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Break up Miami’s “big three?” That’s just stupid.

Jun 14, 2011, 1:05 PM EDT

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Be clear about this up front — the Miami Heat are not doing this. Pat Riley is sane.

But there are people out there on talk radio and the Web – including ESPN’s Bill Simmons — saying it is time to break up the Miami trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh (to be fair, Simmons said Bosh is a lock to be traded if the Heat lost not it was the right move, but he did suggest a trade). Because all those three did was make it to the NBA finals in their first year together with some crap players around them and no bench to speak of. But whatever. This includes ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy after Game 6, although his idea is more reasonable than some out there (via the Orlando Sentinel).

“I think that Wade and James, going forward, they have to evaluate: Is that the best compliment they could be? Or should they make a play for Dwight Howard using one of those two guys, to get a more balanced team? That’s for the offseason.”

If a trade for Dwight Howard came up (and it has not, Orlando is working hard to keep him), Riley and the Heat would have to discuss it. They may well not do it, but they have to discuss it. But he is a special case, maybe the only case.

The idea of trading one of the Big Three is predicated on the idea that this trio can’t work together — and we don’t know that after one year. Actually, what we know it’s more like the opposite — they can work together. This is a team that started Mike Bibby (gotten rid of by two other teams this season) and Joel Anthony with two (maybe three) other decent players and it still went to Game 6 of the NBA finals.

The Heat got dramatically better playing as a unit as the season went on, the team that was playing in April was very different than the team that started 9-8. They were a good defensive team and their offense evolved. By the time the Heat were facing the Celtics and Bulls they looked good — Miami was playing off the ball with some nice baseline cuts, guys were working off screens, Wade and LeBron were able to find each other in sets, Bosh was fitting in things generally came together. That all took a step backwards in the finals, but after all the progress of the season and the playoffs, things look pretty good going forward.

If they made all that progress in one season, why think they cannot take more steps forward after another training camp and another season?

We all know the Heat need some roster upgrades. They need a center. They need a point guard. They need defensive wings off the bench (so Wade and LeBron don’t have to expend high energy all game on that end of the floor).

But you don’t need to trade the big three to get those things. You never — NEVER — get full value back when trading a superstar. You can make deals that help your team going forward to rebuild, but the Heat are not rebuilding. Trade one of the big three and they will not get the same talent back. The team will get worse.

The Heat need better balance but give Riley a summer to find it. There are better veterans that will come to the team to get a ring, there are younger players who will sign shorter term deals with the Heat looking to gain exposure and cash in later.

You keep the big three, Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller for sure. The Heat want Mario Chalmers back and I can see that, he has value as a backup point guard and he does not fear big moments in games. After that, clear out the roster. Make way for better players. How you get them will depend on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, but there will always be ways to improve a team.

But breaking up the big three already is just a terrible idea. It’s being discussed out there, but it is just plain wrong.

  1. rukhshiixoxo89 - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    I say they should break the Miami Big Three. They just can’t seem to work together as a team. I guess thats too much talent in one team and its like over flowing. Trade one of the big three’s somewhere; get Steve Nash. He is a veteran player, he needs a ring and he wouldn’t ask for a lot of money either. He would add a lot of positive factors to the team, both offensively and defensively

    Check out my blog: ” I’m taking my talents to go fishing” Lebron James:

    • edweird0 - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:03 PM

      Girl your a dam fool and clearly don’t know jack about BB.

    • okcallday - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:14 AM

      bad writing + lack of any kind of salient knowledge of basketball + ill-formed opinion = your blog

  2. professoressadiesel - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Regarding the next CBA, hypothetically, what happens if there’s a hard salary cap and the Big 3’s salaries eat all of it up?

    • mogogo1 - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:35 PM

      Impossible to tell exactly what will go down, but word is the owners want to do what hockey did with their last CBA, which is cut all salaries across the board. Thus, the Big 3 would see their contracts reduced. In theory that could still be over whatever the new salary cap ends up being, but it’d be extremely unlikely.

