I know you are going to be shocked by this, but here comes another Dubsism rant that flies in the face of popular opinion and the bilge being pumped out by ESPN.
First, let’s be magnanimous. The Heat won their second straight NBA Championship last night, and for that, I only have one word. Congratulations. Winning a title in any professional league is tough enough; winning consecutive championships is tougher than getting through an afternoon with your in-laws while simultaneously battling a toothache and hemorrhoidal flare-up.
Secondly, let’s be honest. This accomplishment has the Lebron-ists at ESPN in full throat, both figuratively and literally. My feelings about the World Wide Bottom-Feeder are only a secret to those who have never read this blog; all you have to do is look at the contents of my “ESPN” tag to understand that. All morning, the World Wide Bottom Feeder has been having yet another LeBron-gasm, and there’s one big thing I’ve heard that I just can’t let go unchallenged. For some reason in this country, we have this compulsive need to overstate things. What is happening this morning with LeBron James and the Heat is the perfect example, and ESPN isn’t the only guilty party.
So far this morning, I’ve heard the “LeBron is the greatest of all-time” get progressively louder; I can ignore them because I’ve already destroyed that argument. I’ve heard a lot of stuff about how this could be the end of the San Antonio Spurs. That might be true, after all we all know time moves forward, and no team has more time behind them than San Antonio. But we’ve been hearing that for years now, and it still hasn’t happened. After all that, the one thing I’m hearing today that I have to challenge is the notion that the Miami Heat are now a dynasty.
Bullshit…unequivocal, uncut, flies-circling-it bullshit.
This is just the media getting carried away with itself, because to say the Heat are now a dynasty ignores three undeniable facts.
1) Even thought the definition of “dynasty” is subjective, the Heat still don’t meet it.
I’ll admit that I’m a very “old-school” guy when it comes to definitions, and that of “dynasty” is no exception. When you say “dynasty” to me, I picture the Minneapolis Lakers who won 5 championships in 6 seasons. I picture the Boston Celtics who won 11 titles between 1957 and 1970. I picture the 1980’s, where there were only two teams not named the Lakers or the Celtics to win an NBA title.
But since then, several factors have changed the NBA, and therefore have changed what a “dynasty” is. Those factors include “big-money free-agency,” league expansion, and the influx of foreign players Let’s look at what I would call NBA “dynasties” since those factors came into play:
- The Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls – six titles in eight seasons.
- The Kobe Bryant-era Los Angeles Lakers – five titles in eleven seasons.
- The Tim Duncan-era San Antonio Spurs – four titles in nine seasons.
Now, you can look at the list of NBA champions and say that last night’s win gave the Heat their third NBA Championship in eight seasons, which is true. At best, taking that consideration only puts the Heat on the cusp on the conversation. they would still need to win again next year to match the Spurs accomplishment.
But even if the Heat three-peat, I would not consider them to be a “dynasty” for one big reason. Every other team I’ve mentioned here as a “dynasty” has one thing in common. During their dynasty years (with the sole exception of the Boston Celtics of the 80s who are also arguably not a “dynasty”), they all had the same coach and the same star player.
- Minneapolis Lakers: Coach, John Kundla; Star Player, George Mikan
- Boston Celtics of the 60s: Coach, Red Auerbach; Star Player, Bill Russell
- Los Angeles Lakers of the 80s Coach, Pat Riley; Star Player, Magic Johnson
- Boston Celtics of the 80s: Coaches Bill Fitch & K.C. Jones; Star Player Larry Bird
- Chicago Bulls: Coach, Phil Jackson; Star Player, Michael Jordan
- San Antonio Spurs: Coach Gregg Popovich; Star Player, Tim Duncan
That means that for purposes of calling the Heat a “dynasty” means the 2006 NBA Championship can’t be counted because the head coach of that team was Stan Van Gundy (who was fired mid-season in favor of Pat Riley), and the star player was Dwyane Wade. The current consecutive NBA champs are a team which is coached by Eric Spoelstra and revolves around LeBron James.
2) This team may not survive long enough to meet even the lowest definition of “dynasty.”
Lets say the Heat “three-peat” in 2014. I have a hard time calling a “three-peat” the sole requirement for a “dynasty,” because there needs to be a time factor associated with being a “dynasty.” The NFL gives the best example of this. Had the New England Patriots, won either of the two Super Bowls, they would be called a “dynasty” because they would have won four championships in either a seven or eleven year period. “Three-peats” or going three out of four doesn’t get you the “dynasty” tag because in the era of free-agency era, six years seems to be the bare-minimum time period considered to be “dynasty”-worthy. The Dallas Cowboys of the early 1990’s won three Super Bowls in four years just like the Patriots did, and both are not called “dynasties” as a matter of common practice. But the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970’s who won four Lombardi Trophies in six season are.
There seems to be a criteria set out for being called a “dynasty” and it seems to be best exemplified by either the San Antonio Spurs or the Joe Montana-era San Francisco 49ers, who each won four titles in a nine-season spam. The “dynasty” period is measured by the first and last championship, it has to be at least six years long (ostensibly because the “useful” part of star-player contracts are almost never longer than that), you must have won a significant number of championships in that time, and in the years you didn’t win, you still had to be amongst the leagues’ elite. So, if the Brady/Belichick Patriots win another super Bowl before the end of their era, they are a “dynasty” in my book, and they don’t then they aren’t.
So, what the hell does that have to do with the Heat? It’s actually rather simple. For me to consider this team a “dynasty,” they have to remain one of the league’s best team for at least four more years, and they have to win at least two more championships in the next four years.
That begs the question as to what this team will look like in four years. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all have early-termination options in their contracts at the end of the 2015 season, and player options for no less than $21.6 million each at the end of 2016. That means that right now, the projections have the amount of salary owed to the “Big Three” in 2015 to be right around $65.3 million, and the salary cap for that season is expected to be approximately $62 million. But since it’s a soft cap, the threshold before a team has to pay the “luxury tax” should be about $76 million.
To make a long story short, one of the “Big Three” isn’t going to be around in 2016, because the Heat need to pay nine other players. Not to mention, they are going to need to deal with the fact that Dwyane Wade is in the back-end of his career and his knees are only getting worse, Chris Bosh is a ten-year vet who starting to show some signs of “big-guy” wear and tear, and that at the end of his current contract, LeBron James will be at the end of his 13th NBA season in a league where finding guys who contribute past twelve seasons is rare.
Couple that with the fact that as of right now, the Heat are $26 million over the salary cap, and the one thing that becomes certain is that this team is going to have a fair amount of different faces by the time we get to the “dynasty” deadline.”
3) There’s way too much competition out there.
Not only are the Heat quietly getting old, but there is some serious young competition on the rise. The Chicago Bulls, who were as beat up as Tina Turner after Ike got a bad eight-ball, took the Heat to six games. They are only going to get better. The Pacers, who are younger than Gary Glitter’s choices in a Vietnamese brothel, took the Heat to seven games. They are only going to get better.
And that’s just in the East. This past play-off season showed that there is a changing of the guard happening in the West. There’s a youth movement driving teams like the Golden State Warriors, The Denver Nuggets, the Memphis Grizzlies, and most importantly, the Oklahoma City Thunder. We must not forget that the entire complexion of this play-off season changes with the presence of a healthy Russell Westbrook.
Here’s another spot where I must be fair. I have to give props to ESPN’s Kurt Rambis because he said a lot of the things I’ve pointed out in this piece. That’s why he is likely bound and gagged in a basement somewhere under ESPN’s compound in Bristol, Connecticut. The problem is that the ESPNazis can’t silence everybody.