Is Heat’s championship run about to hit its cap?
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — One year after the Miami Heat assembled a super team, putting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh together, the NBA locked out players and sought a collective bargaining agreement that contained player salaries and dispersed players throughout the league.
It prevented the highest revenue-generating teams from hoarding all of the best players and created more competitive balance.
Teams throughout the league are improving, and there is the possibility the Heat won’t or can’t keep the Big Three intact after this season. Taking the above into consideration, and with the CBA beginning to take effect with punitive luxury taxes that owners want to avoid, are dynasties coming to an end?
Is the competitive balance shifting in such a way that the Indiana Pacers win a title one year, the Los Angeles Clippers the next, the Oklahoma City Thunder the next and the Chicago Bulls the next?
“We’ll see,” TNT analyst and former NBA player and executive Steve Kerr says. “I still think it comes down to great management and great talent. If you can accumulate that and keep your guys in one place, then you can.
“Miami’s doing it right now. They’ve been to Finals three years in a row. To think that it can’t happen again, I don’t think the rules have changed that much where you just can’t do it. The rules have made it harder to retain everybody.”
Keeping two stars and paying them maximum or near-maximum salaries is certainly doable with today’s CBA. The Houston Rockets have James Harden and Dwight Howard. The Thunder have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Los Angeles Lakers have Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, the Clippers have Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and the San Antonio Spurs have Tony Parker and Tim Duncan.
Keeping three stars is becoming more difficult under the new escalating luxury tax.
“It’s definitely hard to have that third guy and to hold on to him,” Kerr says. “I don’t like it. I like when teams can actually keep their resources. I would have loved to have seen Oklahoma City keep James Harden and see what those three guys could have … [For more on Is Miami Heat's championship run about to hit its cap?, click here.]