For NBA players and their partisan fans who hope to see the 2013-2014 Miami Heat deposed as champions, and as a result, disbanded, I have a message: cancel your dreams. Those who are envious of Heat success need not waste time relishing such a scenario. It ain't gonna happen.
It is true that Miami faces a stiff challenge getting back to the Finals for a fourth straight year, with Indiana and Brooklyn, and their imposing "bigs" standing in the way. But the Heat team as a whole is arguably better than last year and is still considered by most prognosticators as the team to beat. Miami's convincing season-opening win over the Chicago Bulls Tuesday evening reinforces that sentiment.
But whether or not the Miami Heat win their third consecutive championship, they will still be, a year from now, and beyond, the dominant force in the National Basketball Association.
Yes, there is, indeed, that new parity-producing luxury tax hanging like a dark cloud over teams with top talent, expensive talent, like Miami. And it is widely assumed that Miami can not possibly afford to keep together the big three of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh beyond this season.
All three can, and likely will, opt out of their contracts season's end and become free agents next summer. But that doesn't necessarily mean they are going anywhere.
While not challenging the owner of the Brooklyn Nets for the title of the league's biggest spender, Heat majority owner Mickey Arison has proven before he is no cheapskate, and he will undoubtedly pay anything, within reason, to keep his team intact. He has said that winning championships has been the most "exhilarating" thing in his life.
Expect his big three to take less, perhaps far less, from the Heat than they are offered elsewhere. It simply makes good sense for them to stay in Miami.
Stay together in Miami, and keep winning. Keep winning and keep getting lucrative endorsements. Stay in Miami and pay no state income tax -- Florida has none. Stay together and enjoy the game you love with teammates you've come to love.
Then there's the weather.. Lebron said recently he would never retire up north because of the winters, so why would he want to leave the Sunshine State.
After this season, there will be need to replenish the roster beyond the big three, as Miami has only one player, Norris Cole, signed beyond 2013-2014. But Pat Riley is a master at bringing in quality role players at bargain prices -- who want to play for a winner.
So for the foreseeable future, the Miami Heat could, and should, remain the team to beat. The rest of the league will have to deal with it.