Best Trade Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2006 - The Heat's gutting
The Heat has demonstrated once again that all a team needs to win in the NBA is two superstars and about six or eight warm, giant bodies to fill floor space. That formula almost took the Heat to its first finals appearance last summer, until a couple of dippy plays and Dwyane Wade's hurt ribs kept them from knocking off the defending champion Pistons. Most general managers would have locked in the principals from the club's best-ever team, but not Pat Riley. Out went Keyon Dooling, Damon Jones, Eddie Jones, and Rasual Butler. In came Gary Payton, Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, and James Posey. Now, Posey's a no-frills workman and fine to have aboard. Payton, Walker, and Williams are all oversized niche talents (Payton, once upon a time as a defender; Walker, making baskets; Williams, handling the ball like a yo-yo). They're also recovering malcontents, every one. Along with Alonzo Mourning, then, Wade and Shaquille O'Neal have an all-hothead supporting cast. Will the Heat win a title? The team is among a half-dozen teams who have a legitimate shot. Even if it doesn't, this playoff meltdown should be nothing short of nuclear, a guilty joy to behold.