It's safe to say our fascination with the Miami Heat, and in particular, LeBron James, won't be going anywhere anytime soon. After finishing one of the most compelling seasons in NBA history two victories short of an NBA championship, it would be foolish to tinker with things before the team maximizes their potential.
However, what if this won't work? If the new Big Three won't mesh and change is needed, who should be removed to acquire better pieces?
First thought goes to Chris Bosh, the oft-forgotten member of the Super Friends. Bosh doesn't quite have the toughness needed to coexist with Dwyane Wade and James. There's no doubt Bosh is one of the premier power forwards in the league, but he lacks the toughness that is needed in the paint.
If trading Bosh could provide the Heat with a formidable low-post stopper and rebounder as well as a third scorer to take his place, the Heat would have to listen. But it's unclear whether or not just Bosh could demand both those pieces.
You can count out Wade, whom Miami has adopted as their prodigal son, leaving one member left for discussion.
The King himself.
It's almost impossible to fathom a trade of the most talented player in the game, especially just one year after he made the Decision of a lifetime.
But what if the Heat stumble out of the gate again? What would happen if Erik Spoelstra and LeBron bump more than just shoulders early next season? Or what if James decides he has had enough of Wade's on-court verbal abuse, if it were to continue into next season? Could the Heat trade James, and if so, how could they possibly get anywhere near equal value for him?
The scenario was quickly brought up in Bill Simmons' B.S. Report, with guest Dan LeBetard, as they were trying to figure out what went wrong with the Heat.
Trade him straight-up for Dwight Howard.
Superman is in a super dilemma this season, similar to LeBron's last year in Cleveland. Howard was supposed to bring the Orlando Magic a championship, and like James, he came awfully close. However, no matter how many times Howard expresses his commitment to Orlando, he has yet to sign the offered extension and has confirmed he will test the free-agent market.
With little hope of re-signing Howard without a serious playoff run next season, the Magic may have to decide whether they want to go the Cavaliers route, or the Denver Nuggets route and trade their franchise's face, as Denver did with Carmelo Anthony.
If the Magic stumble out of the gate, it may be enough to push Howard toward leaving. If Magic general manager Otis Smith is forced to trade Howard one year after blowing up his team to try and keep him, it would surely be a one-way ticket out of Orlando for him to — unless he is able to grab the King in return.
As far as equal value goes, you can't get much closer than with this swap. Both are among the top five players in the game right now and in the top 10 for their position of all time. While LeBron may be historically better, Howard's defensive prowess puts him in an exclusive group of all-timers as well.
As far as the teams involved? The Heat would have to jump at the deal, as the combination of Wade, Bosh and Howard fits together much better than the current three.
The Magic are in a stickier situation. While bringing in LeBron would bring in plenty of publicity for a small-market team, the on-court ingredients don't quite go together. In fact, the only pieces that would work well are forwards Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass and guards Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick. The corpse of Gilbert Arenas would prevent LeBron from handling the ball on some possessions, while Hedo Turkoglu is basically the homeless man's version of LeBron (and that's a compliment).
As for the two players involved, Howard would relish the opportunity. Craving a larger market, he would get that in Miami as well as added publicity for becoming the biggest member of any Big Three.
LeBron, on the other hand, would be wondering if karma had bit him already, sending him to Florida's version of the Cavaliers. However, LeBron would only be there for a year-and-a-half or so, with a little-known opt-out clause three years into his deal.
Hitting the open market again, LeBron would have another opportunity to donate a lot more money to the Boys and Girls Club of America. And if The Hangover 2 can still open with a $100 million dollar weekend, then what would The Decision 2 bring in?
Would you trade LeBron James for Dwight Howard? Share your thoughts below.
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