BREAKING NEWS: Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade agree to terms with Miami

via a.espncdn.com

As reported by ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have agreed to play in Miami. Details of the arrangement are extremely limited, and it is not yet known whether Bosh will come to Miami outright or through a sign-and-trade, which would free up more cap room for the Heat; but it seems extremely likely both will be getting the maximum contract allowable.

 

Regardless, Riley is a smart GM, and will likely fill out the rest of the roster well. The Miami Heat may well end up your 2011 Eastern Conference Champions - though anything may happen.

There is a possiblity, particularly if Bosh comes on a sign-and-trade, that LeBron shall join the duo, but for reasons already well-covered both here and elsewhere, that seems unlikely.

Of course, nothing is official until July 8th, but Broussard and ESPN seem fairly certain of their sources, certain enough to place the story on the front page of ESPN.com. Also, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, perhaps the most credible and reliable journalist on any of the Majors, is reporting the same thing, as well as discussing the possbility of the All-Star Triumvirate.

How the Miami Heat fill out the rest of their roster will be critical in determining whether they are true championship contenders or simply a pretty team on paper. They shall need a blend of solid role players comprised of defenders, shooters and slashers, as well as veteran, championship-proven leadership and an infusion of young blood.

Re-signing Haslem is a must if Miami have indeed agreed to a sign-and-trade for Bosh. If Bosh comes outright, keeping Haslem is harder to justify because Miami already have two power forwards in Bosh and Michael Beasley, but his veteran presence, championship experience, work ethic and leadership abilities make it hard to see him being let go.

A true center is also a must, preferably a defensive stalwart. On that count, Brendan Haywood may be Miami's best bet. He possesses size, is a good defender, not overly expensive, is serviceable on offense and blocks shots. He is a veteran, but not too old at 31. He's also not likely to command more than $5-6 million a year.  Shooters are also necessary, in which aspect players such as Anthony Morrow and Mike Miller may be desirable. Miami would do well to sign one of the two. Other than that, retaining Dorrell Wright as a shooter and defensive specialist also sounds like a smart move to make.

That would leave Miami's only true need at point guard, a position where not many good prospects are available in the Free Agent market. Raymond Felton would likely be their best choice at this position, though they may instead make a run for Derek Fisher. Chances of them signing Fisher are unlikely, unless Buss truly decides he does not want to pay Fisher any more.

Whether or not Miami can manage all of that with the 10-15 million dollars of cap space (more if Bosh comes in a sign-and-trade) they have left is debatable, but the fact remains that if Miami can put together a good supporting cast, resembling the one suggested above, they should be championship contenders, with their main threat being either a revitalised Magic or a LeBron-to-Chicago scenario.

Now, with Amare's max deal with New York, Joe Johnson's max deal with Atlanta, and Pierce and Dirk re-signing with their respective teams, LeBron James is the only major free agent yet to decide upon a destination, therefore granting him the attention he always craved. He's scheduled to announce his decision on an ESPN special on Thursday night, once again according to Broussard.

Having Wade and Bosh secured changes the free agent landscape dramatically for the only major FA left. I don't claim to be a prophet, I profess I have no idea where LeBron shall sign - however, now I believe that where he signs will define him. If his primary goal is to win as much as possible, I believe he will sign with the Chicago Bulls; if loyalty is what drives him he shall stay in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform; and if he's primarily after fame he'll pick either the New York Knicks or the New Jersey Nets (Knicks would seem to be more hype, Nets have a better chance of winning). I don't see him going to Miami to make a video game roster as a possibility.

Nonetheless, Miami made the first major move involving the 'Big Three' free agents, wrapping up two of them in one sweep. Now there's nothing for the rest of the NBA to do except sit and wait for LeBron to make his decision.

Meanwhile, the Lakers sit and watch from afar, doubtless amused at the shenanigans other teams are going to to draw free agents, to try and get to the position where Los Angeles is now, and has been for the last two seasons. Champions.

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