With LeBron announcing his decision to head to South Beach and join Bosh and D-Wade last night, Miami is now officially measured by one--and only one--criteria: championships. DBSF thought it prudent to break down the possibilities for the Heat to win championship(s) in the next five years. (Although terms are yet to be disclosed, the South Beach Triumvirate all likely signed 5 year deals. Unless they win 4+ championships in that time it is likely--to DBSF, at least--that one of the three will leave after the five years to make more money, since all likely had to take pay cuts to play together.)
First, the Heat's roster. It currently consists of one--yes, ONE--player, Mario Chalmers. Once the "New Big Three" sign, there will be four. Rumor has it that Mike Miller will take a pay cut to join the Heat. (Miller could have been an $8-10M per year guy with a team like the Nets; rumor has it that with the Heat he will get around $6/7M per year.) Miller's a solid pick-up because he can knock down threes, is an efficient scorer (shot 50% last year, an astounding 48% from three), he rebounds (averaged over 6 rpg his last three seasons), and he plays good defense. The problem is that the Heat are courting free agents, likeMike James, Keyon Dooling, Jason Williams, Jarvis Hayes, Trenton Hassell, Brian Skinner, Larry Hughes, etc. Hardly championship caliber role players.
Irrational sensationalists will guarantee that the Heat will win the next five NBA championships. But, look at the reality of any NBA team (no matter how many all-stars are on it). First, players get injured. Of those next five years let's assume that in at least one of them the Heat will not win a championship because at least one of their big three gets injured. Next, basketball, like life, is a game of luck. Game 7's can be decided on the roll of the basketball. Let's also assume that the Heat can't win one championship because of bad luck (either an opposing player got hot in a series, or a shot rimmed out in Game 7). Again, unless you believe that the Heat will march through the next five years of playoffs in four and five game series, the fact is that they will encounter (presumably a couple) seven game series and at least one of them won't go their way.
So, now--at the minimum--DBSF assumes the Heat should expect to win three NBA championships with the South Beach Triumvirate. For the sake of good timing, DBSF believes it is in the Heat's best interest that one of these injury/ bad luck seasons occurs next year. The reason--the Lakers. As long as Kobe is healthy and has gas in his tank, DBSF sees a clear advantage to the Lakers. Remember, at the NBA level basketball is all about match-ups. Artest will frustrate LeBron, Kobe will limit DWade, Odom is a better, taller version of Mike Miller, and either Bynum or Gasol will shut down Bosh. Which ever big man doesn't have to deal with Bosh will be able to dominate an Udonis Haslem quality center on the Heat. It looks like Miami's biggest shortfall is the Lakers' greatest strength--their size (as they proved this last post-season).
For the sake of argument, DBSF will assume that at most Kobe has two more good years in LA. Once the writing is on the wall that he's done, Phil Jackson is out and that team is in for major rebuilding.
Look at the East. In the immediate future the two biggest threats to the Heat are the Magic and the Celtics. If the Heat can't find an answer for Dwight Howard, which they do not have right now, then the Magic will play that inside-out game where their sharp shooters will pick the Heat apart from the three. Regardless, DBSF doubts the Magic can do this to the new Heat team for seven games (also there will likely be scenarios where JJ Redick will have to match up on either Dwade or LeBron, the thought of which tickles DBSF). Advantage Heat.
With respect to the Celtics, they're another team playing against time. At most they have two years left in the tank (when the Boston Big Three signed DBSF believed they had two years to be competitive but, little did he, or anyone else, know about someone named Rondo).
As long as Doc Rivers, who seems to be exponentially smarter than every coach he faces, rests his veterans all season and ensures that Rondo can get Boston 45 wins during the regular season, Boston will be a tough match-up for the Heat for the same reason the Lakers are--size. On top of man-strong big men, like Perkins, Big Baby, and KG, the Celtics just signed Jermaine O'Neal and there are rumors that Shaq wants to go there. If that's the case the Celtics can just rotate their artillery of big-bodied, big men and wear-out Chris Bosh, who doesn't have the strength to bang with any of those bigs in the first place. Bosh is far more athletic so he'll likely have his way with them on offense but the Boston bigs can retaliate with physical defense and they don't have to worry about fouls because they're stacked down low.
Perhaps the biggest problem the Heat face against the Celtics is that Miami has Mario Chalmers matched up against Rajon Rondo, a top three point guard who has only gotten better each year of his career. Putting Chalmers on Rondo is like having DBSF tackle Adrian Peterson. It ain't gonna happen. If Rondo dominates, like DBSF believes he will, the Heat will get distracted by the same commotion the Cavs were where LeBron starts guarding a PG. When that happens Paul Pierce will eviscerate some Jarvis Hayes-type small forward who should be watching the game from his vacation home in Arizona, but is on a playoff team because players (i.e., LeBron) got to be GMs and there was nothing available to add after the smoke and the prime time segments cleared.
So, realistically DBSF believes the Heat can expect two titles in the next five years as long as the team doesn't implode for some unforeseen reason. The question then is are those two titles worth to LeBron sacrificing his legacy as a potential all-time top 5 NBA player and the icon of a state to be DWade's Scottie Pippen?