Playoff Postmortem: Miami Heat

(image from
Where to now King James?
(image by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
I’m halfway done eating my second Krispy Kreme original glaze donut as I begin writing this.

The donut is sweet, as expected, but, surprisingly, not as sweet as seeing Miami bow out of the NBA Finals.

There’s just something… poetically just (haha that’s not even a real term!) about it all. It’s like one of those classic sports films where the big, bad , strong, favored team composed of the biggest stars (and usually clad in black – how fitting!) gets their behinds whooped by a bunch of rag-tag has-beens or never-will-bes (again, how fitting!).

It’s a feel good thing.

And try as I might I just can’t be objective when I talk about Miami.

But here’s me trying.

It could be an offseason of uncertainty for the Miami Heat
(image by Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)
The only players who will stay outright in South Beach are the Big 3 along with Mike Miller, Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem and that-guy-in-street-clothes Dexter Pittman. Not exactly a roster that can win the NBA title, James, Bosh and Wade notwithstanding.

So what do the Heat need?

-       A center with about 1.5x the talent of Anthony.
-       A point guard who can shoot as well as Mario Chalmers, but who can also make better decisions in crunch time.
-       A defensive specialist.

This year’s free agent club won’t be as swoon-worthy as 2010’s, but there are still quality players up for grabs. Samuel Dalembert, Earl Watson, and Matt Barnes could all fit the bill for Miami. If they land those three players, then 2011-2012 stands to be brighter than the bridesmaid season that just finished. Ironically, they could also land JJ Barea. I doubt he’ll fit well with the Heat’s play, but perhaps they could get him just so they wouldn’t have to face him.

But there are some stumbling blocks, big ones, that might make the next season much harder than the one that just ended.

If push comes to shove, Bosh
might be the odd man out
(image by Fernando Medina/Getty Images)
For one, the Heat just don’t have the money nor the talent to shop around with. I doubt any of the Big 3 will be trade-bait (though Chris Bosh might be feeling the pinch), and none of the other players are on the shopping list of any of the other 29 clubs anyway. All Riley can offer is a promise – THE promise of a title. Of course, as we all know, delivering on that is another story altogether.

The next thing that could be worrisome for the Heat is the new collective bargaining agreement. Rumors have been circulating that it might force teams to downsize collective salaries, which means Miami might have to drop one of the Big 3. Again, Bosh is feeling the pinch. If this happens, the world would be a happier place (I couldn’t help it), but Miami wouldn’t be as sunny. And Bosh will only have 27 other teams to choose from since neither Cleveland nor Toronto will take him.

But the biggest stumbling block is this: if you were a free agent, do you think cutting your salary, touches, and playing time would be worth incurring the collective hate of the rest of the known universe? And for what? To see the greatest player on the planet choke on the greatest stage?

I’m not even sure Miami will be as successful next season, even if restricted free agent Chalmers stays along with the rest of the team’s core role players (there’s a paradox right there kids). Experience will make Chicago tougher. Boston should finally figure out how to maximize Jeff Green. New Jersey should improve the talent around D-Will. New York should retain Melo along with a few more pieces. And teams like Orlando and Atlanta should remain legit threats.

It’ll be the summer of uncertainty in Miami. And we haven’t even talked about Erik Spoelstra’s status. Good luck coach Spo.

But the BEST move that Riley can actually make in the offseason? Get LeBron a shrink.

Good luck Spo -- wherever you may end up
(image by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Can Dwyane Wade rise above the negativity?
(image by Victor Baldizon/Getty Images)
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