's likely that both players will sign six-year deals, and over those six years the Heat should be able to significantly improve the talent around Wade and Bosh via draft picks, signing players with their cap exceptions and adding low-priced veterans who want to play for a winner. If the cap rules stay the same in the new collective bargaining agreement, in 2011 the Heat could add as many as four rotation players with their first-round pick, another from Toronto, their midlevel exception and their biannual exception.
So, signing Wade and Bosh is an awesome move for the medium and long term. The question now is what else the Heat can add to make this a positive 2010 offseason. LeBron obviously would be the first choice, but if he stays in Cleveland, Miami will need to work out what else to do with about $12 million in leftover cap space. (This figure depends on where the league's new cap number is set Wednesday night.)
One obvious alternative is to create more cap space by executing a sign-and-trade with Toronto for Bosh's services. Doing so would benefit all sides -- Bosh would get the six-year deal he seeks, Miami could build out its roster and drop the now-superfluous Michael Beasley, and Toronto could get a large trade exception to use for replenishing its roster.
The question for the Heat is whether to use the sign-and-trade to add or subtract. Presumably they would want to send out Beasley, who plays the same position as Bosh and takes up $4.96 million of their cap space, but there has been tepid interest from other teams. Perhaps the Raptors would do it just to get the trade exception, especially because the Heat have most of the leverage now.
Alternatively, Miami could use a sign-and-trade to build out some of its roster. It's unlikely the Heat would take Jose Calderon, who would swallow up $9 million in cap space, but Marco Belinelli might be a good addition at $2.4 million. The Heat have no other wing players at the moment, and including Belinelli also would increase the size of Toronto's trade exception. Jarrett Jack ($4.9 million) is another possibility.
The reason for the Heat to build the roster out of Toronto's spare parts is that free agents are so expensive this year. In a market in which Chris Duhon and Steve Blake command $4 million a year, getting Belinelli for half that price is a screaming bargain. However, another possibility is to trade a future first-rounder for a player from another team -- such as one rumored deal that would send Mario Chalmers and a first-rounder to Portland for the not-exactly-gruntled Rudy Fernandez.
If the Heat had Belinelli, Wade and Chalmers (a cap-friendly $847,000) in the backcourt along with a generic veteran backup signed for the minimum (Jason Williams?) and a scrappy rookie (such as second-round pick Da'Sean Butler), they would be OK on the perimeter.