Are the Miami Heat’s Big Three in danger?
The Miami Heat are entering the 2014 NBA Playoffs as one of the strongest contenders for the championship from the Eastern Conference, maybe the strongest one. However, the road to the three – peat will be anything but easy. In fact, the Heat will now have to face two teams capable of dethroning them, the Brooklyn Nets and the Indiana Pacers and that that is even before they get the ticket to the NBA Finals. Miami is almost accustomed to making it to the NBA Finals, since they have made it this far in all three seasons since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach to join forces with his buddy, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
But wait a minute. Are you so certain that King James and his company will make it to the NBA Finals for their fourth time in a row? Because I am not at all sure. In fact, I strongly believe that this will be most difficult playoffs for LeBron and the Heat, since they came together and it will certainly be more difficult than last year. And of course, it’s not that they will have to face an unbeatable opponent. Let’s admit it, even the Indiana Pacers have shown some signs of struggle this season, they have shown that they are vulnerable. The main issue with the Miami Heat this season is that they have shown that they are vulnerable, too.
Yes, that’s right.
LeBron James and his dynasty are not that much better than the rest of the contenders this season.
Of course, this was that lots of people around the league, me included, expected to happen ever since the moment LeBron, D-Wade, CB and the rest of the champs celebrated the conquest of their second championship in a row last year. In a way, ever since the formation of the Big Three, the entire NBA monitored closely the Heat, their course, their success. And although Miami failed to make it to the top in Year 1 in the Big Three era, everyone knew that that Pat Riley had found the recipe for success.
It didn’t take long for Miami to lure and recruit valuable veterans, players who would sacrifice millions in paychecks in order to get the chance to play along three of the best basketball players in the world and get the chance to win a championship ring. And it just makes sense, doesn’t it? If you are a veteran NBA player, who has already earned more money than you can possibly spend, what more can you ask out of your final years in the league? Maybe some gold? Maybe something that will be similar to the icing on the cake of your professional career?
Take a look at Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis and several other veterans who decided to sacrifice some cheese for some gold, LeBron, Wade, Bosh and Udonis Haslem included – is there any Heat player left out of this? I strongly doubt it.
Ok, all the above seems to make sense, it’s pretty much stuff we already knew, a short retrospect of the last three years in the history of the Heat franchise. However, the big question going forward for Miami and even LeBron James is what happens next.
Of course, LeBron is going nowhere this summer and the same goes for Dwyane Wade, I guess Chris Bosh, too. Unless the Heat fall to the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round or the sun starts rising from the West, the Big Three will stay together for yet another season. I just don’t see any of the three megastars choosing to opt out of his contract for next season no matter the result of their championship course. And I do believe they will stay together for at least one more season for one simple reason.
There is no better place for any one of the Big Three at the moment.
Really, have a look at the potential destinations around the league this summer and you’ll see my point. Los Angeles? Ok, come on let’s be serious. New York? Maybe, if Carmelo Anthony stays there but the Knicks can’t afford another superstar this summer. So maybe next summer would be a better time for such a big move. Chicago? Again, despite the Luol Deng salary dump, the Bulls still can’t offer that much to bring LeBron or Bosh onboard (well, Bosh doesn’t seem to fit there either).
LeBron, Wade and Bosh will most probably stay in South Beach for at least one more season. They will have a big salary next season, they have already built some great chemistry and although the Heat’s course is not going up, it’s not going down either. Now, the most rational choice could be to dismantle this successful team now that it is, well, successful and not wait till it melts down. Be sure about it, as long as LeBron is onboard and as long as he stays healthy, the Heat will be one of the elites of the league.
But on the other hand, if the Heat lose the championship this season and especially if they don’t make it to the NBA Finals, this will increase the chances of the Big Three getting split next summer. In a way, maybe that’s as far as this team could go. Time is not on the Heat’s side. Dwyane Wade has already started to show the signs of the wear and tear in his body, the supporting cast of veterans like Ray Allen and Shane Battier will not be there and LeBron might want to chase more rings and continue to build his legacy instead of just having fun alongside his buddy.
So, I could say this. At least for another season, the Big Three are not in danger. Within the next couple of months, we’ll all see if the Heat have enough to win their third one in a row. If they do, the Big Three will most probably be together next season and the one to come. If they don’t, I am afraid the end of the Big Three era would have started.