Since the Heat won the NBA title on Thursday night, I’ve been asked a bunch whether that was good news or bad for the Thunder? Would OKC have been better off with a victory parade down Biscayne Boulevard or the San Antonio Riverwalk?
I would vote Spurs. he Thunder would have been better off with a San Antone victory, though it probably doesn’t matter either way.
Here’s my theory. The Spurs aren’t changing much, win or lose. They are like a tree planted by the waters. One game, one series, one season, doesn’t change the Spurs. They believe in what they do and they stick with it. Just because Kawhi Leonard missed a foul shot, and Manu Ginobili lost his way, and Danny Green couldn’t find room to breathe, will not make the Spurs change their plan or their philosophy.
But Miami? Maybe. Lots of talk about the Heat and whether Pat Riley will blow up the Big Three that’s really LeBron James and Friends. The truth is, Riley probably wasn’t going to win or lose. He’s got some tough decisions; Miami is aging fast, has massive payroll issues and the Heat has some choices to make next season if not this off-season. But what Riley has is too special to go changing. Much more likely that he’ll ride it out.
However, if Riley was going to make a change — trade Chris Bosh, for example — he was much more likely to do so if the Heat had lost. Had the Spurs held on to win Game 6, like they should, then look how the script is different. The Heat is not a success story. They are 1-2 in NBA Finals, which fair or not, would be considered failure. Even with LeBron playing historically great, the Heat would have come up short against San Antonio.
So it would have been much easier — and maybe much wiser — to jettison the current roster makeup, coming off defeat in the Finals. But coming off victory? Very difficult.
Of course, the Thunder might be just as happy playing a Miami roster with Bosh as without him. If Riley wants to consider ridding himself of LeBron, then the Thunder and every other NBA contender will take notice. But the Heat is a total load with or without Bosh, so it really doesn’t matter. But a slight rebuilding mode for Miami might have been to the Thunder’s advantage. Now, that seems most unlikely.