Love It or Hate It: Cooled Miami Heat Looking for More Sizzle

In “Love It or Hate It,” “D and Davis Show” co-host Ken Davis breaks down the most controversial topics in the sports world

Somewhere, likely deep down south tucked somewhere along a rural road, there is a woman 50 pounds passed being slim-thick and you know what she is doing? Singing, maybe a church hymn, belting a tune from deep down in her soul for the end of the Miami Heat’s run as top dogs in the NBA.

The Heat team as constituted today will never be the baddest team in the NBA again, not if they don’t make big changes. Last week ESPN.com turned heads when they wrote that Miami’s brain trust has already begun discussing ways to fit current New York Knick forward Carmelo Anthony into their salary structure as a free agent signing for next season. Honestly, a great organization like the Heat should think outside of the box and shake every tree they can to see what may fall out, especially after their relatively embarrassing effort in the NBA Finals this season.

I think Melo going to the Heat is unlikely. Anthony would probably have to leave $8-10 million dollars a year on the table to sign with the Heat versus staying with the Knicks or going to another franchise, such as Chicago. The Big 3 (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh) would all need to do three things: first, opt out of their current contracts, which allows all of them to earn more than $20 million this coming season, not test the free agency waters and agree to all come back to Miami and upon doing so take $14 million dollar deals — which woefully underpays each player’s market value. On top of that they’d have to hope that Melo accepts a similar sized contract.

Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images Strip off the All-Star jerseys and replace them with Heat wear and you'd have the combination Miami hopes most for coming next season.

Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images
Strip off the All-Star jerseys and replace them with Heat wear and you’d have the combination Miami hopes most for coming next season.

Carmelo’s contract would be a big problem for the Heat, but their biggest problem is the franchise’s most important player ever: Dwayne Wade. Wade is not done, but he’ll never consistently play again at the same all-star level he played at in rising to become one of the NBA’s most recognizable talents and winning three championships in South Beach.

Wade missed 28 games this season, basically a third of the season, while being paid somewhere around $20 milion dollars. Wade has mentioned Kobe’s parachute deal as a comparison for the remainder of his contract. Kobe will average more than $20 million the next two seasons; but the Lakers only have Jelly Bean’s son and Steve Nash under contract going forward.

As of now, the Heat have Wade, LeBron, Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen, Norris Cole and Justin Hamilton under contract for next season, due to the large sizes of the the Big 3’s contracts, those contracts alone would put the team high over the salary cap. To create flexibility for themselves the franchise players can all opt out or Riley can trade away the rest of the roster for a bag of lint, just like he did when he sent Michael Beasley on the first thing smoking to clear space for Bosh and Lebron to come to Miami initially. Still, how good can the Heat expect to be going forward if they’re hoping that Wade re-ascends to prime-time contributor status, or even worse, pay him as if he is still primetime regardless?

Owner Mickey Arison and team president Pat Riley can, and should, approach Wade with a sweetheart deal where he accepts close to half of his expected upcoming salary, around $10 million, knowing that he’ll remain loyal to the franchise and be treated to a prominent front office upon retirement and perhaps even a small share of the team. It is not like Wade doesn’t deserve it, without him the franchisenever have LeBron or Bosh, especially LeBron!

Pay attention readers, as I play out all the Heat’s storylines from the comfort of my couch:

LeBron: Signs a five year deal with opt-outs available beginning after the second year. He could also wait to opt-out until after next season, but Wade would be a year older, and there is no guarantee premium free agents will be available. Those two things would likely signal LeBron’s exit

Wade: Stands his ass still and collect his deserved $40 mil over the next two seasons. This option would make it harder for the Heat to upgrade back to a pure championship favorite, could also make it slightly difficult to keep James who would see with less of a wide open title contender door in front of him.

If Wade chooses to opt out and reduce his deal, Mickey and Pat will probably take care of him later, maybe earnestly but likely only to further cement their lofty family organization status.

Bosh: He’ll settle. Already, he has taken the largest hit, in regards to losing his respected Big 3 status upon signing in Miami, but he has also gained the most. Lebron and Wade are legends — period. Bosh would have probably become a Hall of Famer given the path he started as a Toronto Raptor, but gaining his place in the spotlight as a key member of the Lords of Player Power (players determining their future) has only benefited Bosh.

I’d love to see him return to some of his 13-16 foot jumper Toronto semi-dominance, but Bosh has adapted his game to Miami’s needs and become more of a longer range, perimeter player than anyone would have expected him to be. The change being so thorough, I feel any change back to a younger, more complete Bosh would be hard for him to do.

Miami needs to move him in conjunction with Wade taking a reduction and upon seeing Bosh out, bringing in a scoring post player would work along with a glue-type wing i.e. Trevor Ariza and a consistently constant point — one who can table set, knock down the open J/penetrate and score if the defended by an average or lesser defensive player. Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, who arguably played at an all-star level for the surprise playoff team has been named as an ideal option.

The Heat can probably get superior B-grade talent to take reduced deals, they just need to be sure those players fit with their talent. If so, Miami could ascend right back to the reigning preeminent title contender in the NBA. They made heaven move before in 2010, you can’t rule out that they may be able to move the Earth now.

Follow “The D and Davis Show” on Twitter @DAndDavisShow and Regal Radio @regalradio1 and on Facebook under Regal Radio

 

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