The end of the 'Big Three'?

The model used to build the Heat, Lakers is proving to be a risky one

Updated: May 20, 2012, 10:44 AM ET
By Tom Haberstroh | ESPN Insider
Miami Heat Big 3Gustavo Caballero/Getty ImagesThe curtain could drop on Miami's Big Three before a single banner is ever hung.

Is the "Big Three" model a broken blueprint?

If you take a hard look at the current NBA landscape, it certainly seems that way. The Miami Heat are struggling to beat the balanced Indiana Pacers. The Los Angeles Lakers are in danger of failing to reach the Western Conference finals for the second straight season. The New York Knicks didn't even see Game 6 before bowing out again in the first round.

The Heat have 60 percent of their payroll dedicated to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the sixth-highest share of any trio in the league. Over in Los Angeles, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant make up 68 percent of the team's total salary. New York's trio of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire hogs the largest percentage of a team's payroll in the NBA (77 percent), and the Knicks sputtered out of the playoffs in a New York minute.

All three teams have dedicated an enormous chunk of their payroll to three players. All three teams have fallen short of expectations so far.

Is this a signal that going all-in on three players is a flawed formula in today's NBA?


To read why the "Big Three" model could be unsustainable in the future, sign up and become an ESPN Insider.