Blog Entry

Stopping the Miami Heat

Posted on: May 29, 2011 9:47 am

Let me ask you a question, if you're a NBA coach and was about to play the Miami Heat in the play-offs, how would you defend against them?  Double teaming one of the big three would lead to the other two beating you.  Maybe you could hope that Miami has and off night, or the refs could come up with a few phantom calls on your behalf, or your team could shoot seventy percent from the field.  Regardless of what you come up with Miami has an extra gear that you don't have, leaving you to hope for things that are out of your control to happen in order for you to have a chance.

It might be possible that your front office will put together a deal in the off season that gives you your own big three.  Or in some wild twenty team trade, your team gets Durant, Paul, Westbrook, Griffin and Love, just because they thought it would be cool to not only play together and win a championship, but get to be the starting five on the all-star game as well.

I don't believe that coaches will have to spend the off season locked in a video room looking at game film trying come up with some defense to stop the Heat.  That job will be taken care of by the owners in the new CBA.

The NBA isn't shy about coming up with new rules if it feels that an unfair advantage is being had.  George Mikan used to park himself under the basket and score at will with a devastating hook shot.  Because of this the NBA widen the free throw lane and added the three second rule.  Wilt Chamberlain wasn't an exceptional free throw shooter, so he would throw the ball up and then run up and dunk the ball.  This is why a player cannot cross the plane of the free throw line when shooting a free throw.

Miami's downfall will come in the way of a salary cap.  The 58 million dollar soft cap will go the way of the dodo bird in the new CBA, replaced by a hard cap.  The number that the owners have thrown out to start the negotiations with is 46 million.  This number will most likely get raised, so for the sake of this exercise let's split the difference and say that the cap will be set at 52 million phased in over time and in place for the 2014-15 season

The first problem the Heat will have is getting in position to be under the cap, due to the amount of money owed to James, Wade and Bosh.  The trio are due to make:

2011-12: $47,557,000

2012-13: $52,114,000

2013-14: $56,671,000

If the contracts ended there Miami would be fine but James Wade and Bosh have player options for 2014-15 and 2015-16 worth $61,228,000 and $65,785,000 respectively.  So even if the cap is sixty million, Miami would have to try to convince the big three that it might be nicer to play some place else.

This leads to another problem, by this time the Heat will have won a few rings, so the three will be playing for money.  Add to this the fact that no other team would take on a contract that would pay one player approximately 42% of their cap space, not to mention that other owners might not be too eager to help Miami out of it's predicament.

I don't believe that Micky Arison or Pat Riley expected (or cared) about the nation wide backlash that was caused by James, Wade and Bosh coming together would cause.  They were just doing what every team in the NBA is doing, trying to win a championship, by adding the best players they could get.  But in my opinion, Arison had to know the financial problems that many of the owners in the league were having.  You can't tell me that sitting around with other owners with a glass of Glenmorangie ( I would have said Jonnie Walker Blue, but I think that if you own a NBA team, you probably drink a better brand of scotch) that when the subject of the CBA came up, a hard salary cap had to have been mentioned.  Which makes me to wonder why would you leave yourself so exposed by giving three players such large and lengthy contracts?

Overall David Stern is liking the ratings that has been generated by the Miami Heat, however I think that he also knows that if he keeps handing the trophy to the Heat year in and year out, he will lose those same ratings.  So Stern will do what many of his predecessors have done, make the changes so that those that have a head and shoulders advantage over other teams is brought down a notch.

Category: NBA
Tags: Miami Heat

Since: May 12, 2008
Posted on: May 30, 2011 10:07 am

Stopping the Miami Heat


Thanks for the response.

You are right in saying that a hard cap would be difficult to implement, but if the owners were to phase it in over time, teams could make the adjustments to their payroll to come in under the cap.

I do have to disagree with you about the other teams being hurt by the cap.  I feel that if the cap would be put into place, it would be in effect by the 2014-15 season and if that happens then Miami is the only team that would be screwed.

Kobe and Gasol's contracts end after the 2013-14 season, and the Lakers have team options on Bynum and Odom for 2012-13.  L.A. will be fine when a cap is in place.

Chicago is equally set, with Noah being the only player due money for the 2015-16 season.  Boozer is signed until 2014-15, but I'm not sure how much longer the Bulls want to wheel out his corpse.  Incidentally, Rose is only signed until 2012-13.

I think that the NBA owners look at the NFL and see how not only do they make money, but a team that goes 1-15 one season could go to the play-offs and maybe the Super Bowl the next year. 

craigp3301 let me leave you with this question.  Let's say that you bought an NBA team, not an elite team but an annual cellar dweller.  Would you want to operate a team under a system that would virtually keep you sub .500 for years if not decades.  Or would you want to run a team knowing that every year you have a chance to raise a championship banner in your arena?

Since: May 30, 2011
Posted on: May 30, 2011 12:51 am

Stopping the Miami Heat

What you are stipulating is plausible. I do find it challenging to implement an exclusive hard cap, however, because it would not only affect the Miami Heat, but it would affect all the contending teams, namely the Los Angeles Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks, the Oklahoma Thunder, the Chicago Bulls, etc. For example, the Lakers trio of Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol are earning $56, 470,769 just this season and are signed to long-term contracts. Will the league enforce that the lakers trade away some of their best players as well? The Bird-rights extension in the current CBA allows a team to resign it's players even if it has to go over the cap. Presumably, this was originally set in place because the league wanted no scenario in which a franchise was forced to lose its star players. That, understandably, would be devastating for said franchise. If the league wanted to force the Miami Heat's hand, there would be an ensuing domino effect amongst the contending teams in the league. I can't see the league allowing that. The league wants to generate more revenue and cut costs, but not at the expense of hamstringing the contending teams. In a perfect world, the Minnisota Timberwolves could be vying for a championship along with the Lakers or the Heat. The truth is there isn't enough superior talent to spread around. 

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