Miami Heat: Attacking the Lazy Argument of Teams Buying Championships
Photo Credit: Mark Runyon, Basketball Schedule
Originally written for Bleacher Report
The Miami Heat didn’t buy their 2012 NBA championship any more than the Charlotte Bobcats bought their seven wins. Every team spends money how they see fit with the goal of competing for the title. There are just some teams that have built-in advantages.
There are many different reasons why free agents are drawn to cities like Miami, New York and Los Angeles. Let’s address a few of the reasons why the argument that it’s the owners or the NBA trying to “deliver” championships to these markets.
Better Place To Live
Let’s not forget that the NBA season is long and carries players directly through the winter. Would you rather move your family to Miami or Milwaukee? Not that Milwaukee isn’t a nice place to live but when given the opportunity I’d wager most people would want to live on the coast.
In the United States, our coastline provides 17 percent of the area yet houses 53 percent of the population. That’s saying something.
Let’s be totally honest here. If Jeremy Lin was on the Utah Jazz, would he be nearly the draw that he is on the New York Knicks? Of course not.
Players play basketball for the love of the game but they also want to maximize their earning potential while they can. Teams like the Knicks, Heat, Bulls and Lakers have built-in fan bases that provide the opportunity for players to make a lot more money than if they played for the Bucks, Jazz or Pacers.
Players Follow The Winning Franchises
This is a major point because players want to go where winning is a yearly possibility. For years, the Los Angeles Clippers had all of the same advantages of the Lakers with the exception of a winning history.
When Chris Paul and Blake Griffin teamed up, it was just a matter of time before veterans joined them to create the contender that they have become.
Don’t you think LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are desirable teammates?
An Easy Decision For Veteran Free Agents
A lot has been made about Ray Allen‘s decision to join the Heat. He’s not the first veteran to join another franchise for less money because he feels the opportunity for a championship is greater.
Let’s think about another industry for a minute. If you had some sort of desk job and you made plenty of money over your career, wouldn’t you want to find the cushiest job you could for the last few years? Of course you would. So would basketball players.
But That’s Not Fair!
As a lifelong Timberwolves fan, I agree that it’s disheartening when marquee free agents don’t even consider signing in certain markets regardless of the money being offered. But, teams have to do their part to change the culture of their franchise.
Is Oklahoma City a premiere destination for free agents? How about San Antonio
Yet somehow, they’ve created a winning culture through savvy drafting and trades. Because they’ve created that strong base, they can compete for free agents that other franchises couldn’t dream of signing.
The Bottom Line
While the coastal teams have built-in advantages, it’s not impossible for other teams to compete for free agents and NBA titles. They just have to be smarter than the other franchises.
The NBA didn’t arrange for the Heat to win the 2012 title. They didn’t buy it from anyone and didn’t steal it. If you’re a fan of another team and want to be mad at someone, be mad at the fact your management team did a poor job of creating a winning culture that could have attracted better players.
I wear many hats. I will become a father for the first time in July 2013. My work career started as an umpire, evolved to a blackjack dealer and has settled as a sportswriter. You could say I'm used to getting yelled at. I love me some Minnesota Timberwolves but currently call Phoenix home. I'm an eight handicap and a terrible leaper.