    • skip3525 - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      Doubt if there will ever be a hard cap.
      Too many teams are over it already and would have to cut half their team.
      What would Dallas look like with a hard cap?
      Too many owners will realize what their teams would look like and take that option off the table.

      • edweird0 - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:36 PM

        Not a championship winning team thats fursure. They’re a great team, no doubt about it. But I mean, you spend close to a billion dollars and you’re bound to win a championship at one point. Thats not me hating its the truth. But regardless, they were awesome in the finals and deserve those rings (or whatever the fuck Cuban decides to eventually give them). Hopefully Drik can get another before the end of his career.

    • SmackSaw - Jun 14, 2011 at 2:30 PM

      Jerry Buss won’t allow a hard cap. He runs the league.

  3. knicksnyny100 - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    D.Wade and Lebron is not a good combo! the heat would be better if they trade Lebron for Andrew Bynum n Lamar Odom or Lebron for Derron Wiliams

    • Justin - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:40 PM

      How is it that two players that lead a team to the finals are not a good combo? You are judging by what you saw in three finals games and not the whole picture.

      • tashkalucy - Jun 14, 2011 at 2:26 PM

        The East continues to be weak.

        Were the Heat in the West I don’t they’d get past the Lakers, Thunder, Blazers or Spurs… addition to the Mavs.

      • edweird0 - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:38 PM

        @tashkalucy How is the East the weaker conference? You’d take dying dynastys over up and coming teams like the Heat, Bulls, Knicks, Sixers? Besides OKC & the Grizzlies I don’t really see the West having anything over the east anytime soon.

    • medtxpack - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:43 PM

      that kind of thinking explains why your a Knick fan, they make dumb moves like the one you are suggesting.

  4. philtration - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    I would trade Lebron for Howard if Howard was signed to a contract but that is not going to happen.
    Both teams are in the Eastern Conference and there is no way that they make a deal to help each other.
    The problem is the Heat over paid for Bosh and that handcuffed them when it came to filling out the rest of the roster.
    They could have just signed Lebron and Wade and then balanced out the rest of the team by picking up a better Center and Point Guard, some depth coming off the bench and less drama. They did not have to be All-Star players… just good reliable ones to play their roles.
    Not a knock against Bosh. Just a smarter way of building a team.

    • heat256 - Jun 15, 2011 at 11:18 AM

      I agree with you up to a point. How many teams in sports overpay for some guys? That won’t ever stop. I don’t think Bosh is bad at all but wonder if they could have split his salry between maybe Felton and a good defensive C but perhaps they don’t get as far. What they need to do is not pursue 15 year vets who are hanging on for a ring. There are going to be younger guys who fill their roles, do the grunt work and help the team in ways that the stat sheet doesn’t indicate. I’d love to see them get Battier and Dalembert and maybe draft Nolan Smith or Shelvin Mack and shore up the bench a bit. For all the bashing Miami endured, to get within 2 wins of a championship with a thinner than a bulimic supermodel bench and no help from the PG or C spot, the future is encouraging if they continue to work and not regress and watch out for the other teams that will get better.

  5. mogogo1 - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    It’d be premature to trade somebody after a single season in which they went all the way to the Finals, but the idea won’t sound all that crazy if they fall short again next season. They can make some roster moves on the cheap and that might be enough to get them over the top, but t’s looking very clear that the third max contract is going to continue to bring plenty of headaches.

    Hindsight suggests the smarter move would have been passing on Bosh and spreading that money around over several other guys. Can they easily correct that error? Probably not. But expect them to explore that option if they’re not champions after next year.

