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LeBron James In Miami Guarantees Nothing

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LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on one team? Sounds like an automatic championship to most observers. It's got to be hard, after all, to fail with two of the top-five players on your team alongside a legitimate star power forward. But fail is exactly what Chris Mannix would expect the Heat to do if LeBron signs on--at least in the first year.

But you make the point, even if those three guys sign, you're left with Mario Chalmers suddenly becomes the Rajon Rondo of the Miami Heat, where he sort of he's sort of an unknown commodity and he has to play exceptionally well for them to succeed. But the other problem is they don't have a Kendrick Perkins equivalent. There's no center down there. There's nobody down there. They're going to have to sign a Mikki Moore to play center for that position. They're going to have fill up the rest of the roster with veteran minimum salary players.

Mannix certainly has a point. With three huge contracts on the payroll, Miami would be extremely limited in their ability to sign players. As Mike Prada points out on, the Heat have actually forfeited their salary cap exceptions by being so far under the cap, leaving them only veteran minimum signings to fill out their roster.

They already have Mario Chalmers, who certainly doesn't need to be anything special to facilitate the offense, and if--and this is a big if--Michael Beasely buys into a bench role, he could be a valuable sixth man. But otherwise, they're going to be bereft of talent without some seriously charitable signings from outside. Anyone who watched Mikki Moore play for the Celtics know that he's not just weak--he's a liability. If the Cavaliers are forced to play someone of his caliber, they can expect opposing teams to go right at him constantly. That center would be the Achilles' heel that their big three do not have amongst themselves. Ditto the bench, which could be expected to give up leads with regularity against deeper, more balanced teams.

Mannix compares the prospective Heat to the '07-'08 Celtics, saying that they don't have their Rondo or their Perkins. But they don't necessarily need to be. As much as we'd like to think otherwise, Paul Pierce is not LeBron James. He has never been a top-two player in the league. Ray Allen was far from being Dwyane Wade. And while Chris Bosh is not Kevin Garnett, KG hasn't really been KG since he came to the Celtics. There really isn't a comparison to be made. The championship Celtics team was the combination of three aging stars on the fringe of their primes to try and put it all together for a run. They did so largely in thanks to an impressive supporting cast.

This Heat team, on the other hand, would be the combination of two MVP-type players entering their prime with another all-star also in his prime. But that would basically be the end of it. Maybe the quality of the respective big threes balances out the difference, but it certainly doesn't push them over the top. With LeBron, Wade, and Bosh on one team, they are sure to be contenders. But to call them any more favorites than the Celtics were back then would be going too far. To win a team game, after all, you need a team.