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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Will Dwyane Wade's health end the run of the Heat's Big Three?

By on 4/02/2014 08:30:00 AM

After 73 games, the Heat finally find themselves in familiar territory - first place in the Eastern Conference. But championship or not, Miami's 'Big Three' will be forced to talk come seasons end. They all have the option to opt-out of their contracts in the summer and pursue a future elsewhere. But between the three of them it's a meeting that has yet to happen. A conversation such as that is likely to transpire before their June 30th opt-out deadlines, which allows them to leave any of the next three seasons. 

The question is - with Dwyane Wade (32), LeBron James (29) and Chris Bosh (30) approaching the end of their primes, will the three still be able to win championships?

At this point in their careers all the personal accolades and achievements have been seemingly met. And the only thing worth chasing now is championships. James has come out and said he will make his decision based on the best place for him to win a title. Whether that's Miami or not is yet to be certain.

Now Wade on the other hand is in a slightly different situation. He's older, he's suffering from chronic knee issues and he's clearly not getting any healthier. But maybe more important than all, he has been a Heat his entire career. It's his first home in the NBA, his current home and likely his last. Something James and Bosh cannot relate too. 

Pete Souza via Wikimedia Commons
"I'm at a position where I don't really have to worry about it . . . I've been with the same organization for now 11 years. We've won multiple championships, so it's no reason where I need to think about that yet. I'm not at a point where we are a bad team and I need to think about the future so right now I'm really focused on just enjoying this team, enjoying our quest to try to 'Three-peat.' And when the season is over, and whatever happens, then I will sit down and I will sit down with [Bosh] and I will sit down with [James] and I will sit down and make the best decision for myself and my family." said Wade yesterday during an interview for an ESPN cover magazine
Miami is approaching rare feats with the 2013/14 season coming to an end. They can become the first team since the 1985 Lakers to play in four straight finals. And with the Pacers falling apart before our eyes - it's looking like it will again be Miami's year in the East. 

But as good as the Heat have been the past four seasons, we know that all good things must eventually come to an end. And as close as Wade, James and Bosh have been the past years. All three must make a decision that's best for them and best for their basketball careers. 
"When we sat down and we signed our deals and all of us made sure we had an opt out in that fourth year, that was our option, so the option is there and you would hope that someone wants to be able to use their option as a player," Wade said
With only nine games remaining on the schedule the Heat sit atop the Eastern Conference with record of 51-22. And regardless of who they play - if they have home-court advantage in the East during the playoffs - it will be very hard to win four games against this team.

Wade has sat out 22 games this season due to injury and precautionary reasons. He has missed the last three games due to a hamstring injury and his status is uncertain for the week ahead. His minutes and numbers are decreasing and so is his time as an NBA superstar. So will that be the biggest issue regarding the Big Three's decision come June? It very well might be.

Wade is due $42 million over the next two years, which would be the most profitable contract years of his career. Clearly something he cannot shrug his head to. Since it is a possibility he can leave Miami this summer, it likely isn't probable. 


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