The Future of the Miami Heat

Hugh JassCorrespondent IJune 24, 2008

It's going to be a busy off-season for the Miami Heat, particularly this week with the upcoming draft. 

Fans are beginning to ask questions.  Are the Miami Heat going to build around Dwyane Wade or not?  Which players are compatible with Wade?  Can the Heat turn a league-low 15-67 record into a playoff run next season?  Is a championship completely out of the question?

Yes.  Read more.  Yes.  Yes.  Here's why:


Are the Miami Heat going to build around Dwyane Wade or not?

Yes.  Well, we have seen that Wade cannot carry the team on his shoulders.  However, we have also learned that with the right pieces, Dwyane Wade can bring an NBA championship to your doorstep. 

It’s been two years since the 2006 Finals MVP brought Miami a championship.  Now the Heat have an off-season to look back at their embarrassing 2007-08 season.  The Heat need to make a move now, or in two years, Wade could be gone for good—leaving the Heat right where they started but without his reassuring presence.

“The trade rumors circulating are simply rumors,” Wade said in a statement released by his publicist.  “My focus this summer has been to rehab and train for the Olympics and the upcoming season,” said Wade. “Coach Riley and I spoke earlier this week to address the media reports and we are on the same page—rebuilding this team to once again become contenders.”


Which players are compatible with Dwyane Wade?  

Starting this off-season, there are many free agents available for the Heat to choose from.  They even have the No. 2 pick in the draft to help them rebuild.

There are many players in the NBA that would fit well with Wade.  That’s not the problem.  The problem is how to bring them into Miami.  

The big-name free agent pool consists of Baron Davis, Corey Maggette, Elton Brand, Ron Artest, Gilbert Arenas, and Antawn Jamison.  To bring in any one of these players would be an excellent choice.  The best choices for the Heat are Corey Maggette, Elton Brand, or Gilbert Arenas. 

Pat Riley doesn’t want attitude, so Ron Artest is out of the picture.  Baron Davis, along with Antawn Jamison, will ask too much money for too little performance.  So that leaves Maggette, Brand, or Arenas. 

Because of Wade, the Heat will look for a PF/C.  Brand fills this position perfectly.  A healthy Brand brings roughly 20 PPG, 10 RPG, and 2 BPG to the table. 

While taking some of the load off of Dwyane Wade, Brand also brings defense, something the Heat were lacking last season.  The only problem with Brand is his health.  Can he stay healthy?  If he can, he could be a major contributor to the Heat next season. 

Maggette would also be a good fit with Wade.  He is a versatile SF that puts up 22 PPG and 5 RPG, while shooting 38.4 percent from three-point range and 81.2 percent from the free-throw line. 

Gilbert Arenas would be a popular choice to play in Miami.  A guard combo of Arenas and Wade would be fatal for opposing teams—but would there be enough shots to go around? 

Could Wade average 25 PPG with Arenas also averaging 25 PPG?  Well, it seemed to work in Denver with Iverson and Anthony.  But then again, the Nuggets were swept in the first round of the playoffs.  

Another option is drafting either Mayo at the PG/SG position or Beasley at the SF/PF position.  It seems like the Bulls will take Rose, so the Heat have a decision to make.   


Can the Heat turn a league-low 15-67 record into a playoff run next season?

Yes.  Three reasons why:  

1. The Miami Heat have the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft.  The question is if they are going to keep the pick, or trade it for a veteran and a slightly lower pick.  Either is a good option for a team looking to rebuild. 

A possible trade with Memphis is believable.  The Grizzlies send either Kyle Lowry or Mike Miller, along with the No. 5 overall pick to the Heat for the No. 2 pick.

2. The Heat look great in terms of the salary cap, especially if Shawn Marion decides to opt out of his contract.  As mentioned above, there are plenty of free agents to choose from this off-season.  It should be a good off-season for the Miami Heat—if they make the right moves.

3. The Heat have Dwyane Wade.  Yes, Wade has battled a laundry list of injuries the past two seasons, only playing in 51 games each season.  Well, he hasn’t had much help from the rest of the team, and has averaged more than a quarter of the Heat's points per game.  

However, by the time the 2008-09 NBA season begins, he should be ready to go.  With a somewhat healthy Dwyane Wade, a No. 2 pick in the draft, and an off-season move, the Heat are only a season away from the playoffs.


Is a championship completely out of the question?

Yes.  Well, it sure is a ways away for a team that was 15-67 last season.  It is highly unlikely that the Heat will win the NBA championship next season.  However, the Boston Celtics did turn around their franchise, so we know it can be done.  With some luck, a good draft, and a blockbuster move, it wouldn’t be crazy to say that the Heat could win it all next year. 

But I’m pretty sure they won’t.  Maybe if the Heat traded Marcus Banks, Shawn Marion, Udonis Haslem, and Mark Blount for Steve Nash, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, and Dwight Howard—that would be a championship team. 

But we know that won't happen, so for the next year or so, keep dreaming.