Hard to believe that was three years ago. When a player signs a four year guaranteed deal, it feels like you’ll have him forever. But nothing lasts forever, and here we are nearing the edge of the cliff of uncertainty in Miami. All three of Miami’s big three have the power to opt out of their contracts for the 2014 and 2015 season. And while there is always the chance that they all stay… it’s simply a chance, and a small one at that.
The open waters of free agency are all but too tempting for the stars of today’s NBA. Stars like Bird, Magic, and Jordan (for the most part…) who played for the same teams their entire careers don’t come by too often nowadays, at least not in the small market.
Let’s say that we’re at June 2014. The Miami Heat three-peat as champions of the basketball world. Now, James, Wade, and Bosh no longer look at staying together in Miami as a viable option for winning championships. Lebron is now 29, Wade 32, and Bosh 30.
A little background. There’s a new commissioner in town in Adam Silver who replaces the retired David Stern. The class of 2014 includes James, Wade and Bosh. Along with Miami’s stars, Paul Pierce, Luol Deng, Greg Monroe (R), Paul George (R), Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani, and Rudy Gay are all free agents coming out of the Eastern Conference. The West presents even more talented players in Gordon Hayward (R), DeMarcus Cousins (R), Tim Duncan, Zach Randolph, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bogut and Dirk Nowitzki. Wow, try saying that all in one breath…
And now… Part 1 of “The Decision 2.0″ where I will look at the options for each of the big three come 2014… starting with Chris Bosh. There are three options for Chris Bosh come 2014
A. Oklahoma City Thunder
Ever since that disastrous Harden deal, the Thunder have been looking for a third piece to the puzzle along with their young stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Bosh brings championship experience and toughness — yes, Bosh does have toughness — to the Thunder. Like in Miami, he won’t be pressured to score the ball a lot like in his Toronto days. Bosh can simply linger near the three point line for mid-range jumpers and his ever improving three point shot. Unlike his time with the Heat, Bosh could have a premier defensive big man in Serge Ibaka playing alongside him. Having Ibaka would free up Bosh’s game immensely by allowing him to defend players of equal or lesser size most nights.
Under this circumstance, there would have to be some dealing involved to get this done. Ibaka likely wouldn’t be able to stay, thus putting Bosh in basically the same situation as Miami on the defensive end. A sign-and-trade could send the young shot-blocker Ibaka to Miami. If Jeremy Lamb ameliorates his game this season, he could also be the prized chip to be pried from OKC in a Bosh deal.
The Thunder also have a great coach in Scott Brooks and a passionate fan-base that could convince Bosh to take his talents to OKC.
Even if Ibaka is traded and Bosh is the lone big man on the farmland of Oklahoma, recreating Miami is hardly an undesired plan for Bosh in 2014.
B. Los Angeles Lakers
There isn’t really a point A, B, and C to explain this decision. It’s the Lakers, and they’re sure to be busy making one darn good team from the available players in the 2014 free agency market. Assuming Kobe stays and the Lakers sign other help, Bosh wouldn’t be forced into a position where he would have to be a primary scorer. Nine of the Lakers players are unrestricted free agents in 2014, so it’s hard to say just exactly what the roster would look like. Kobe is a near lock to stay, and Nash is under contract, but outside of that, nothing is for sure.
While it’s likely the Lakers try and get one of the younger stars of the free agent market (Cousins/George) to come play for showtime, imagine what a Nash, Kobe, Carmelo, and Bosh lineup could do together on the floor. That’s a lot of offense needed to make up for some poor defensive play.
The Lakers coaching staff is one red flag in going to L.A.. D’Antoni’s extremely up-tempo system doesn’t fit well with Bosh’s smooth and methodical style of play.
But still, Bosh would get the spotlight and a chance to win. Is there much more to ask for?
C. Boston Celtics
I’m really going out on a limb here… I mean, the Celtics?! The team that just traded away every ounce of talent they had… well, except Rondo who now will really have to prove he’s a terrific passer by attempting to set up Kris Humphries… ouch. But yes, the Boston Celtics. It would take some work though, and some positive showing by former Butler coach Brad Stevens at the helm this season to lure Bosh to Massachusetts.
The question is what will the state of Boston be when the summer of 2014 rolls around? Rajon Rondo, barring a trade, will still be running the show at the point. The Celtics also have guard Avery Bradley who showed he can play last season. But if Bosh were to come to Boston, would the Celtics pull the trigger on another big name? I could see Gordon Hayward reuniting with his former coach with whom he went to the National Championship with. Hayward would give Boston a legitimate scorer on the wing.
The difference between Boston and the other two scenarios is that Bosh would likely be the number one scorer. Unless the team could sign an elite scorer like Wade, James, Kobe (heaven forbid… in Boston?), or Anthony, that’s a lot of pressure to put on a 30 year old thin power forward’s shoulders. But digging inside Bosh’s head here, let’s say he wants to prove for his legacy that he can be “the guy”? There couldn’t be much of a better scenario for him while still having an actual shot of winning the title.
(Secret Option) D. Miami Heat
I guess there’s no harm in throwing it out there. Will LeBron, Wade, and Bosh all return? Will just LeBron return? Just Wade? Only Bosh? Just two of them? The possibilities are endless… well almost… there’s a lot of them.
If the Heat win a third straight title during the 2013-2014 season, there’s the lucrative possibility of going for the hallowed 4-peat. If the Heat lose… I can’t see the three amigos coming back to South Beach singing kumbuya and picking up the pieces.
But Miami is familiar territory. It’s the “safe choice”. Is Bosh willing to stay put?
Check back later in the week when I look into the options for long-time Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade. Will he leave the team that drafted him after ten seasons? Find out soon here at All U Can Heat!