Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The 2014 NBA Playoffs...

Now that the San Antonio Spurs completely dismantled the Miami Heat, let's cut to the chase. In speaking of what the Heat need to do to get back to the finals and win, not one commentator/analyst spoke of the biggest dilemma facing this squad going forward-the "Big Three" as currently constructed have had their run, and now it is pretty much over. Here is why-

1) Dwayne Wade has no cartilage left in one knee. None. The procedure that Kobe Bryant and a few other star professional athletes have undergone in Germany is no miracle cure for this. On the contrary. All it does is mask the pain for a certain period of time. It actually makes the condition worse, because it fools the body into thinking the joint can take the same impact it could when there was cartilage to protect the joint. There is only one cure in the foreseeable horizon, and that lies with cartilage retransplantation, a procedure where doctors take cartilage out of the knee, grow more of it and transplant it back into the joint. This is not happening anytime soon. Scientists have been at it for years and are no closer to perfecting it than when they started.

Here's another dilemma-arthritic knees are not just the result of athletic wear and tear. There are proteins in the body that act as an agent that attacks cartilage and eats it up for apparently no good reason. This has been the scourge of many a suburban housewife, weekend warrior and elite athlete alike. Dwayne Wade can no longer be paid or given the minutes of a superstar player because the Wade who used to be able to do THIS is long gone...

...having been replaced by THIS, a player who gets horsed in the paint by the likes of Tiago Splitter of all people-

2) The Opt-Out Clause-Wade has two years left on his contract at $20 million per. The thought of either him or Chris Bosh opting out to re-sign for less money so the Heat can go after bloated one-dimensional ballhog Carmelo Anthony or overrated stat whore Kevin Love isn't going to solve their problems, and it's certainly not going to turn the clock back for Wade. This is his last chance to cash out while he still can, and forfeiting that type of loot for the good of the team would be a stupid financial move on his part. Unlike Lebron, neither Wade nor Bosh make the type of money from endorsements and investments that would allow either player to recoup that money elsewhere.

As a global icon and one of the best to have ever played the game, James is certain to continue to generate revenue way after his playing career is over due to his so-called "brand". Not so for Bosh and Wade. They need to get paid NOW, because when the spotlight fades for them, so will their revenue streams.

3) There wasn't one analyst who watched this series and thought "if only Carmelo Anthony were on the Heat. That would have solved all their problems". Look up and down the roster and see how limited to nonexistent the production was from Greg Oden, Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, and Chris "Birdman" Anderson. (By the way, his white trailer park trash shtick is done like an overcooked goose because he's no longer the player he once was, which was borderline on his greatest day. I don't understand how he became the Caucasian equivalent to Dennis Rodman, but that scenario never did play itself out.) All these cats need to be fumigated, because they no longer have a place on a squad trying to compete for a championship. This was the only memorable play from this bunch all series. It was a good one., but in the end it turned out not to matter one bit-

4) The Heat need to get rid of Chris Bosh. He is a 6-11 shooting guard who cannot defend  the rim or take it to the hole, where he needs to be effective in order to create mismatches in a league sorely lacking in talent at the center position. He has shot more three pointers this year than ever, and his perimeter game does the Heat no favors when facing a team with the likes of Tim Duncan. The Heat even stopped giving him the ball after a while, relegating him to an offensive non-entity because he does not create his own shots from offensive rebounds. He did nothing this finals series-no meaningful blocks, rebounds, or points scored in the paint. Even Tiago Splitter got in on the action, and he's nowhere NEAR as talented as Bosh-

Manu Ginobli is 5 inches shorter than Bosh and by no means a skywalker. On this play, he barely got his hand over the rim on liftoff. Bosh turned and stood there like a squeegee hobo on a freeway intersection waiting for someone to hand him a tip for washing their windshield with dirty water. I'll say it again-guys like Bosh were born to be tall FOR A REASON, and it wasn't for this. This is a play a 6'11" player of Bosh's talents should always make but doesn't. Instead, he settles for getting posterized-

Even Pattie Smith, the 5'11"Australian guard who last year was fatter than a pregnant kangaroo, outscored Chris Bosh in the series, and he was coming off the bench. Smith wasn't just a three-point specialist for the Spurs. He was also a Tasmanian Devil on defense, harassing even the much bigger and taller Lebron James into turnovers and botched plays.

At this stage of the game it's all about managing money concerns and bringing in better, younger, and more athletic players. The Heat cannot do this because they are hamstrung by salary cap concerns, and the league itself will run into problems because teams have to deal with players looking to get paid under conditions that don't allow it without heavy financial penalties once they overstep the cap by even one dollar. In other words, there are no saviors for the Heat out in free agency, and they only have one player, Norris Coles. under contract for next season with a [potential $60 million dollar payroll taken up by only three players.

It is hard to sell the Miami/South Beach lifestyle to potential free agents who must forfeit their fair market value to make it happen. You can only sell this aspect for so long. Players have a short window of opportunity to maximize their worth, and the only ones willing to have made the move are either retreads running on fumes or players no one else really wanted. It worked out for them these last four years, but this next coming season is different. Who out there is willing to sign for less when they've worked so hard to put themselves in a position to get paid? Certainly not Kyle Lowry, who is better than both Mario Chalmers and Norris Coles put together. May we see the return of Sebastian Telfair from Chinese purgatory? He's still young enough and at this point will sign for the veteran's minimum just to get back into the league. Is he the type opf player you're willing to bet on when he's never been more than a marginal bit player at best? SAt this point, he's probably one of the few players the Heat could afford to sign who may have something left in the tank.

That is a precarious position for them to say the least. Let's see what happens.

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