Summer Outlook: Heat

From dynasty to broken up? That may be the harsh reality for the Heat. The Heat were not just beat by a better team. They were embarrassed. They may have been propped up by one of the weakest Eastern Conferences in NBA history, but they were exposed in the Finals, and unless something drastic happens, it’s hard to imagine the Heat winning another Finals. The Heat were no better than the 2007 Cavs this year against the Spurs. LeBron came to Miami to get more help, but it looks like that time is over. It’s simple: Wade is washed up and Bosh is overrated. With an aging Dwyane Wade and a hardly Robin-worthy Chris Bosh there to help out LeBron, the Heat struggle to score. It gets worse. Their bench was a non-factor this postseason. Amnestying Mike Miller proved costly. Shane Battier hardly played when it mattered. Greg Oden and Mike Beasley turned out to be a whole lotta nothing. And the point guard by committee of Chalmers and Cole was arguably worse than Mo Williams and Boobie Gibson. Taken as a whole, it’s not inconceivable for LeBron to leave Miami. There aren’t a whole lot of options for him, but Miami is a year away from being an NBA barren wasteland, unless Pat Riley completely retools the roster.

This analysis may be on the harsh side. Of course, Miami was just three wins away from winning its third straight championship. But for the first time since the devastating Finals loss to Dirk and the Mavs, LeBron and the Heat looked utterly overmatched. It’s foolish and plain wrong to place the blame on LeBron’s shoulders. He was the only Heat player to show up in the series. But the Heat will have to figure out how to reshape its roster around him. They already lost Battier to retirement. Ray Allen may retire as well.  Chalmers is up for free agency, and it’s doubtful that the Heat will have a strong inclination to keep him. Playoff contributor Rashard Lewis is a free agent, as is Beasley, Oden, and James Jones. Basically, the Heat have a chance to start from scratch. It all begins with the Big 3 though. Will they decline their player options in order to restructure smaller contracts to allow for better role players?

Could these two guys team up?

Could these two guys team up?

There has been speculation of Carmelo joining the Heat and creating a Big 4. It’d only be a Big 4 on paper though, as anyone who saw the Finals knows, Wade is just about done. And Bosh is more of a luxury complementary piece than a star. Watching LeBron and Carmelo tag team the East would be entertaining, and the Heat would probably be back in the Finals without much trouble, but Carmelo doesn’t really address any of the Heat’s needs. They need much improved point guard play and a rim protector. Those two areas have sorely lacked the past few years, and only recently haunted the Heat. Carmelo may be the player Miami wants, but not the one it needs.

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