Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Why Would Dwyane Wade Stay in Miami?

The Summer of Free Agency is almost upon us. After all this is supposed to be the offseason where everyone switches teams. The most intriguing story is where or not LeBron James resigns with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It's fun to ponder, but honestly I think King James will be staying in the Rock 'n' Roll Capital of the World.

That leads us to the next biggest commodity this offseason: Dwyane Wade.

In recent days I have been thinking constantly about Wade's situation this summer and whether or not he will leave. The more I think about it the more I have to ask: why would Dwyane Wade stay in Miami?

In 2006 the Miami Heat won the NBA title after trailing 2-0. The city of Miami was on center stage and we all had reason to believe things would only get better for Wade and the Heat.

We were only right about one. Wade got better, but the Heat got worse. In 2007 the Heat got swept in the first round by the Chicago Bulls. In 2008 the Miami Heat would finish an embarrassing 15-67. In 2009 the Heat would again lost in the first round losing in seven games to the Atlanta Hawks. And finally in 2010 the Heat lost in the first round in five games to the Boston Celtics.

I know the city of Miami must be a dream to live in. The weather is terrific and the women are gorgeous. But how far does that go when your team is consistently underachieving and you are not? After his seventh year in the NBA Wade is averaging incredible stats. (25.4 ppg, 6.6 apg, 4.9 rpg)

Here are the three biggest issues with the Miami Heat.

First is the supporting cast. All too often in the Boston series Wade was having a good game only to see his team fall because of a lack of a supporting cast. The only way the Heat avoided a sweep was because Dwyane Wade had, up to this point, the best individual performance of the 2010 NBA playoffs in Game 4. (46 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds). Even more troubling for Miami is the lack of development in former No. 2 pick Michael Beasley's game. He career stats do not tell the full story (14.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg). Beasley's offense is sporadic, his defense is not crisp (he struggled greatly with Glen Davis) and his overall rebounding is nothing to write home about. In the series he averaged 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

The second issue has been with Miami's front office and their lack of making a move to get a player to help the Heat in the playoffs. Earlier this year it seemed like Amare Stoudemire was headed for Miami. Unfortunately (and foolishly) the Heat would not give up Michael Beasley. Unless some metamorphosis begins to take place in Beasley's game, I can not see him ever being the threat Stoudemire is on the court.

Okay that's fine. They missed one. Sure it was a big missed opportunity, but hey it's only the third year of the Beasley Project. Maybe he comes around.

Example number two is John Salmons. Salmons was released by the Chicago Bulls earlier this year and later picked up by the Milwaukee Bucks. Why didn't Miami make a run at him? Salmons showed during last year's epic Chicago/Boston first round series he is a playoff warrior. The Heat of could have gotten him rather cheaply and in the process given Miami a proven scorer in the playoffs.

But Miami stood still. They stayed with their team and in turn they completely, 100 percent jeopardized Dwyane's Wade future in Miami. Here's the thing: it's not like the Heat are barely missing out of getting to the NBA finals, no it's more troubling. The Heat can not get past the first round. It's been four years since Wade and company have survived a postseason series. Think about that. One of the game's best players has not been past the first round since 2006.

The final reason Dwyane Wade has to leave is the appeal of his hometown team. The Chicago Bulls are definitely going to be going out shopping for a superstar this offseason. What superstar wouldn't want to walk in to Chicago? You have a young point guard beyond his years in Derrick Rose as well as a rebounding, defense machine, down low, in Joakim Noah. Both of these men will sacrifice minutes, shots and spotlight time to win. Tell me that's not appealing - play in your hometown with a team one player away from being a serious title contender. It's the perfect fit. Unless the Miami Heat manage to pull in a big superstar of their own (Chris Bosh?) I can not see a reason for Wade to stay behind. Also what in the recent past gives Wade reason to think the front office can pull off such a deal?

Wade is already seven years deep into his career. Hate to say, but he is reaching the halfway point. He already got Miami a title. He needs to think what is best for his career. Miami is a great city, but lately the franchise has not shown the ability to put playmakers around one of the NBA's best. Wade needs to see this and not the wheelbarrow of money Pat Riley and Co. will offer him.

Dwyane Wade needs to sign with the Chicago Bulls.

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