I still remember that day. July 6th, 2016. The weather was great that day; you could feel summer really kicking in. Then, at 1:27 PM, I get a notification on my phone; it’s a tweet from Dwyane Wade. I dropped everything and frantically tapped the screen, thinking that it would simply be a confirmation to what was already thought: that the 305 would continue being Wade County. What I read, however, was a complete 180° of what I believed to be true.
It’s been just under two months since Dwyane Wade took his talents back to the city of Chicago and, subsequently, ripped out the collective hearts of the Miami Heat fan base. The 13-year vet left the only team he ever played for without an identity. The fact that their only legitimate superstar is battling a career-threatening disease doesn’t help, either. And so, as the Miami Heat find themselves in complete disarray, one must pose the question:
The first thing the Miami Heat should do is to look around. Yes, I said look around. Because let’s be honest: as the Eastern Conference continues upward (and they simultaneously get less talented), they should commit to a rebuild. And I’m not talking about one of those Chicago Bulls-esquerebuilds, I’m talking about committing to a full rebuild, a slightly Lakers-esque one.
Now, I know that the man pulling the strings, the Godfather himself, is not celebrated for his rebuilding prowess. After all, “The Big Three” and “Pat lands Shaq” have much better rings to their name. However, Pat’s the man that laid his eyes on the man now known as “Father Prime” in ’03 AND got the steal of the 2015 NBA Draft in Justise Winslow. That only goes to show how good an all-around General Manager he is; he didn’t get the name for nothing.
In order to jumpstart the process (shout out to Sam Hinkie), the first order of business should be finding Goran Dragic a new home. While he has been solid (even good, to a degree) during his tenure in Miami, there is the fact that he was brought on to be a piece on a different team, one with championship aspirations. And as the Youth Movement (led by sophomores Justise Winslow, Jason Richardson, and Tyler Johnson) starts getting its groove, it looks like he’s the odd man out.
Finding a trade partner should be fairly easy, given that he’s a seasoned vet with 13 years of basketball under his belt and just two years removed from the best year of his career. A team like, say, the Philadelphia 76ers, who have an abundance of assets and a need for stability at the guard spots, could be persuaded into biting the bullet. The Houston Rockets could also be a potential suitor, although they lack the future assets the ‘Sixers possess.
In the end, one thing is abundantly clear: The Miami Heat are not title contenders. For the sake of their road back to contention, they should embrace the road in front of them instead of trying to stop the bleeding with a couple of Band-Aids. Being mediocre wouldn’t do the Miami Heat culture justice.