Best Trade (Sports Team) (2006)

The Heat's Gutting

The Miami Heat has demonstrated once again that all a team needs to win in the NBA are two superstars and about six or eight warm, giant bodies. That formula almost took the Heat to the league finals last summer. But then 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 club's best-ever team, but not Pat Riley. Gone this year are Keyon Dooling, Damon Jones, Eddie Jones, and Rasual Butler. In are Gary Payton, Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, and James Posey. Now Posey is a no-frills workman and fine to have aboard. Payton, Walker, and Williams are all oversize niche talents (Payton, defense; 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? They're among a half-dozen teams that have a legitimate shot. Even if they don't, this playoff meltdown should be nothing short of nuclear, a guilty joy to behold.


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