Miami Heat: Grading the Team’s Four-Year Run and Off-Season Questions

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June 16, 2014 Updated: June 16, 2014

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix and Ben Golliver talk the Miami Heat Big 3’s four-year run, the future of the Big 3, and possible next destinations for Lebron James.

Grading the Last Four Years

“I’d give them a B+. I don’t think it was perfect..”, says Golliver.

Golliver states that Miami may have left the Dallas finals on the table, though concedes that San Antonio was clearly the better team this year. He also puts an “asterisk” on Miami’s four straight finals appearances, stating the weakness of the Eastern Conference in comparison to the West.

Mannix responds, “I think there’s some definite truth to that, but I do think that anyone who thinks this experiment of these three guys coming together is a failure is nuts. I mean, this is a team that has been to four straight NBA Finals, that has won two championships. On the lighter side you can say they moved merchandise, they sold tickets, they spiked the TV ratings in the local market exponentially during their time here; I don’t think you can look at this at anything other than a roaring success…”

Golliver sums up, “…They were the next super team to come along, and everybody else had to react to them, and when you are the centerpiece you’re going to take a lot of criticism. I think in general, they weathered all of that criticism fairly well throughout the losses, throughout the ups and downs, and to me I don’t think they should break this up. I think they should keep this thing going.”

The Future

Both reporters agree that the Big 3 should be kept together, particularly because of the lack of challengers in the Eastern Conference, which means more finals appearances. They agree that the team would do good in adding some young talent and role players a la San Antonio’s role players, suggesting a Mike Miller type player that they had in previous years.

Concerning player contracts, Golliver expects James and Bosh to opt out, but not Wade. 

With Wade’s deteriorating health, declining play, and flat end to the season, Golliver suggests that the Wade negotiations are a bigger deal than originally thought: “To me, that’s the really defining question for the Heat’s off-season. Everything else is going to sort of fall into place after that domino is resolved.” 

Lebron James

When asked where Lebron James would go if he left Miami, Golliver doesn’t have a clear answer.

Golliver first rules out Western Conference teams, as the level of competition in the West would actually deter James’ title chances. Cleveland is also ruled out despite being a romanticized destination, as though Cleveland has a good roster, overall they really don’t have anything more to offer than Miami.

Both reporters ultimately converge that Lebron should, and will stay in Miami, provided that Miami upholds their end of the bargain in adding pieces and talent to the roster.



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