The Heat's current core may be in its second-to-last year together due to opt-out clauses held by the Big Three and financial concerns that may force their breakup.
If Miami's cornerstone players of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh only remain intact for the next year-and-a-half, the Heat will win just one more title before they are forced to make changes to their roster.
While LeBron's original goal of winning seven titles is likely out of the question, expect the Miami Heat's current core to win one more ring.
Note: This article is assuming that the Heat's current core won't remain the same beyond the 2014 season. All stats are as of December 31, 2012.
Why the Heat Will Win At Least One More Title
Sure, the Heat have looked woeful on defense at times this year, but their offense is the best it's been in the Big Three era, LeBron James is arguably playing better than last year's MVP season and the Heat added Ray Allen to solidify their bench.
The Heat sit at No. 5 in the NBA in scoring at 102.7 points per game, while boasting the highest three-point (40.3) and field-goal percentage (49.4) in the league.
They have shown their ability to win close games this year, going 5-2 in games decided by five or fewer points and winning 10 games in the clutch (when the score is within five points in the final five minutes) this season.
Miami has also showed its affinity for beating top-notch teams, holding wins over San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Atlanta this year.
Then there is the point that the Heat's starting lineup is the best in the league, with a differential efficiency of plus-22, according to HoopStats.com.
Once you take all these factors into account, it's obvious that Miami is the front-runner to win it all again. It has a top offense, a stingy defense when it wants and the crucial championship experience.
Quite simply, the Heat are battle-tested.
LeBron James wants to be the best of all time and knows that he needs multiple rings to accomplish that. Now that the monkey is off his back and the elusive first title is in the books, he has discovered the winning formula.
With Dwyane Wade saying he'd consider his career a success if he attains three rings before he retires, it's apparent that the motivation and willpower for this team to win one more is there.
The Heat have a clear path to the NBA Finals in a weak Eastern Conference and will have the edge in experience in the championship round over almost every competitor besides the San Antonio Spurs.
Why the Heat Won't Win More Than One Title
While the Heat are the front-runners to win the championship this season, Miami's road will get a lot tougher next year.
The competition is going to become much steeper in 2014 when the Thunder are a year older and wiser, the Clippers will be hitting their peak and Kobe Bryant will be in the last season of his contract with the Lakers.
It's not that the Heat won't be elite anymore, but the entire league will be gunning for them after two consecutive titles. Not to mention, Dwyane Wade will be a year older and the Heat's bench will be one of the oldest in the league with Ray Allen, Mike Miller and Shane Battier all on the wrong side of 30.
LeBron James will still be the best player in the league, but Kevin Durant will be right behind him and it's only a matter of time before he leads his Thunder to a title.
The primary factors will be the Heat's age and heavy competition in the West that will likely make them fall short in 2014.
With the distraction of impending free agency for the Big Three, it will be hard for the Heat to maintain focus throughout the season.
As the Heat are faced with the proposition of breaking up for the entire 2014 season, who knows what types of trades or moves will take place to prepare for the future? The unknown factor, as well as moves that could affect the chemistry at midseason, could be a reason why the Heat won't be successful in the playoffs.
The Heat Will Finish With Two Rings By 2014
The Miami Heat's future after 2014 is very cloudy. Assuming that their current core of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh changes, then they will likely finish with two rings in four seasons.
However, if Micky Arison and Pat Riley find a way to keep the Big Three intact, the window for more rings certainly opens up for Miami.
Riley is a great basketball mind and he orchestrated the Big Three signings knowing that the luxury tax could break up this team after four seasons. Riley must have done some type of preparation that we don't yet know, meaning that this core could very well stay together after 2014.
If that is the case, expect the Heat to retool the roster around LeBron James and bring in more talented pieces to surround him with. As long as LeBron is in his prime, the Heat have the opportunity to win more rings.
But this discussion centers around the Heat's current core, which will likely change at least a small amount after next season.
Expect the Miami Heat to win one more title in this current era.
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