Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss whether Miami Heat President Pat Riley should bring back the core players from his two-time reigning NBA champion team. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment of your own.
Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times
As tempting as it might be to make a significant roster move with the rest of the NBA closing in on the Heat, it would also be a public relations nightmare and a touch disingenuous to break up the core of the team before it proves that it can't win another NBA title. Miami's star trio has been to the Finals in each of its years together, making it a Big Three for three, and has won a title the last two seasons.
It would be easier to stay with this team and fail than to make changes and wonder what might have been had a team that was already assembled simply stayed together.
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune
Pat Riley absolutely should bring back the Heat's core, and not just because he trademarked the "three-peat" term. Winning championships in any sport is difficult and rare. So when you have a core that has done so twice, management almost owes it to those players, the franchise and its fans to let it ride. Make another team prove it can beat you.
That’s not to say Riley should sacrifice the future. But he’s as shrewd an executive as there is in the league. He knew when he pulled the greatest free-agency coup in league history in 2010 that the core would have a shelf life. Three straight trips to the Finals and a chance at a three-peat isn’t too shabby and then, who knows what will happen if the Heat three-peats?
Even if LeBron James opts out in 2014, one would have to believe Riley’s massive skills of persuasion could entice James into a sign-and-trade so that the Heat wouldn’t be left with nothing. In the meantime, keep the core intact and take the best shot.
Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel
The Heat's biggest need apparently is for a full-time party planner.
Actually, the two-time champs could use a more serviceable big man (to help counter Indiana's 7-1 Roy Hibbert again) and a veteran dribble-drive two-guard who can spell Dwyane Wade during the regular season.
The Heat need to find a way to get D-Wade and his knees through the regular season, saving him for the playoffs.
The Heat have LeBron, nobody else does and that only calls for a tweak here and a tweak there.