    • edweird0 - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:05 PM

      I love how everyones out to get rid of bosh and he was one of the most consistent players for the Heat throughout the playoffs…

  6. bhester1906 - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    These guys had a bunch of no ones around them. Don’t forget, Haslem was hurt all year and Miller played half of the year(with injuries). They just need depth. Of course it’d be nice to have one it this year but that isn’t too realistic. The better TEAM won this year. They aren’t a full team yet. They were pieced together this year and were on a crash course to the ‘ship. They just need depth.

    • edweird0 - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:06 PM

      Thats exactly what I’m saying. They did all this with their lack of depth, I can only imagine when they have true role players around them besides haslem and miller.

  7. blueintown - Jun 14, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    What’s just stupid is continuing to talk about the Heat. Whooooooooooooooo cares?!

    • edweird0 - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:07 PM

      Ummm the media? Everyone that Hates on them? That’s alotta of people right there…

  8. tashkalucy - Jun 14, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    1. These 3 guys eat up so much cap room that there is not a lot of money to get other players with.

    2. Who want to play with 3 guys that want the ball all he time, want to cheat on defense living the tough work to them, and when the team loses its always on you and never on them?

    • edweird0 - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:09 PM

      LMAO. Wow, you need to stay your ass in Cleveland with that type of ignorance. Don’t want you spreading it around the rest of the country. Cheat on defense? Wow buddy, you got some serious denial issues. That defense is what got them to the Finals. And always losing on you? Dude they JUST completed their first year, kinda jumping the gun aren’t we?

  9. lucky5934 - Jun 14, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    I think people are forgetting the impact of that game 2 choke job. The Heat when that game, they win the series. So for a team that was so close to the championship, the thought of breaking them up is absurd. Everyone wants them to have a big man. I didn’t see rebounds as their biggest issue. It was attacking the basket, or lack their of. I would prefer an attacking point guard who can dish to the open guy. Wade and Lebron (more so LeBron) would benefit of having someone create the plays for them. Putting them in position to finish a play as opposed to creating one. They need that more than anything. And for pete’s sake, someone show LeBron how to move without the ball this offseason.

    • tashkalucy - Jun 14, 2011 at 2:59 PM

      Lebron and Wade have been in the league for 8 years now. They haven’t been able to play with a PG that “created” plays for them. They both want to pound the ball to he right of the key on the perimeter for 15 seconds, and if they see a lane drive to the basket…beating their man because it’s against the rules now for the defender to hand check them. Neither of them has mid-range moves or a consistent mid-range shot. They are both streak shooters and need the ball constantly to try to get into a rhythm.

      Their games don’t mesh, and they are extremely difficult for other players to play with……because they expect their teammates to support them while neither one has any interest in doing things like setting picks in support of their teammates.

      • edweird0 - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:12 PM

        Did you just make this account just to bash on the Heat? You clearly didn’t watch the 2nd half of the season. You’re so full of hate its not even funny. I suggest you go see someone about that before it spirals out of control and you take it out on someone else.

  10. goforthanddie - Jun 14, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    So, you want to keep the Threego and rebuild under them. Sweep out the league-minimum-earning players and replace them with who? The newly-drafted players they won’t have because they have no draft picks? Another bunch of Eddy Curry/Juwan Howards who can’t get off the bench w/o a crane? The only way they can rebuild is dumping one of the Threego. And Bosh isn’t the problem.
    leb wants to be the main man until he’s needed, then he can’t handle it. Bosh is perfectly happy and suited to be a sidekick. Trading leb gets you much more in return, and eliminates the problem of thinking leb is mature enough to win.

    • tashkalucy - Jun 14, 2011 at 3:06 PM

      If these 3 are so damn good, why do they need other stars to join them?

      If Magic (G), Bird (SF) and Barkley (PF) got together on a team, you don’t think they could blitz the NBA with a support group of over-the-hill NBA vets willing to play at a minimum salary to get a ring?

      When will you people realize that these guys are simply not the superstars that their sponsors and PR firms have made them out to be. Wade and James play the same one-man game, and Bosh is a soft PF that has a nice shot but can’t play inside.

