NBA Free Agency: Pat Riley's 'South Beach Superteam' Still Most Likely Outcome

Steve SmithSenior Writer IJuly 6, 2010

BOSTON - APRIL 27:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat heads for the net as Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics defends during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA playoffs at the TD Garden on April 27, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Heat 96-86 to win the series. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Despite all the media frenzy and foolishness, the most likely scenario I can see happening is the formation of Pat Riley's “South Beach Superteam” in Miami consisting of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh.

The oft-injured, yet perennial All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire is now a member of the New York Knicks, having agreed to their five-year, $100 million deal, and is the only big-name player to have bolted from his former team so far.

Joe Johnson, Rudy Gay, and Paul Pierce each decided to stay put.

Johnson and Gay did so because the Hawks and Grizzlies threw boatloads of cash at them and they simply couldn’t in all honesty refuse, since no one else was about to offer them the same.

Pierce, on the other hand, simply decided loyalty was more important than money (considering most would agree he could have commanded Stoudemire’s deal, albeit with the fifth year not guaranteed, if he’d seriously tested the free-agent waters).

Other names making the paper for the deals they’ve agreed to include Drew Gooden and John Salmons, who agreed in principal to the five-year deals the Bucks offered them for $30 and $40 million respectively; as well as Darko Milicic who decided to take the Timberwolves up on their four-year, $20 million offer.

Yet, the three players everyone is still waiting to hear from have been oddly silent and cryptic about their decision. Because of this, the media has decided no news is a great reason for inventing news.

ESPN’s Chad Ford had no qualms in doing so when he erroneously wrote that Dwyane Wade had requested a second meeting with the Chicago Bulls in order to sell his lame story implying Wade was seriously leaning toward leaving Miami and joining the Bulls. The rest of the media took up where he left off, and created a buzz that could be heard in Bangkok.

Other media outlets have followed suit, with numerous talking heads quoting anonymous and mysterious “league sources” for every pathetic rumor they want to float as news in order to have people click onto their webpages.

We’ve officially entered the age when news is no longer really news, but simply ridiculous rumor masquerading as serious journalism. Fiction is sold as fact, and those doing it feel no qualms about it for with the way our news cycle is nowadays, and with how much hype is surrounding this 2010 NBA Free Agent Bonanza, they know no one will even remember their lies a day or two down the road.

Why? Because they’ll be too busy reading the latest lies.

Of course, those lies and rumors, and all the rumor-mongering will end eventually, and when the carousel stops, and when the music ends, some of those so-called journalists will have some egg on their faces. Even then, though, I doubt they’ll develop any ethics, for they’re not likely to be called to the carpet for their shoddy journalistic practices by their editors, who are as guilty as they are.

All that aside, I think people need to seriously take a step back and take a look at the facts.

I know most fans of the New York Knicks haven’t done that. They’ve gotten Amar’e, and they’re still thinking they’re the frontrunners for the services of Dwyane Wade and/or LeBron James to team up with him.

Sorry, Knicks fans, but that is a pipe dream. Amar’e decided to join New York’s pathetic franchise for one reason, and one reason only: MONEY!

Sure, the idea of teaming up with Mike D’Antoni held its appeal, to be sure. D’Antoni was the coach of the Suns when Amar’e was making his bones in Phoenix. His run-and-gun style of play suits Stoudemire’s style very well, allowing him to maximize his statline, while not worrying about the fact he can’t play a lick of defense.

Furthermore, the Knicks were so desperate that they were the only team willing to take the risk of offering Amar’e a guaranteed five-year contract. Hell, they’ve eaten so many other bad contracts, they found the risk that an oft-injured Stoudemire might not actually suit up for the majority of the games during those five years as remote compared to other risks they’ve taken.

So, New York is “back” as Stoudemire has said. They’re back to being the same ol’ franchise they’ve been for the past decade or more; overpaying for their talent in hopes it might bring them success. I don’t see it, but as the guy from the New York Lottery is fond of saying, “Hey, you never know.”

I’ll be the first to admit the Knicks have as much of a chance of winning a title with Amar’e playing power forward and D’Antoni coaching as the average New Yorker has of winning a million with a scratch-off ticket.

