As we all know, the Miami Heat completely ruined the NBA with their friendship. Whereas the league was a completely level playing field for both small and large market teams before the terrible events of last summer (not true), we now watch a sport where nothing is fair and the only way to win is by signing as many big-name free agents as you can (not true). That is pretty much the reason why we’re having a lockout that is threatening the entirety of the upcoming season (not true). Thanks a lot, Heat.
At least Dwyane Wade admits it. From ESPN:
Love or hate the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade knows that he and teammates LeBron James and Chris Bosh set a trend the rest of the NBA will follow for years.
“Yes, we have,” Wade told ESPNChicago.com Thursday morning during an event for his “Wade’s World” charity. “I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but more guys are going to look to team up and do things like that.” [...]
“We’re game-changers in that capacity. We set a trend in the way of how it was done, but we really haven’t did too much different than what was done back in the day. When you think about the great teams, the Bill Russell teams, you think about all these teams that have four Hall of Famers, three Hall of Famers, five Hall of Famers. It’s just now in today’s world, social media, and all these things, it becomes bigger than it was back in the day. But, it was some of the same stuff happening [back then].”
It is hard to argue with any of this, except for the part where Wade insinuates that a team that develops its players in to Hall of Fame caliber players is the same as a team where three buddies decide to sign on the same team so that they can have a chance to win a title. That part is kind of wackadoodle, but at least you can see where he’s coming from.
Other than that, you have to agree that the Heat changed the way teams are going to be constructed. That’s why Carmelo Anthony forces a trade to play with Amar’e Stoudemire and why New Orleans Hornets fans are terrified Chris Paul will do the same, or why Magic fans are scared Dwight Howard will try to leave the Magic or why any fan of a superstar in a small market is a little worried they will want to play with another superstar. That is just how things are now, and while you can point to the 2007-8 Celtics and Lakers as progenitors of this star-stacking system of team building, the Heat proved that players can be in control of the personnel decisions that their teams make. That’s new.
As for whether or not that’s good, that’s up to you. On one hand, it makes for some pretty awesome games. On the other hand, it makes teams like the Charlotte Bobcats pretty irrelevant, which isn’t exactly fair. Either way, this is how it is now (at least until the new collective bargaining agreement makes this impossible), so we might as well get used to it.