With the Chicago Bulls visiting South Beach, LeBron James and the Miami Heat thought it would be a good idea for the reigning NBA MVP to get some rest. After all, he had just gotten rocked in the face a few days before, resulting in a broken nose. So, with the less-threatening Bulls team in town, James turned over the controls to his sidekicks, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Sunday afternoon’s game proved to be more than just a regular season meeting between these two Eastern Conference teams. Yes, it wasn’t exactly the most exciting game that has ever been played with Miami taking care of business, 93-79, but the game may have foreshadowed next season and may prove to be an omen of the future.
You might be asking yourself, “How could a meaningless regular season game have a meaning deep enough to earn the usage of the words ‘foreshadow’ and ‘omen’?” Well, that is because at the conclusion of this season, James and his fellow counterparts have to ability to opt-out of their contracts, ending the existence of the “Big 3.” I find it hard to believe that either Wade or Bosh would opt-out of their contracts. It is highly unlikely that they would land bigger deals elsewhere, but James could be on his way out of town.
Sunday gave us a glimpse of how Bosh and Wade would play with one another if there was no “King James.” They proved that, unlike the Cleveland Cavaliers, there would be life after LeBron. The two combined for 51 points and 20 rebounds. Both recorded double-doubles and Wade added seven assists to boot. Bosh even took a season-high nine three-pointers, cashing in on four of them.
It was an impressive performance from a duo that has been lost in the massive shadow of James. More importantly, it was a big confidence booster for them both and even the team. They were able to look themselves in the mirror and realize that James is not everything. They can win and be a force without the league’s best player. Let’s face it; Chicago is not a bad team and has a rather tough frontcourt to deal with. Miami handled them masterfully in James’ absence.
I’m not saying that Pat Riley should just let James walk away this summer. Of course the franchise should scratch, claw and fight all they have to to retain James. However, should things go awry this offseason and James does flee South Beach, the Heat could still have a bright, short-term future with Wade and Bosh. I can guarantee it won’t be a Cleveland situation all over again because the Miami organization is much smarter.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantSports, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.