Tuesday , Aug , 07 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Miami Heat Already Have Third Star To Complement Shaquille O’Neal & Dwyane Wade?

This brings us to the Heat. They won the 2006 NBA Title with two superstars, Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade, and a rotating third star. Last year, O’Neal and Wade were hurt and the third star disappeared. End result: they got swept in the opening round of the playoffs …

The South Florida Sentinel reports on the Heat’s failure to find a third star: 

Davie Dwyane Wade knows there is a paradox at work in the Heat’s desire to help him.

The Heat hasn’t met its goal of acquiring a proven third scorer to lessen the burden on Wade, and it doesn’t appear that will happen. Yet it’s the burden of Wade’s contract extension, which starts in the fall, that makes it difficult to get him major help under the NBA’s salary system.

Wade ($12.5 million) and Shaquille O’Neal ($20 million) take up a huge chunk of the Heat’s payroll. Jason Williams ($8.9 million) and Antoine Walker ($8.3 million) account for most of the rest.

My Quick Take:  The proved three stars are better than two. , , and showed that balanced teams win NBA Titles.

The Spurs victory, combined with the Wolves and Lakers’ struggles, killed the old idea that one or two mega-stars is enough to win. Trios are the new rage. And the Celtics and Rockets spent the summer copying the Spurs’ three-star system.

This brings us to . They won the 2006 NBA Title with two superstars, and , and a rotating third star. Last year, O’Neal and Wade were hurt and the third star disappeared. End result: they got swept in the opening round of the playoffs.

Miami has spent the summer chasing free agents to fill the third scorer role. But South Beach has little to offer due to their salary cap position, so free agents have opted for richer paydays with other teams.

My advice: the Heat should re-examine what they already have on the roster. Two or three players are legitimate third star candidates:

  • Udonis Halsem can serve as a Horace Grant type of blending player. He can easily average double-figure points and rebounds. Maybe even fifteen points a game with his work ethic.
  • was brought-in to be that third star. He’s been an all-star. He’s even been The Guy on some competitive Celtic squads. But the shoulder-shimmy has to play like a third star on a night-in, night-out basis.
  • Forget that White Chocolate nonsense. Forget that clip of flipping on a reporter in Memphis. He’s led the NBA in assists to turnovers; he even earned the respect of old school sideline boss Hubie Brown. Williams, if healthy, is a solid, top-ten point guard.

The Heat should re-consider what they already have on the roster. They could be overlooking the obvious answer to their third star-woes.

What should the Heat do for a third scorer? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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