The Heat season is officially upon us again, and judging by the very small sample size thus far, Miami will go 82-0 and Dwyane Wade will finally secure the MV3. Most experts have them finishing fourth or fifth in the division and either barely making or missing the playoffs.
There are many story lines facing the Heat this season: Will D-Wade leave after this season? Will Beasley perform post-rehab? Will off-season additions Quinten Richardson and Carlos Arroyo supply enough depth to compete in the now-stacked East? Will the team still be haunted by the slow, stilted mummy wearing a Jermaine O'Neal jersey last year?
We at The Juice wanted to put together some sort of preview for this young season. Instead of the dry "Here's your starting line-up. Here are the big games. Here's a mediocre prediction we'll back away from soon" type of preview, we did a little (imaginary) investigating and found a list of five super-secret, extra-special goals team president Pat Riley has for the upcoming season.
What you won't find on this list are items like: "Sign Dwyane Wade." Because that's no secret at all.
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Pat Riley secretly wishes:
1) Mario Chalmers won't share his weed with Michael Beasley
So both players have a history with it. Not an enormous problem in this league, honestly. When Chalmers was busted in rookie orientation though, that was pretty much the end of the story. Right about the time Beasley accidentally posted a photo of himself with a suspicious baggy, he was reportedly visiting an inpatient rehab program in Houston. This could pose a problem in the land of vice.
2) The rolls of bandages covering Jermummy O'Neal will fall away to reveal...
Alonzo Mourning! Rawwrrr! Zo did sign on with the front office in the off season, and there are reports that he's been mentoring Udonis Haslem. O'Neal, going into his 14th season, looked dreadful last year. He says he was hurt and that this year he'll be back to his six-time all-star form. This is where not getting Carlos Boozer might hurt most.
3) Dwyane Wade will meet the scientist from Multiplicity
Michael Keeton did it circa 1996 when he needed to spend more time with his wife, Andie MacDowell, while still working, fathering, and golfing. You just know Riley would feed all the children in South Florida to Jermummy O'Neal just for the chance at getting Wade into that geneticist's office for an old-fashioned Hollywood-style cloning. If the movie is any indicator, everything would go well for a while, then hilarity, then trouble, then all the clones drive off in a car together and the retarded one wants to eat a dolphin.
4) Not only will D-Wade sign, but Olympic teammates Lebron James and Chris Bosh will join him in Miami
So if Coach Slick can't clone Wade this season, he will have to have some secret way of surprising the entire NBA and convincing all the big names in 2010 free agent market to come live on South Beach and make the Heat the most dominant franchise of all time. A regular season dream team. It's going to take a lot more than Beasley's unused weed to make this happen though. I'm thinking large-scale blackmail.
5) He will again be head coach just in time for the playoffs
Even if he can only blackmail one major star after somehow convincing Wade not to leave for Chicago or New York (or Cleveland), the Heat will be a favorite to get to the conference finals. Riley has a history of stepping in just when the feast will be juiciest (not that anyone is complaining about the subsequent championship) and then stepping out just as fast when the skies go dark. Unfortunately these wishes seem more like pipe dreams, and the skies (at least around the Heat) will likely be cloudy and dark for a while.