The Miami Heat Continue Their Dominance of the NBA
The Miami Heat won their second consecutive NBA Championship in June 2013. Very few people were surprised, given that the team won 27 straight games at one point, was 12 games better than the second best team in the Eastern Conference, and have over the past two seasons dominated the one other team that won 60 games this year (the Oklahoma City Thunder). The Heat figure – on the surface – to not have the need to do much this offseason, but there is some maneuvering that must take place in order to save owner Mickey Arison hefty luxury tax penalties beyond 2014. Despite the revenue that the Heat generate by being consistent winners, there comes a point where the team must decide in favor of the bottom line. The Heat are in line to pay nearly one of the highest luxury tax bills this summer, as well as in 2014. However, if the team were to retain the core of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the punitive nature of the luxury tax would force the team to pay an incremental rate based upon the team’s salary, not dollar for dollar, as is the case for now. This means the Heat will most likely not have the same team beyond next season.
General Manager Pat Riley knew that he had a four-year window when he signed James and Bosh as free agents in 2010. In brilliant Riley fashion, he was looking ahead knowing that the team was not only built to win immediately, but also provide cap flexibility going forward. The star free agents, along with Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony and Mike Miller have player options that can be exercised on July 1, 2014. It will be interesting to see, now that the team has won back to back titles, whether LeBron James ever leaves Miami. As a result, which between Bosh and Wade will be leaving the team, given that the team will need to move one of their high priced stars in order to retain the cap flexibility going beyond 2014.
The Heat have one more season as presently constructed, and do not expect them to make many major moves. Will Ray Allen ride off into the sunset with his second ring – including his clutch shot that allowed the Heat to win Game 6 and advance to Game 7 in the NBA Finals. There are smaller moves to be made, including a potentially pivotal one that would include the Heat re-signing F Chris Andersen. Otherwise, the team will be largely the same barring small-scale trades. The Heat, like other big spenders, do not possess a 1st Round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
” It Is Only A Game, Until You Bet It “