      • edweird0 - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:21 PM

        Dude, seriously, you need to go somewhere with all these false facts. Who won that championship single handily? DWAYNE WADE. Between all three of them they have 14 ALL NBA awards, 20 NBA ALL-Stars awards, etc. For you to not to consider them in the top 15 players in the NBA right now just goes to show how much of an ignorant hating moron you really are. You like to judge people, but clearly not the game.

  11. delius1967 - Jun 14, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    I don’t think Riley will break them up by himself, but if Wade was smart, he would figure out a way to get LeBron traded. Wade is the real deal, outlandish talent combined with cutthroat competitiveness. There is no way he didn’t see the surrender in James’ eyes. I could see it on the television. Why would Wade want to continue to play with such a quitter?

    I’m sure Wade thought that with the arrival of Bosh and James, he wouldn’t have to shoulder as much of the load. But it is clear that, when it really counts, the presence of James means Wade has to shoulder an even bigger load. He would be much better off with solid role players who can actually support him, not a shrinking violet co-star who makes things more difficult.

    • goforthanddie - Jun 14, 2011 at 4:27 PM

      Riley won’t admit he made a mistake. And have no doubt, it was a mistake.

  12. efueshe - Jun 14, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    I think it’s hilarious that the team that was supposed to go 74-8 and blitz the playoffs needs to make trades for better depth… what do these people need to win a chip the all-star game starters? “defensive wings” come ON! I thought the game was played on both sides of the court? A couple of days ago you said that this is the last “old school championship” given away for a while. Now all the things that made the Dallas Mavericks won-defense, teamwork, depths at all positions, are needed for the Heat to win? This is how they wanted to win, by overwhelming talent.

  13. pete611 - Jun 14, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    I find it absurd to read that all they need is a better surrounding cast. That is why Lebron went to Miami. And to criticize players who took minimum salaries to help this team for not being good enough to help 2 of the 3 supposed best players in the league.

    And let’s not forget that they are scheduled to make even more money this year, won’t that further hinder what they can do in free agency.

    Not to mention the inevitable reality that with the new cba, they will likely have even less ability to attain quality help for the big 2 1/2.

  14. thetooloftools - Jun 14, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    They should be called “the tall three” because they sure as hell didn’t play “big”.

  15. jadyn3 - Jun 14, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    They didn’t play big? They got to the finals. Only winning everything means you played big? Come on. These guys just got together. If they didn’t give away games 2 and 4, they would have won the series. The mavs played better than them in games 5 and 6, for sure. But it wasn’t an easy win for them either, they battled for the title. There were many “big” players on the court, and it showed. Fans got some great basketball games. The better team won. That’s the way it should be.

  16. pete611 - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Edwierd0, please stop making excuses for them.
    I understand that your a heat fan, but you can not defend them when they orchestrate a huge off season move to Miami under the pretense of not having a good team around them.

    If they where worried about having a good supporting cast , perhaps they would not have put 3 players that will make enough money to insure that they will only be able to collect league minimum players,( many of which took.a pay cut to play with the big 3).

    • edweird0 - Jun 14, 2011 at 7:25 PM

      Im not making any excuses for them. The Mavs were clearly the better team, they wanted it more. Theres no denying that. Who said anything about being worried, they still have plenty of time to get it together and figure out how to win championships. And as for what they did in the offseason has nothing to do with my commitment to my team. I personally didn’t care for it but big whoop. Its done and over with so stop bringing that back up.

    • heat256 - Jun 15, 2011 at 11:25 AM

      If you know the real story, you’d know they all took less money so they could sign Haslem and Miller to mid level contracts. Those two guys were supposed to provide much of the bench depth. Both were hurt and ineffective much of the year. They will get guys who want to play there for the minimum. They need to be smart about drafting and developing players like the Spurs are. To get within 2 wins of the championship with 3 good players and guys who were way overachieving or way underachieving is pretty good.

