The Miami Heat's rebounding issues are well documented by now and currently stand as the biggest void on a team otherwise poised to raise another championship banner in AmericanAirlines Arena.
But as South Florida's faithful have learned in the past two seasons, rooting for this team is an art in trusting your better judgement in spite of the suggestive nature of your neurosis and an 82-game regular season distorting such an approach as a leap of faith.
This team has LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh—case closed. Charles Barkley can chirp all he wants to do about Dwyane Wade's declining skill level or Miami's lack of size, but ultimately he's just nitpicking for the sake of suspense and conversation.
Considering the Heat's limited resources, don't expect it to end soon either.
With only the veteran minimum to offer and hardly anything of value beyond the big three, the Miami's quest to get better at rebounding will likely have to come from within as coach Erik Spoelstra has insisted in the past.
Martin, meanwhile, is another story. Given that his numbers last year on the Los Angeles Clippers appeared more than serviceable, one would guess that his hiatus this season is either the cause of chemistry concerns or exorbitant contract demands.
And beyond those two big men, no other free agent can be considered an upgrade from the status quo.
On the other side of the fence, who on Miami really has enough value to fetch a quality rebounder?
In the aftermath of the new collective bargaining agreement, teams have become thriftier than ever before. Rudy Gay, a legitimate cornerstone by today's NBA standards, is now considered a contract albatross just because he's making the max. Hence, the ongoing trade rumors.
Try selling Mike Miller, Joel Anthony or Udonis Haslem in that kind of market.
After those guys, the field thins out considerably.
The Heat pride themselves on being a good-faith organization, so don't expect Ray Allen to go anywhere after taking a discount to sign with them.
For all his inconsistency, trading Mario Chalmers would be dangerously messing with the championship nucleus of the team.
Norris Cole is still on a rookie contract, making it unlikely that any team would get rid of quality size at such a commensurate cost.
Shane Battier may appear to be the best candidate, but he's the kind of consummate "intangibles" guy that every championship team needs.
James Jones and Rashard Lewis couldn't even get you a Whopper from Burger King.
At the end of the day, it's just not realistic to think Miami will address it's lack of size until free agency this summer.
But, as they proved last season in the playoffs and more recently in Thursday night's victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, the Heat will continue to rely on team speed as compensation for their lack of size.
Like I said before—the Heat have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Survival isn't exactly the operative word here.
And, to the chagrin of Charles Barkley, because we are still in the regular season, neither is dominance.
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