Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

July 13, 2010

Don't hand over NBA title just yet

Bryan Helvie
The Herald-Tribune

--- — The mere mention of LeBron James and free agency is getting old or should I say got old real fast. The sports media did it again. Or should I say ESPN did it again. Too much LeBron all the time. The same was true for the Tiger Woods saga. The media followed the free agency of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to the point of overkill. And to top it all off with a one-hour special just to tell us where James chose to make his millions next season was just a bit more than I needed. The capture of Osama Bin Laden probably won’t get the same amount of coverage. Quite frankly, if I was another player in the league or a team not in the running for the services of the “King,” I would be offended. These three players seem to believe they can take an assortment of “others” and compete for a title. Even more impressive, the management and ownership of the Miami Heat feels it prudent to dump nearly the entire salary allotment into three players. Injuries never happen now, do they! It seems to me the Heat are sacrificing the team concept in an effort to buy a championship with an investment in three players. Seems like quite a compliment to the Los Angeles Lakers and a slap in the face to the other 20-plus teams in the league trying to formulate winning combinations. But if you look around the league, a couple other teams are using (or have used) similar tactics, but just not to the same scale, or under the same spotlight, as the Heat. Most recently, the Celtics pulled a similar stunt by adding Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to a roster built around Paul Pierce. The Celtics just added Jermaine O’Neal. Good luck with that ... Wade must not have thought him worthy to play another year in Miami and we all know how well it went with the Pacers and Raptors. Then you have a team like the New York Knicks try to buy their way out of the cellar, but still can’t get the job done. I bet the fact they overpaid Amare Stoudemire hurts a little now they could not lure James to the Big Apple. I personally think the Bulls may benefit in the long run by not getting James in the sweepstakes. The addition of Carlos Boozer to an already solid team will keep them in the mix for next season. For the most part, the majority of the teams do not have the resources to pull off this type of a move or choose not to allocate their funds in such a way. Where does it leave teams like the Indiana Pacers? Probably around the .500 mark and playing for one of the final three or four playoff spots. Sure, teams like the Heat, Lakers and Celtics will draw a lot of attention. At least the Lakers and Celtics have earned their spot by winning recent NBA championships. Let’s not just hand over the championship to the Heat just yet. The last time I looked there were still some formidable teams out there – San Antonio, Orlando (the other team in Florida), Denver, Phoenix, Utah and Chicago, to name a few. How sweet would it be to see a team like the Pacers, Bucks, Warriors, Clippers, Grizzlies, Hornets, Wizards, Mavericks, Hawks, Pistons, Thunder, Timberwolves, Nets, Knicks, Kings, Trailblazers, Sixers, Raptors, Rockets, Cavaliers or Bobcats step up and compete for a title? But, really, none of them have a chance. The Heat have James, Wade and Bosh if you haven’t heard. They may not lose a game all season. (A hint of sarcasm if you did not get it.)