  17. dmo84 - Jun 14, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    I know I’m gonna get killed on this one. If Miami were to fall under the assumption that three max contract players won’t work, then how about trading Lebron and Bosh for Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, and J.J. Reddick. The Heat replace Bosh with Howard(huge upgrade), and Lebron for a starting point guard, a role playe(that they wouldn’t be able to afford with their current salary cap situation), plus salary cap relief. Orlando replaces Howard(who they might lose anyways), for Bosh and Lebron. Then the Heat would have money to sign a center, and still go after Steve Nash. I lot of you are saying the it would be crazy to give up on the big 3. Shouldn’t a team with 3 of the top 15 players in the league make a deep run in the playoffs? What nobody is saying is the team they lost to has one superstar(Dirk), and was missing a starter(Caron Butler) and Haywood of the bench. Some of you are saying “why give up on the Heat after one season.” Shouldn’t they be better next year? Yeah, they should. But won’t the Bulls be much improved too?

  18. diablito0402 - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    Heeyyyy easy with bynum and lamar trade for lechoke…,,,, we dont want him here in LA. We already got the best player in the world in kobe. Well it may work with lebum in LA, i think he ca. Come off the bench and win six man award.

  19. larsonjs - Jun 15, 2011 at 6:16 AM

    You keep saying crap players, but I thought Chalmers played pretty well, Haslim played well, and others played well in spots. I do think the coach erred in not helping people discover their roles on the team. Dallas beat them with one of their best players (Caron Butler) on the beach. Watching James stand out on the 3 point line while Wade drove to the hole time after time sure made me feel like talent is being wasted. I was impressed with Bosh in the finals, but by the time you get to the third option, he doesn’t get enough touches to make an impact. He, by far, had the best shooting percentage of the big 3. Everyone keeps talking about the crap players around James. The great ones all had crap players on their team, it’s just that they knew what their function was. Kurt Rambis, Marc Lansbarger on the Lakers certainly weren’t all stars, but they helped their teams win! Magic made them a winning team. Even on Dallas, I’m not sure Brian Cardinal will ever be an all star, but he pitched in and did what he needed to do to help the team win. I sure don’t think he is necessarily better than the Heat bench.

    Remember the Cavs had the best regular season record LBJ’s last year there. You don’t get the best regular season record with a crap team.

    The fundamental problem is that Lebron doesn’t know how to win when the pressure gets turned up.

  20. jaypace - Jun 15, 2011 at 6:39 AM

    They made to the finals in their first year and already we want them to break up. Nobody said this after they beat the celtics or the bulls. Last I checked lbj and wade both averaged 20+ points per game and bosh was around 20. But they don’t play well together. They lost to a team with better depth. If you let barea and Terry score 20 points you’re going to lose. Lbj is a facilitator he can play with anyone. Like Barkley said he’s more like magic than mj. People please stop talking crazy just because you heard someone on tv say they should be broken up. You will not receive fair trade value. And let’s not act like they weren’t a few plays from winning this series in five games and none of this talk would be going on.

    • southbeachtalent - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:41 AM

      Exactly, if you think the Heat should be blown up what does that say about the other 30 teams? They didn’t even make it to the Finals?? Again and endless amount of just plain non sense being spewed by fanatics and the media.

      The truth is the masses want this to fail and would love to see this trio destroyed. Not happening, especially on Riley’s watch.

  21. 1historian - Jun 20, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    The Mavs won it because they had to – it was the last shot for them. They won it because they wanted it more. Once he had the big 3 signed Riley had to go to yard sales to fill out the rest of the roster. He will do better every year finding the complimentary players and (I HATE to say this) I think Miami will win at least 3 championships.
    Somehow Riley has managed to get by the fact that I don’t care for him.

    Go figure.

  22. poepro - Jun 20, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    The big three are no good together more can be read in detail from espn at
    but no matter the problem with James the three are not going to work….

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