Heat Must Wonder What Could Have Been

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Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have recovered from the departure of LeBron James to fill out a roster that looks to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Pat Riley put together a team that can compete now, while leaving flexibility to make a splash in the summer of 2016.

But what could have been had LeBron notified the Heat earlier than he did? Miami was late to the free agency party because of the timing of the decision, so the Heat were limited on who they could go after.

When did LeBron know, though? I mean, I guess it’s plausible that he always knew, but wouldn’t that have been conveyed to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh? If I may analyze, I think LeBron is one of those people that doesn’t likes confrontation. Like, he doesn’t want to get into a discussion that the other person would try to sell him on something, since he can be a bit flaky when it comes to big decisions.

The fact that he didn’t respond to any of Riley’s calls or texts speaks volumes about LeBron’s inability to man up and come out and say what’s on his mind. I’m pretty sure the meeting in Las Vegas was going to be LeBron telling Riley and Micky Arison that he was leaving, but Riley probably dominated the meeting and LeBron gave the whole “I’ll get back to you” response.

Remember that this is a guy who informed teams of his intentions by way of a television special and a magazine article. Sometimes, taking a deep breath and facing your fear is ok, LeBron.

No, I’m not bitter.

*Sobs uncontrollably*

Getting back on topic, let’s pretend that he knew on June 30th and he told the Heat that he wouldn’t come back, what could Miami have done differently in free agency? They did pretty well for themselves, all things considered. But there’s always going to be a “What if…?” feeling to this summer.

Well, let’s tackle that “What if…?” scenario. I’m going to rebuild the new Miami Heat with the players available on July 1st and see what we can come up with. You’re more than welcomes to try it in the comment section.

Some disclaimers:

– Because of the opt outs, the Heat had $55 million to play with. Granted, most of that money was tied up in cap holds for the Big Three, but with LeBron leaving, and our new offers to Wade/Bosh, we’ll have a big chunk of that to play with.

– Use the information available on July 1st. As in, we’re led to believe that Wade and Bosh would be open to discounts. Since free agents couldn’t sign until July 10th, this would give our fake Pat Riley 10 days to smooth things over with Wade and Bosh, and convince them on our new Plan B.

– Know the CBA. Here’s a helpful guide.

– Keep in mind that the Rockets were a thorn in Miami’s side when it came to chasing Bosh, yet they were still going after Carmelo Anthony first. Same goes for the Bulls; this comes in to play, shortly. This gives the Heat a head start at making sure Bosh is still on board with taking less money to help the team.

– Speaking of Carmelo, try to do more than just “Sign Carmelo”. Heat still have to fill out a roster.

Now, here’s how I would I would rebuild, starting with re-signing those from last season’s roster: