The Heat Is On
Whether LeBron James joins the party and it instantly becomes the Miami Pound Machine or not, let’s hear it for the NBA’s new power team.
The Heat just became a very hot ticket. And it could get a lot hotter if, as late reports seemed to indicate, LeBron signs to play with his two buddies.
Even if he doesn’t, here is the best way to look at it: Chris Bosh will do for Dwayne Wade in Miami what Pau Gasol did for Kobe Bryant in L.A.
As we’ve all seen watching the Lakers, it makes a huge difference when you have two (or three) All-Stars instead of one. Jerry Buss’s team has been a championship club ever since Gasol arrived.
The same could happen with the Heat, with or without LeBron.
Don’t get me wrong here. If, as it now appears, King James announces he is joining his pals in South Beach in that mega-hyped, made for TV production tonight, Miami takes it up a couple of more notches. With Wade, Bosh AND LeBron, the Heat immediately become the chic favorites to win it all next season.
But even if James stays in Cleveland or opts for New York, the Heat is cool now. Wade and Bosh will not only be fun to watch, they will win a bunch of games in the East, especially if they come up with a couple useful spare parts here and there.
In my mind, Wade is right there with Kobe and LeBron in the NBA stratosphere. James is No. 1 because he is so much bigger and stronger and can do so many more things. Kobe has lost a step and some hops, but he’s still the best closer in the game.
But Wade, well, he has fresher legs than Kobe and closes better than LeBron. He is an incredible talent who already has won a ring because he played with Shaquille O’Neill in Shaq’s last viable season as a bigtime center.
Dwayne could get more with Bosh, who might be an even better big man than Gasol. This is a 7-footer who can shoot and rebound and run the floor. And he is just now approaching his prime. He and Wade will be a devastating pair.
Since James is close friends with both Bosh and Wade, you could understand if he decides to opt for Miami, especially with Florida’s lack of a state tax. But you do wonder, just a little, how the three would mesh on the floor.
LeBron has to be the dominant guy wherever he goes, and in many ways, so does Wade. So which one takes a step back, the way Magic Johnson did in his first year with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the way Kareem did shortly thereafter, when it became clear the Lakers’ were Magic’s team?
Could either LeBron or Dwayne subjugate his ego for the other? And what about the supremely talented Bosh? Could he really be happy as No. 3 Guy?
Those are questions that certainly will be asked if James opts for Miami.
Either way, Pat Riley and Co. appear to have hit the free-agent lottery.
You think they partied big time in South Beach before? You ain’t seen nothing yet.
With Wade and Bosh and maybe LeBron to top it off, all that contagious Latin music will sound even sweeter now.
— Steve Bisheff