Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Should the Heat stand pat next season?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Standing pat means going backward in the NBA of 2013. Everyone else will be striving to improve, and the Heat have flaws and areas to address. Granted, Miami doesn’t have a lot of roster decision within its control – Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis and James Jones hold options for next year – but Mike Miller should get amnestied to free up what they can for maneuverability and Mario Chalmers clearly is worth the team option of $4 million. Trades? Can’t see the Big Three getting broken up if the Heat wins again. Can’t see rival GMs in any hurry to help Miami out, either.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: With the core, yes. There will always be tweaks to be made around the edges with the supporting cast. That’s the way this model was constructed. I might be in the minority here, but I believe that even if the Heat lose, they should keep LeBron, Wade and Bosh together. They will have been to three Finals in a row and won once. Has everyone forgotten that the Celtics dynasty of the 1980s never won back-to-back? And nobody ever dreamed of breaking up Bird, McHale and Parish. The Lakers won three titles fro 1980 to 1985 and never took two in a row. There was no uproar to dump Magic or Kareem. All of this rush to break the Heat up is a product of our rush-to-judgment, instant gratification, often foolish times. If we’re picking the 2014 Finals right now, I’m taking the Heat, as is, out of the East.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Of course not. They have been exposed and must get bigger and stronger inside. Chris Bosh is just never going to be that guy. The issue for Miami is how to find frontline help with limited financial flexibility to tweak the roster.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: The collective bargaining agreement and the salaries of their three stars will determine the future of their roster more than the result of Game 7. Putting the money aspect aside (to a point – they’re not adding Dwight Howard this summer), they’re in as good a shape as any team in the league. It’s hard not to see them back here next season.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Win or lose, the Heat have some serious holes to fill on their roster. The biggest is the presence of a true low-post difference maker, someone who allows Chris Bosh to stray on the perimeter periodically and not hurt this team by doing so. The Indiana Pacers exposed the Heat’s tender side and you better believe there will be plenty of teams that plan on attacking them there in the future. Trading Chris Bosh is something the Heat have to consider if they can acquire a couple of younger pieces, one being a center or power forward capable of being the Heat’s No. 1 option in the post. Pat Riley can’t be emotional about what needs to be done, and his track record tells us that he won’t be. There has to be a roster upgrade in several spots in order for the Heat to fortify themselves for the challenges that await in the 2013-14 season.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: I suppose you can make an argument that they will see some improvement from younger players like Norris Cole and … well, he’s about the only young guy in the rotation. Playing smallball solves the problem of trying to find a 5, as they’ve auditioned players the last few seasons in that role. If anything they need consistency from a health standpoint, because guys like Mike Miller and Ray Allen ain’t getting any younger.
Karan Madhok, NBA India: Yes. And they should stand pat with their roster if they lose, too. If there’s anything that Miami should learn from their Finals’ opponent San Antonio, is that familiarity breeds success. The Spurs have been together for over a decade and continue to over-achieve every season. Miami won 66 games this season after all, revolutionized small ball, and went on a 27-game winning streak. So it’s true that they’ve had trouble in the last two series, but this is still a team composed of some of the world’s greatest players. They should make small upgrades to replace aging players, but win or lose, they should strive to keep their core together for as long as possible.
Hanson Guan, NBA China: Regardless of what will happen in Game 7, I think the Heat need tinkering more than overhauling. Compared to two seasons ago when the Big Three began to work together, LeBron James is now more grown-up and versatile, although both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are on the decline. However, this doesn’t require a major change. The battles in the series exposed the weak parts of Heat, though; they should imrpove their interior, and they need a player like Omer Asik.