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Heat, Suns, Pistons take lead in Rose sweepstakes

Jalen Rose is eligible to sign with a new team Wednesday after clearing waivers, and as of Tuesday afternoon three teams had emerged as favorites to land him.

Jalen Rose Rose

The Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns and his hometown Detroit Pistons are the front-runners, according to NBA front-office sources.

"We'll look at it and evaluate the situations [and] see what happens," Suns head coach Mike D'Antoni told the Arizona Republic. "He's definitely a party of interest. He's a very talented basketball player."

All three clubs have payroll concerns, Miami and Phoenix especially, but Rose is presumably available for the veteran minimum -- almost half of which is paid by the league -- after receiving a buyout Monday from the New York Knicks worth $14.5 million this season.

If Rose signs for the veteran minimum salary, he'd earn $1,178,348 from his new team for the season, with that team obligated to pay only $744,551 of that amount and the league paying the difference. None of those three elite teams, then, would have to stretch financially to bring in the 33-year-old.

The favorite?

As the Heat were preparing to host Chicago in their season opener, numerous sources said Miami was leading the chase, with coach Pat Riley -- who made a similar bid to sign Bonzi Wells in September -- offering Rose minutes at all three perimeter spots. The Heat also has the ability to offer a slight increase on the veteran minimum, since it still has its full $5.2 million mid-level cap exception available. Phoenix has $1.5 million of its exception left; Detroit can only offer the veteran minimum.

Given Gary Payton's advancing age, Jason Williams' tender knees and Dwyane Wade's need for rest after a long summer with Team USA, there might be more playing time available for Rose in South Florida than originally thought.

That could make Miami tough to resist, given that Rose is openly searching for the most appetizing combination of PT and championship potential.

The Heat, meanwhile, would relish the unexpected opportunity to infuse their rotation with proven new blood after making no changes to their rotation since winning the club's first championship in June.

It's also believed that the Los Angeles Lakers have strong interest, with coach Phil Jackson a well-known admirer of big guards, but it appears Rose has no shortage of title contenders to choose from.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.