Miami Heat's LeBron James
After breaking through to win one already, James and the Heat appear destined for a second consecutive title in 2013.
Taking the leap to assume they deliver on that possibility, the Heat would then enter the 2013-14 campaign with an opportunity to three-peat.
But while a third championship in four seasons could influence James to activate his player option in '14 and re-sign with the Heat for two more seasons, I do not expect a fourth title.
Even if James does play alongside Wade and Bosh through 2016, three championships is the most I predict they win.
A second consecutive NBA title for the Miami Heat appears likely in 2013
He is on his way to winning a second straight MVP award while posting a career high in rebounds (8.1) and field-goal percentage (56 percent).
Alongside James, both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are also shooting better than they ever have from the field at 52.1 and 53.5 percent, respectively.
The Miami Heat are owners of the league's best record at 58-15 through Sunday on the heels of wrapping up a 27-game winning streak.
While leading the NBA in field-goal percentage collectively at 49.7 percent, it appears there's no stopping the Heat's combination superstar scoring threats, the totality of which being why I expect a second consecutive championship for the Heat this summer.
The quest for a three-peat to match historic runs of past champions
Assuming the Heat are able to capture their second title, next year's campaign would become an opportunity to enter an elite class of NBA dynasties.
With this historical motivation as a driving force—coupled with the superstar abilities of James, Wade and Bosh in what would be their fourth season together—I do expect Miami to cash in a third championship in 2014.
Even if that means the Heat would have to go through a maturing and improving Oklahoma City Thunder team led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to do it.
Heat roster currently projects to $76 million with James, Wade and Bosh in 2014
The championship celebration in Miami after a third straight title could be enough for LeBron to activate his player option and re-sign through 2016.
Even if he does, though, I don't expect James to win another title for the Heat in 2015.
The elevated competition around the league, combined with the age of his two primary costars, would be too much for James and company to overcome.
If Wade and Bosh activate their lucrative player options identified above, which I expect each to do, the Heat will be restricted in their ability to add talent outside of James.
Each of the Big Three will be entering their 13th professional season on the plus-side of 30 years old by then. The Heat would be locked into approximately $76 million in contracts as a result, with only Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem to show as their next best players.
Starting completely over in 2015 with James, Wade and Bosh
By the time the 2015-16 campaign begins, the Heat would be forced to start completely over in building around James, Wade and Bosh.
Based on who is under contract as of today, the Heat would need to add an entirely new supporting cast in 2015.
This new group would then need to develop championship-level chemistry with an aging collection of superstars by the time the postseason got underway.
This is not the recipe for a championship. It is also the reason I predict LeBron's run in Miami will end after 2016 with three rings to show for his efforts.