Some New Jersey Nets fans have dreams just as big as the Knicks, and they’re likely gonna see those dreams dashed even harder. For while the Knicks will come out of this free agent bonanza with at least Amar’e Stoudemire to boast about, the Nets are almost certain to come away empty-handed.

At best they’re likely, in my opinion, to come away with Carlos Boozer. This will certainly make them a better team (especially considering they’ve also added Derrick Favors to the mix through the draft), but you have to ask yourself, is making yourself a better team than one that nearly set the NBA record for futility last year really a successful ending to the hopes and dreams you had coming into this process?

I’m betting most Nets fans, no matter how hard they’ll try and spin it later, would honestly answer no to that question.

Cleveland fans have taken the quietude of LeBron to indicate he’s leaning toward staying right where he’s at. Numerous media outlets have picked up on this idea and run with it as if it’s gospel. Of course, as I’ve said before, LeBron has been down that road already, and knows it doesn’t lead to a title.

Sure, he’ll have to forego being able to ink a six-year deal if he leaves and signs with another team, and will have to settle for a five-year contract. However, despite all the idiocy to the contrary, he won’t be losing any money by doing so.

One of the things that has really gotten me annoyed is how many media outlets and supposedly intelligent writers and analysts have spouted the ridiculous notion that if LeBron signs with a team other than the Cavaliers, that he’ll be “giving up” nearly $30 million.

Excuse me, people, but he wouldn’t be giving up a thing. That’s right, not one penny. He would be able to sign a new contract at the end of the five years, and would almost certainly be paid in excess of $30 million for that first year of the new contract since he wouldn’t have any restrictions on the number any longer.

So, in essence, the truth is he’d be giving up money if he signs with Cleveland, not the other way around; at least if he signs a six-year max contract with them, that is.

Finally, there’s the Bulls. Boy have I heard enough about the Bulls. Some of the fans from that city actually had a marketing campaign daring LeBron to step into Michael Jordan’s shoes. They even sent him a pair of original white, red, and black Nike Jordans.

The media has picked up on that, along with Chad Ford’s nonsense, and created a frenzy almost like nothing I’ve seen before, speculating that LeBron is heading to Chicago to join Dwyane Wade, or that Wade’s imminently going to sign with the Bulls along with Bosh, or that James and Bosh are going to pair up in the Windy City.

They’ve touted the Bulls current players, namely Derrick Rose, Jaokim Noah, and Luol Deng, as magnetic selling points for this idea, asking anyone who will listen why two of the top three players wouldn’t want to come play with those guys.

Well, the easiest answer would be simply because they can’t.

That’s right. Despite the Bulls fan’s deluded views, Chicago doesn’t have the cap space to sign two max free agents. I guess they think they can get around this real easy, though. I’ve heard a dozen ridiculous scenarios, including the idea that Toronto would be willing to take on Deng’s pathetic contract in a sign-and-trade for Bosh.

Sorry, Chicago fans, but that dream just won’t float. And as for all the posturing that Wade is gonna head to Chicago because he likes the food there or because his children are there, that’s an equally lame dream.

First, he can get that food anytime he likes. Hell, he’s rich enough he can hire a cook to serve him Chicago-style food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Second, he’s in a custody battle he’s likely to win, and will be able to move his kids wherever he is, rather than the scenario of him being driven into signing a contract to be near his children.

Where does all that leave us?

Well, as I’ve stated over and over in previous articles, I believe it still leaves us where we were the day before this 2010 NBA Free Agent Bonanza began; with the most likely scenario out there being Pat Riley and the Miami Heat forming a “South Beach Superteam” of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh.

I won’t go into the details of how they’re able to do that in this article. If you don’t know that Miami has the available cap room to get it done, I won’t bother trying to educate you about it; even in the comments section.

I also won’t bother trying to explain how Miami could easily surround the three with a load of veteran talent, all of whom would be begging to take the veteran minimum (which doesn’t count against the cap) in order to have a shot at a title. If you’re too ignorant and stupid to know this not only is possible, but probable, I’m not interested in convincing you of it.

However, I will take this moment to gloat a little; perhaps a tiny bit prematurely.

How ya gonna feel, haters, when it happens?

Whatever you’re feeling like, I’m sure there are plenty of suicide hotlines some of the most desperate can call. Make use of them, people. We want you to stick around to really see how bad it’s gonna get for your teams.


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