Not to mimic the DirecTV commercial, but when you no longer can stomach wall-to-wall coverage NBA summer leagues, you start to scan through all that is written about free agency and those poised to challenge the Miami Heat. And when you start to read all that is out there about how vulnerable the Heat seemingly stand, you start to question how Ian Clark got away. And when you start to question how Ian Clark got away, you start checking around to see if the Heat still can lure Eric Griffin, James Nunnally or Michael Dunnigan back from their summer-league roster.
So don't watch archived replays of summer league. Instead, step back, take a reasoned view of the Eastern Conference (which hardly had the type of renaissance that the West did with Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets, Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors and Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers), and appreciate that little truly has changed when it has come to the Heat's challengers.
Even before the start of free agency, before the Brooklyn Nets purchased the soul of the Boston Celtics' roster and also got Andrei Kirilenko for rubbles on the dollar, before the Indiana Pacers picked up their complementary pieces, before the Chicago Bulls redesigned their bench, the players that mattered most in the 2013-14 challenge to the Heat already were in place.
Ultimately, the bid to prevent a fourth consecutive Heat trip to the NBA Finals comes down to the same protagonists as previously: Deron Williams, Roy Hibbert/Paul George, Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony. Everything else? Window dressing.
The Nets-cape: To a degree, even with all the Nets have done with the additions of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, Kirilenko and other spare parts, it comes down to whether Williams can recapture the quintessence that at one point has us debating whether he or Chris Paul was the top point guard in the game.
Since those days, Rose, Rajon Rondo and Kyrie Irving not only have entered the equation, but to some degree surpassed Williams. The Heat's weaknesses are perceived at point guard and center, which means the ultimate Nets challenges have to come from Williams and Brook Lopez, particularly Williams.
The Pace-makers: Why is Frank Vogel always grinning? What does he know that we don't?
The smile (smirk?) was there again at the Orlando summer league, perhaps because his team had just re-upped David West, perhaps because he now has C.J. Watson as his backup point guard in place of D.J. Augustin, perhaps because Larry Bird promised him he would turn Danny Granger into something more complementary on the free-agent market, perhaps because he knew Luis Scola was on the way.
What it all comes down to, though, much like the Nets' situation, is what already was in place, namely Hibbert stringing together back-to-back career seasons and George moving from a Top 20 player to something closer to a Top 10 NBA talent.
Beyond that there is the issue of Carlos Boozer dealing with more rumors about a potential amnesty release, Joakim Noah proving he can stay healthy, and Rose being worked back into the rotation by a coach known for working his players into the ground.
Basically, it's all on Rose. Just like it previously was. The fact that this past week he said he considers himself the best player in the NBA only heightens the expectations.
Knick-knock: When Andrea Bargnani is the featured aspect of your offseason makeover, it's clear that there was no offseason makeover.
It was about Melo before; it's still about Melo.
Only this time around, it has to be about a more complete player, one who actually will share the ball, kick out to an unguarded Bargnani, one who needs to help restore Tyson Chandler's confidence, one who has to embrace Amare Stoudemire and even Metta World Peace.
Supporting players are nice. But the Heat did not win the 2013 title because of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They won because of LeBron James, just as the challenge to the Heat has to come from Williams, George/Hibbert, Rose and Anthony.
IN THE LANE
REASONED CHOICE: While Ian Clark could have emerged as an Eddie House-like luxury for the Heat, it's hard to begrudge the Heat summer-league standout instead signing with the Utah Jazz. As a matter of perspective, Utah currently features Alec Burks and Brandon Rush at shooting guard, with Gordon Hayward listed as a swingman by the Jazz. It's not exactly the same as lining up behind Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen and even James Jones. Clark, the undrafted 3-point specialist out of Belmont University, very well could get to play meaningful minutes with the tank-mode Jazz. With the Heat, he would have been Terrel Harris.
HEAT MODE: As we head into a season of LeBron-to-Cleveland speculation, the Cleveland Cavaliers already are working through their LeBron-like issues. Just as James and Wade proved too deferential during their initial season together, so, too did Dion Waiters believe there was the same dynamic last season alongside Kyrie Irving in Cleveland's backcourt. "It was, 'Your turn, my turn, your turn, my turn' and we can't play like that," Waiters told the Beacon-Journal this past week during USA Basketball training in Las Vegas. "Great players today, Dwayne is playing off LeBron and Russell Westbrook is playing off K.D. [Kevin Durant]. Every team has two players now, if you really watch it. If you're good, you can make it work. That's the bottom line."
CAVS, TOO: When the Heat last visited Cleveland, Irving skipped out on the Cavaliers' postgame fan-appreciation ceremony, creating question of his leadership going forward. At national-team training, Irving told the Beacon-Journal he has addressed those perceived flaws. "I had to re-evaluate myself and what I really want to become, or what I want to be known for," he said. "I don't want to be known as a guy who gives up games or takes plays off or anything like that." To a degree, though, Irving would have a right to be skeptical of the Cavs' intentions, casting him, for now, as the face of the franchise, while allowing rumors to persist of a push to have LeBron return next summer as the once-and-again face of the franchise.
LEBRON LAYOFF: Just as there will be plenty of speculation about LeBron's 2014 free-agency landing spot, so will speculation continue to the 2016 Brazil Olympics. Yes, there is nothing left to prove on the international scene, but there remains deep affection for Mike Krzyzewski. Without a deep playoff run in 2016, there are worse places to get a summer run than in Rio. Until then, it's all just speculation, even if LeBron comes out and rules out the Games. He is the one player who always should be allowed to change his mind. "If he wanted to play in a fourth, he's got a spot," USA Basketball czar Jerry Colangelo said of a fourth Olympic appearance by LeBron. "I never expected him to play in  Worlds." The greater concern would be Wade, with his troublesome knees, wanting to jump back in.
2. Brazilian centers on the Boston Celtics' roster, with free-agent acquisition Vitor Faverani this past week joining 2012 first-round pick Fab Melo, the Syracuse product out of Weston's Sagemont School.
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