The 2015-16 NBA Season starts soon, preseason hoops are in full swing, and playoff prognostications have begun in earnest. Since season previews can get bogged down by team-specific minutiae, and we cover every basketball team, we’re providing our readers reasons why you should care about all 30 teams in the Association.
The Heat are getting some heat in the preseason – the fun kind, like you get at the beach along the bay where northerners lap up the breeze and the SPF 30-plus sun. Godfather Pat Riley has reloaded impressively in the wake of LeBron’s second league-reshuffling decision, and now they’re legitimate threats to make some noise in the playoffs. They’re a top-4 seed when you look at their lineups, and Erik Spoelstra has the experience after four straight Finals appearances. There’s no more chatter of Riles coming down from the front office like in 2011. All this despite last year’s disappointment. Right now, the fans and the media are giving everyone a break after clots were thankfully spotted in time on Chris Bosh’s lungs.
Basketball fans can be happy that we’ll get to see Bosh and Wade team with some serious weapons, perhaps an arsenal that would have sated even James — though still without the homeyness of Cleveland’s sub-zero winters. As expected, they re-signed Goran Dragic, but the five-year deal (player option in the fifth) was for around $18 million less than a max. That’s how they afforded another year of Wade who made it seem like he’d be willing to play footsie with other teams after some public comments about the salary sacrifices he made to bring LeBron and Bosh aboard in the summer of 2010 had many wondering if he’d actually leave for elsewhere.
It’s a good thing for the Heat, and for Wade, that didn’t happen. There wasn’t much of a market for him, and he’s as much Miami Heat basketball as anyone ever to don the uniform.
But they got him for $20 million, Luol Deng smartly re-upped, Josh McRoberts is back from a torn meniscus that ruined all but his first month with the Heat last season; they signed Gerald Green for an incredibly palatable $1.3 million deal and they even got Justise Winslow at No. 10 in the draft. Everything’s turning up Riles!
Now we’ll see if Spoelstra can make it all work. Will all the mysteries surrounding this team — Dragic’s place in the offense, Bosh’s return, Wade’s health, Deng’s odometer and Whiteside’s maturity — all turn in their favor?