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Last year's ranking: 25
Title track: 24
Fan relations: 21
Stadium experience: 43
Bang for the buck: 62
Well, LeBron James is gone. That's all there is to know, right? Not exactly. Pat Riley won't give up that easily. He re-signed two of the old Big Three -- Dwyane Wade took a pay cut, while Chris Bosh got a max deal -- and added wing Luol Deng through free agency. Then there's first-round pick Shabazz Napier, an experienced point guard, a position at which Miami has needed improvement, and the main cog on UConn's 2014 national title team. Let's face it: LeBron's production is irreplaceable, but there's still South Beach to soothe everyone's pain. It's never all that bad in Miami.
Postcard scenery aside, the Heat are known as one of the league's most functional organizations, from Riley, who has been with the organization since 1995, to head coach Erik Spoelstra, the NBA's second-longest-tenured head coach. The cohesion shows, as the Heat rank no worse than No. 65 in any category, topping out at 16th in ownership thanks to the well-respected Micky Arison.
But the Heat always have work to do to entice a front-running fan base known for, among other things, prematurely leaving Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals before Ray Allen's game-tying 3-pointer. The organization literally plays chaperone with its "Bandwagon Bus" -- the irony a delicious side note, for sure -- that picks up suburban fans from, say, a central location in nearby Broward County and buses them to AmericanAirlines Arena. The perk for the team? The bus doesn't leave until 15 minutes after the game.
*Rankings were filed prior to LeBron James' departure.