Originally Published: July 8, 2010

1. The Heat Land A King

By ESPN.com

Will the Miami Heat win the NBA title in 2010-11?

Henry Abbott, TrueHoop: There's no reason they couldn't. It's a one-out-of-thirty proposition. Which means you can be the best team in the NBA and still not make it out of random chance. It's like throwing a dart -- the best darts players in the world still miss quite often. So, if I had to bet on any single team I'd bet on the field.

But I assume they'll be able to get their hands on a center who can play reasonable defense and some shooters and say they'll be right there in the mix. They'll be there with the Lakers, Magic, Celtics and whoever emerges as the West's next big team with a real chance.

J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: No. Three is a great start, but it's not enough. Who will be their James Posey, their P.J. Brown, their Derek Fisher? Need some savvy vets and depth before I'm ready to proclaim them champions. Not better than the Magic yet, and the Celtics might be able to hold them off for a year.

Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN.com: Despite the fact that the restraints of the salary cap will force the Heat to assemble a menagerie of spare parts around their three superstars, they must be considered the favorites to win the 2010-11 title. Until further notice, NBA defenses are allowed only five players on the floor during live play. Miami will have three players who demand double teams when situated at their favorite spots on the floor. Even if the defense gives both minimum-contract players on the floor the full Rondo treatment, it can't possibly blunt a full assault from the troika. If that's not enough, Wade and James, at the respective wing spots, will compose the most stifling perimeter defensive tandem in the league.

Chad Ford, ESPN.com: I think they'll make it out of the East. Whether they can beat the Lakers remains to be seen. Clearly they have the best threesome we've seen in the league ... but until we know more about how the Heat can fill out the roster, it's premature. Good role players at the minimum are hard to come by. I expect Orlando and Boston to put some heat on them in the East. Possibly the Bulls, too, depending on how they fill out their roster. In the West, I think it remains the Lakers all the way.

John Hollinger, ESPN.com: Certainly they're contenders, but I think it's unlikely they'll actually win. The Heat will have to contend with two teams in particular -- Orlando and the Lakers -- that they seem unlikely to match up well against. Against Orlando, Miami has no size to contend with Dwight Howard, and in the past two postseasons the only teams that stood a chance against the Magic had seven-footers who could match up with the Magic's behemoth.

Against the Lakers, the Heat would have a shortage of quality depth in the frontcourt to match up with L.A.'s myriad weapons (Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom), and of course Ron Artest is about as good a LeBron James defender as you could design if you were building from scratch.

Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com: No, I do not believe so. I think Lakers still have enough to knock them out in a seven-game series, particularly because of the size factor. Miami can't match up with Gasol/Bynum, especially if Bynum is back at 100 percent. Kobe can lock up Wade, Artest can get into LeBron's head more than the video of that burning Cavs. No. 23 jersey did.

Marc Stein, ESPN.com: No. Not unless you can assure me that multiple shooters and two serviceable big men are on the way in a hurry. But I give Pat Riley great odds of ultimately doing far better in his search for players to take low-dollar contracts than a lot of people expect, because he frankly deserves the benefit of the doubt after the coup he just pulled off.

Let's face it: No one in Miami is going to get a grace period after this saga, least of all LeBron. He just invited new levels of scrutiny for the rest of his career ... if that's even possible. But what was Riley supposed to do? Say no to a trio of Team USAers who are all under 30? You sign the three stars, then worry about the rest. If they haven't won it at all after two seasons, then start worrying.

Free Agency Dimes past: June 30 | July 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

2. LeBron Breaks Hearts In Cleveland

3. Is Miami A Title Team? Thorpe's Analysis

By Henry Abbott | TrueHoop

I was just listening to the sports talk radio in New York, and they had Donnie Walsh on. They were saying how amazing it was that even now, nobody has any idea where LeBron James is going. Walsh said he had all his spies out there, checking on this or that, and nobody knew.

I find that shocking.

As I have e-mailed all kinds of people over the last few days, I could not believe more strongly that LeBron James is going to Miami. Chad Ford and I reported something pointing in that direction yesterday, and Chris Broussard made the point far clearer today. If it's a secret where he's going, it's hardly a very well-kept secret. (Broussard's story has more than 8,500 comments at the moment.)

In my mind, what's left to wonder about now is: How's that going to work? What does a LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh team look like? Are they going to eat all of the Heat's available cap space, or are they going to leave some crumbs to attract better-than-the-minimum teammates?

These are questions for David Thorpe. I asked him to engage his big basketball mind to help us picture what this might look like on the court. His thoughts:

To read the entire blog entry, click here.

4. Daily Dime Live Wrap

ESPN.com writers and TrueHoop Network bloggers are chatting with fans, giving their opinions about free agency -- all in Daily Dime Live.


You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?