With LeBron James, the Miami Heat were a destination franchise able of convincing guys like Ray Allen and Shane Battier to take less money to play with them. Now with James gone, however, it will be interesting to see if the Heat still hold that kind of drawing power.
Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel addressed the issue:
The question was in response to how Wade and Chris Bosh have to come through to make the Heat a free-agency destination in 2016. Yet the greater issue is, regardless of where Wade and Bosh stand in the overall player ratings, the notion that the “Heat culture” is enough to sway players. I think that took a blow with LeBron James’ departure and it will be interesting to see if the aura of the cult of Pat Riley, Micky Arison and the Heat itself still is a drawing card.
Like Winderman says, it always has to do with the players. Look at the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant scared teammates and potential free agents away with his stubbornness and intensity. The New York Knicks, however, had Carmelo Anthony but horrible management prevented them from signing key players. Meanwhile another destination like the Chicago Bulls could probably get anyone they want but the owner won’t pay. The Boston Celtics are on the opposite side of that spectrum, willing to pay but with no one player to build around.
The answer to if players or management matters more in free agency likely leans more toward player. After all, the Cleveland Cavaliers are a dumpster fire of an organization yet still managed to sign James and attract Kevin Love and others. But management can, and often does, get in the way.
Luckily the Heat already have terrific management in place. The question for them is how much Dwyane Wade has left and if Chris Bosh is a player Miami can build around. We’ll find out this season.