The Miami Heat signed Luol Deng to a two-year, $20 million deal on Sunday afternoon. This comes days after re-signing Chris Bosh to a max deal that pays him like the highest paid player in the league. No doubt in the coming days Dwyane Wade will follow suit and stay with the only organization he has ever known in his pro career.
The real question is what does this do for the Heat? They aren’t one of the top three or four contenders in the East even after acquiring Deng and they certainly aren’t anywhere close to being a title contender. The wiser move would have been to rebuild by tearing it down and building back up again through the draft.
But Pat Riley is a too prideful and arrogant man to have the word “tank” in his vocabulary. Even after the best player in the world, LeBron James, left he has delusions of grandeur that the Heat can still compete in a watered down East.
Can this squad be a playoff team in a painfully weak Eastern Conference? Sure, but that is where the journey will end. They will struggle mightily to get out of the first round of the postseason unless Bosh all of a sudden transforms into a franchise player in the latter stages of his career.
That’s not happening. Bosh is best served as a second or third option on a team with championship aspirations, not the face of a franchise. Deng is a nice signing that will surely upgrade the Heat’s defensive acumen. He is an ace defender who can still get you 15 to 17 points per night.
The fact is that he is starting to break down too and has had injury concerns the past few seasons. He is also certainly no James. The Heat refuse to go through with a rebuild. Instead they have gone the route of toiling away in no man’s land. They’re not good enough to be a true contender and not bad enough to land in the high lottery and acquire a young superstar.
Good luck with that Miami.