With the Miami Heat reeling in their series against the suddenly dangerous Indiana Pacers, the basketball world is spinning. All-Star forward Chris Bosh is sidelined with an injury, fellow All-Star Dwyane Wade isn’t playing up to par, and LeBron James is struggling to both piece the team together and put them on his back.
Should the Heat and their Big Three falter again in their second trip together to the postseason, heads may roll in South Beach. But considering Bosh is injured, should the Heat be dismantled if they fail to secure a championship again this season? AFRO sports writers Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley debate.
Riley: The Heat made it to the Finals last year before bowing out and will probably falter early this year with Bosh sidelined, but the team needs to stick together. Their inaugural campaign in my opinion was a success as they fell only two games shy of the 2011 trophy, and this year it’s hard to blast them with Bosh injured. The Big Three isn’t the problem in Miami, it’s the supporting cast. The bench needs strengthening and head coach Erik Spoelstra may need to be replaced, but the star-studded trio of Bosh, Wade and James needs to stay intact.
Green: You have to make a move and exchange one of those pieces. It’s year two of what was the biggest free agency coup in NB—and perhaps sports history—and we haven’t seen results. I could understand why you want to give Miami a mulligan for missing Bosh, but Wade and James should be powerful enough to anchor a team in at least one series. It’s amazing how if you remove Bosh, the lesser of the three stars, this team turns into an average playoff competitor. I’m sure Pat Riley didn’t have that in mind when he pieced the squad together. James isn’t going anywhere if the team loses. But Wade and Bosh should definitely be on the trading block.
Riley: You have to look at things in perspective and this is a core, when healthy, that has shown you it can get to the Finals. The only thing that needs tweaking is the supporting cast.
Green: Yes, but with three max-salary players on the roster there’s no way to pay that improved cast without making a huge salary trade-off. The money to improve Miami’s depth is tied up in their Big Three. The Heat still need a center, a point guard and a scoring sixth man who can light it up. The only way you get those three things is if you sacrifice one of the current Big Three.
Riley: The team has been getting by just fine without a true point guard, center or sixth man. However, trying to trade one of the core members for a pair of supporting role players diminishes this team completely and a new strategy would have to be born. Stay the course, add as you go, and build continuity. Then the Heat will be a real powerhouse.
Green: If you look at past NBA champions, all those teams were built with solid core players and excellent role players. Teams are too deep in today’s NBA for a trio of stars that don’t even play well together to beat them. Look at last year’s Dallas/Miami series. Even Boston’s Big Three had a center (Kendrick Perkins), a point guard (Rajon Rondo) and a slew of sixth men off the bench (James Posey, Sam Cassell, Tony Allen, Glen Davis, Eddie House) when they won the title in 2008. Miami’s team isn’t built correctly and until they fix it, the Heat’s version of the Big Three will continue to be a big flop.