The Miami Heat's 2009-2010 campaign is over after they were defeated by the Boston Celtics in five games in the team's first round matchup. Miami put together a decent season, finishing 47-35 and capturing the Eastern Conference's fifth seed.
They were once again led by their fearless captain Dwyane Wade, who finished in the top 10 in scoring, assists, and steals for the second straight year.
The Heat were pretty good considering their lack of depth and they certainly maximized their roster's potential by coming just three victories short of a 50-win season. However, they were only good enough to reach the first round of the playoffs and could only manage one victory against the Celtics.
With the Heat's season over and the 2010 offseason approaching, the central issue becomes Wade's future with Miami. Will Miami's early exit affect his decision to resign? Or is he confident that the front office can lure free agents to Miami and surround him with the proper talent to make the Heat championship contenders again?
Here is a breakdown of how Miami's early playoff exit will affect the offseason plans of the one and only Dwyane Wade.
If the Heat had made their first round series with Boston more competitive, perhaps winning two or three games, Wade would certainly be less frustrated and probably more satisfied with his team's effort.
But, the fact remains that Miami was only capable of winning one game. Does it really matter though? If Miami had pushed the series to seven games and came up short, would that have made Wade's decision to resign any easier?
The fact is Wade is a true competitor that is motivated by winning. While three victories over a superior Boston squad would have made the sting of loosing a little easier, it still would have been an early playoff exit. Wade doesn't want to win three games in a first round series, he wants to win championships.
So, I highly doubt that a closer series with Boston affected Wade's mindset about the 2010 offseason.
A first round series triumph over the Celtics would have been a great accomplishment for the Heat and would have exceeded many people's expectations. Although it would have been exciting if the Heat had advanced to the second round for the first time since 2006, we all know what would have been looming: LeBron and the Cavs.
The 2009-2010 Heat don't have the depth and are not built for a deep playoff run. Everyone in the Miami organization, especially D-Wade, knows that this team could only go so far. So, even with a first round series win, the Heat still would have almost certainly been knocked out by Cleveland in the second round.
While getting the best of Boston would have appeased Wade and satisfied some of his hunger, the fact is the Heat wouldn't have been playing in June. Either way, Miami would still be in the same predicament they are in now in regards to retooling their roster this offseason.
Wade is well aware of the current rosters limitations and couldn't have possibly expected anything too high for this squad. Although the 4-1 defeat stings now, Wade understands the position that the Heat front office is in and what they are poised to do.
A first round victory would have been nice, but in the end it wouldn't play a major factor in Wade's decision on staying or going. Wade wants help so he can do one thing: win more rings.
There is no question that the Miami Heat got overpowered and outplayed in their best-of-seven series with the Boston Celtics. The C's showed Miami's true colors, exposing their lack of depth and heavy reliance on Wade.
If it weren't for a miraculous, 30-point second half performance that included an array of tricks from Wade's offensive arsenal, the Heat would have been swept by the Celtics. Instead, the Heat avoided a 4-0 sweep and pushed the series to five games.
Wade was clearly frustrated with the outcome of the series and was not ready for the offseason yet. He is certainly upset that he is forced to watch the NBA playoffs from his TV. instead of being able to be on the court competing for a trophy. He will undoubtedly be frustrated watching his buddies, such as LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Carmelo Anthony all compete for a ring.
Wade was visibly upset in Game Five's post game press conference, offering some very straightforward statements.
"The front office has a lot of work to do," Wade said.
Are these disgruntled comments from a superstar who is ready to bolt from Miami and settle with a new franchise?
The answer is no. Wade is simply being honest. He has always expressed his desire to remain in Miami if they can just make the team a competitor. So, saying the front office has a lot of work to do is just being straight up about the 2010 offseason situation.
The front office doesn't just owe it to Wade, they owe it to the fans and season ticket holders, who were promised an upgraded roster.
Wade is undoubtedly nerved by loosing to Boston and is growing tired of early playoff exits. However, he knows what position the Heat are in and knows what Pat Riley is capable of.
I think once the sting wears off from this loss and as the summer progresses, Wade will realize that Miami is his home. He will have ongoing discussions with Riley and Arison about his future, and they will assure him that changes are coming and that help is on the way.
Once the front office put their plan into action and start to bring in talent, Wade will completely forget about how this series ended and be convinced that Miami is where he belongs.
Being that it is a contract year for Wade and that he is set to be one of the most sought after free agents in the offseason, he constantly is barraged with questions about his future.
While he usually dodges such questions, he continually reiterates his desire to stay in Miami, where he has spent his entire seven-year career. Although, his John Hancock wont come until the Miami Heat front office can prove their committed to winning and surround him with the talent that will propel the Heat back into title contention.
That being said, Wade will test the free agent market this summer and weigh his options before he makes a final decision about his future. He refused to sign a contract extension during the season so he could have the flexibility to be in the driver's seat and see what direction the Heat franchise is headed.
So, as of now, there is no deal in place and no commitment from Wade that he will remain in a Heat jersey next season. However, Wade has publicly stated that Miami is where he wants to be and that other teams will only have a small window to lure him away from Miami.
Either way, the current status of Dwyane Wade is impending free agent that will have extensive talks with GM Pat Riley and owner Micky Arison in the upcoming months about the future and the Heat's free agency plans. If Miami makes a major splash in the free agent, which they are fully expected to do, Wade will have no reluctance to resigning with the franchise.
In the end, I think Wade will be in a Heat jersey for a very long time. Miami has the second most salary cap space in the NBA and is a very attractive destination for a free agent. They should have no problem signing a major free agent such as Chris Bosh or Amar'e Stoudamire, which will make this loss to Boston a mere memory once the team elevates into championship contenders for the next decade.