Commentary

The Heat's future title odds

Even if this season is lost, Miami's championship chances look bright

Originally Published: November 9, 2011
By Tom Haberstroh | ESPN Insider
HeatAP Photo/David J. PhillipThe Heat have the Big Three locked up for several more seasons.

Are some owners trying to stick it to the Miami Heat for their summer of 2010 haul? That's how some observers interpret the lockout's continued irresolution, a viewpoint fueled by Heat owner Micky Arison and his condemned tweets last month.

Why would fellow owners conspire to do such a thing? Jealousy comes to mind. In one fell swoop, the Heat managed to accomplish what every organization strives to do: build a perennial championship contender within the confines of a salary cap. This was a double whammy for other teams. By locking up three stars in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Heat president Pat Riley not only assembled the makings of a dynasty but also kept those stars away from others.

If some teams feel they can't stop the Heat from winning a title on the court, maybe they feel they can do something about it off the court. The truth is that no team is better suited to construct a dynasty than the Heat. And if this season is wiped out thanks to the lockout, that's one less parade through Biscayne Boulevard that other teams would have to worry about.

The Heat were two wins -- or perhaps two average LeBron James performances -- from hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy last season. Instead, the mighty Dallas Mavericks were the ones showering themselves with iced champagne. Although the Heat were widely considered the favorites to win it all, the debut season of Miami's Big Three ended without a title.

However, even though they came up short last season, they would be favorites again in Year 2. Look around the league and you'll see that uncertainty clouds the immediate future of the other contenders.