Our editor Jae Bradley recently presented three reasons why the Heat should trade Dwyane Wade. While the article raised some great points and has a lot of merit to it, in the end, I just could not disagree more with Jae.
In 2003, the Miami Heat were just another franchise in the NBA. They had been around for 15 seasons without creating much noise. Yes, they had the great NBA rivalry with the New York Knicks, but for the most part they were just another franchise. Notable players left their mark with the team, such as Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning, Glenn Rice, Eddie Jones, etc, but none of them brought the franchise to the limelight.
Then, almost ten years ago, the Heat franchise was changed forever. The Heat had the fifth selection in the ’03 NBA draft, and it was rumored that head coach and team president, Pat Riley, had his eyes on Georgia Tech forward, Chris Bosh. Unfortunately for Riley (or, fortunately, as it turned out), Bosh was nabbed with the number four pick by the Toronto Raptors.
This put Riley in an interesting spot: does he go with the traditional big man that had been his trademark to success or does he take a flyer on the undersized shooting guard that was shooting up draft boards?
In a recent ESPN Podcast with Bill Simmons, this is what Brian Windhorst had to say about the 2003 draft:
“Pat Riley is a guy that believes in having big men, Pat Riley almost took Chris Kaman ahead of Dwyane Wade in 2003 because he knew how important it was to have a franchise center. At the time, Alonzo Mourning had just gone to New Jersey. If you look at Riley, he believes in the need to have a center.”
Riley placed a call to the former trainer of Michael Jordan, Tim Grover, and asked him a simple question. “Between Chris Kaman and Dwyane Wade, which has superstar potential?”