Okay, before we begin, I will, as I did in my article about Shaq, which you can read here, preface this piece with the caveat that it’s strictly a rumor. And, as with any rumor, I don’t place a lot of stock in it.
However, as a rumor, it’s probably the most fantastical thing I’ve ever heard in my life.
The rumor? That Pat Riley is secretly targeting Chris Paul as his next big target for 2012.
Before we get to that, though, let’s start by going over what has transpired in Miami over the past week, just to catch anyone up who has been out of the loop.
For those who have been living under a rock since last Tuesday, prepare yourself for a shocker.
Are you ready?
Pat Riley and the Miami Heat hit the 2010 Free-Agency Lottery.
That’s right, they went into the greatest Free-Agency period in the history of the NBA and, because of Pat Riley’s unparalleled genius, landed the top three players available (I just love repeating that). Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh are now being dubbed the “Three Kings” and the “South Beach Superteam.”
It gets better.
Wade, James, and Bosh all agreed to take massive paycuts to free up cap room for the Heat to sign other players, and Riley convinced the irascible Bryan Colangelo in Toronto, and the irrational Dan Gilbert in Cleveland to actually agree to sign-and-trade deals for Bosh and LeBron.
There’s more. Wait for it, wait for it.
Riley and the Heat traded Michael Beasley to the Minnesota Timberwolves to clear even more cap room, and the very solid buzz is Miami is going to use the approximately $9 million in cap space it has to sign Mike Miller, bring back Udonis Haslem, and possibly sign another veteran.
What did you ask? How will the Heat fill out the rest of the roster? Great question.
First, the Heat have Mario Chalmers already under contract for $847,000 this upcoming season, along with a number of second-round draft picks that look promising, including center Dexter Pittman from Texas and small forward Da’Sean Butler from West Virginia.
Yes, that Da’Sean Butler. The guy who would have been a lottery pick in this year’s draft had he not suffered an injury he’s now healed from. I guess some people questioned whether he’ll be able to bounce back. I’m sure Riley knows he will.
There are also numerous veteran free agents literally begging to be added to the lineup down in South Beach. Owner Mickey Arison and Pat Riley have said the phones are jammed with requests.
When one reporter suggested a very decent veteran point guard who might be willing to sign for the vet minimum, Arison actually laughed and said, “We can do far better than that.”
Numerous rumors have Shaquille O’Neal, Juwan Howard, Tracy McGrady, Eddie House, Jerry Stackhouse, and many others possibly joining the troika being dubbed the “Three Kings.”
None of the stories I’ve found, though, are delving into what may come further down the road, probably because it’s just too exciting talking about the current possibilities to really think about what may occur a year or two from now.
Vegas has the Miami Heat, before they have anyone other than Chalmers and the troika on their roster, as the prohibitive favorites to win the NBA title this coming year, and rightfully so.
Riley’s genius is guaranteed to surround those three with a savvy mix of solid veteran experience and great young talent (just the recipe for a championship squad).
Even if that comes true, however, and even if the Miami Heat are as dominant as I believe they will be (I’m predicting a 75-7 record the first year into this dynasty), could the Miami Heat still drastically improve their roster in the future?
Is Pat Riley not content with a team with three superstars? Is he truly thinking of turning the newest “Three Kings” moniker into the “Four Kings” by going after Chris Paul?
More importantly, what about Paul? Does he want to go for this? Would he take a paycut like Bosh, LeBron, and Wade did to get it done?
If you believe the rumor I’m about to impart on you, then aside from whether Riley’s content, the answer would be yes.
For I’ve heard it said by someone I trust that despite how outlandish it may seem, Chris Paul, currently of the New Orleans Hornets, plans to opt out of the final year of his contract in two years and join the Miami Heat, unless the Hornets management finds a way to make them a serious championship contender by then.
So, can you possibly believe this? Pat Riley and the Miami Heat not only landing the “Three Kings” and beginning a never-before-seen dynasty in South Beach, but increasing the riches by making it the “Four Kings” come 2012?
I can only say this. Everyone in the NBA better hope this rumor is just that, and stays that. They better hope to God my source is out of his cotton-picking mind. They better hope he’s pulling this right out of his butt (which he very well could be. I don’t know).
For if there’s truth behind this rumor, then I have to say it will be a sad day for a lot of teams out there. Sad because no matter what they do, and no matter who they sign, there is simply no way they could compete with a team that features Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh.
The “Four Kings” might be a reality for Miami at some point in the near future. The NBA already fears the “Three Kings” so badly there are five owners, led by that punk Mark Cuban, whining and crying and planning on trying their best (and they will fail miserably) to get David Stern to nullify LeBron and Bosh’s contracts with lame, pathetic, totally baseless accusations of collusion tomorrow.
What will they do if Riley pulls another rabbit out of his hat in a couple of years? Maybe they can all sell their franchises.
Anyway, enjoy the “Three Kings” we have in Miami, and watch as the Heat dominate the NBA landscape this coming season and beyond.
Just know this. Riley has said he's trying to build a dynasty that will rival that of the Boston Celtics of the 1960's. That team won 11 titles in 13 years, and is considered by many to be the greatest professional sports dynasty ever.
There’s the possibility the nickname may soon be changed to the “Four Kings" as Riley goes after his "Cousy" in 2012.
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