Should The Miami Heat Really Consider Trading LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Or Chris Bosh?
Now that the smoke has cleared—and Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks have finished their post-NBA Finals celebrations—rumors about the future of the Miami Heat are already starting to flare up. Even though Las Vegas already has the Heat as the favorite to win the NBA title next year, some experts and analysts agree the best thing for the franchise would be to break up the team’s Big 3 by trading either LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, or Chris Bosh to add some quality role players to the team. But, would that be crazy—or crafty?
Turns out, we probably won’t have to answer that question, because shortly after the trade rumors started up last week, Heat President Pat Riley came out and dismissed them by revealing that he has already told league executives that he’s not planning on breaking up the Big 3 anytime soon. He also said that he’s refusing to even entertain the idea of trading any of the three superstars away in the offseason. But, should he be a little more open-minded in order to increase the Heat’s chances of winning a ‘chip next year?
In a word: No. If we learned anything during this NBA season, it’s that the worst thing the Heat can do is to get caught up in all of the hype that surrounds the team. They know who they are as a team. They know what they can accomplish if they continue to play together. And they know that if they stick together next season, they can start to put together the dynasty that they promised the city of Miami when they teamed up last July. They’re a team that’s setup for long-term success.
However, for the sake of argument, let’s say that they were to consider trading one of their superstars to another team in exchange for veteran players who could help them win next year. Here are a few reasons that each of them could be expendable right now:
LeBron James: It seems crazy to even think about trading LBJ right now. He’s seemingly entering the prime of his career. He puts up huge numbers despite the fact that he still has areas of his game that he can work on and improve. And, if not for the performance of Derrick Rose this season, he would have easily been the league’s MVP. However, there is something to be said for giving D-Wade his space and letting him and Bosh lead the Heat to a title. It’d take the guess work out of play at the end of games (Wade gets all the shots!) and give the Heat the chance to add a plethora of talent around him. We don’t think that this will ever happen, but it’s fun to imagine LBJ getting traded after that whole Decision mess, isn’t it?
Dwyane Wade: D-Wade has given a lot to the Heat organization, so we don’t see him getting shipped out of town anytime soon. But if there’s one criticism of him right now it’s that he’s about as injury-prone as any player in the league. He seems to work hard to prepare his body for the rigors of the NBA season, but he also seems to get injured more than any other player on the team—or the league. If we have to see him wince in pain one more time after he takes a hard hit in the lane…But, really: If he doesn’t find a way to avoid all of the bumps and bruises he takes, the Heat could suffer when he gets to be an older player.
Chris Bosh: If anyone from the Heat’s Big 3 actually did get traded, we have to believe it’d be Bosh. Though he came up big in a number of playoff games this year, he’s also clearly the third wheel in the trio of superstars. In the NBA Finals, we learned that the Heat could use a big man who rebounds a lot more effectively on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball as well as someone who can score at will once he touches the ball in the paint. James, Wade, and Bosh all tend to rely on their jumpers a little too often to score and, of the three, Bosh is usually viewed as the final option. So if the Heat were able to land a better big for Bosh (Andrew Bynum, anyone!?), a trade might make sense.
As we said earlier—and as Pat Riley indicated recently—the Heat’s Big 3 will not and should not be split up. Not anytime soon, at least. A lineup like the one they’ve built only comes around once every…well, it’s really only been built once ever. So they should stick with it and let it play out. But if they were to entertain trade offers at some point, it wouldn’t be completely crazy. Just as long as Bron-Bron and D-Wade don’t mind breaking Chris Bosh’s heart by shipping him out of town.
But, for now, don’t worry, Heat haters. The Big 3 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And whether we want to admit it or not, that’s great for the game.