NEWS: Miami’s Dwyane Wade is out for the rest of this season due to lingering pain in his left knee.
CONSPIRACY: As good as Shawn Marion is, the Heat would rather he opted out of his contract this summer so they can use his $17 million cap number to chase ’08 free agents like Josh Smith, Andre Iguodala, Emeka Okafor and Elton Brand — guys who are all younger than Matrix and won’t have any problems not being The Man in D-Wade’s town. Since coming over from Phoenix, Marion has been putting up good numbers and developing a chemistry with Wade, which, despite the losing, might be enough to convince him to stick around and not exercise his player-option. So what can Miami do to make Marion think harder about leaving? Lose some more, and lose in a bad way. So all of a sudden Wade is out for the season, and Pat Riley is taking a “scouting trip” while leaving the Heat assistants in charge of game-day decisions for a while. Now Marion isn’t just the #1 option, he’s the only option. Miami, while losing games, wins either way; Marion either gets fed up and opts out, or he will at least have seen that it’s not all biscuits and gravy when you’re the top guy and will adjust his attitude going into next season if he’s still playing with Wade.