According to recent reports, free agent power forward Udonis Haslem turned down mid-level offers from the Denver Nuggets (and several other teams) so that he could re-sign with the suddenly mighty Miami Heat for less money. 14 million dollars less to be precise, an enormous amount for a 30 year old bench player.â†µ
Much like the most recent “Big Three” in Boston 2008, quality free agents such as Mike Miller are flocking to South Beach for a chance to contend, rather than sign elsewhere for a larger paycheck.â†µ
Is this a good trend in a league long criticized for being money hungry? The argument goes both ways: having several powerhouse teams such as the Heat, Celtics, and Lakers increases interest in the league and generates more revenue. Fans love to have teams they can hate.â†µ
The flip side is that these “instant contenders” steal away players such as Haslem that would make excellent complementary pieces for a team like the Denver Nuggets or Dallas Mavericks and thus make the league far too one sided. If a larger contract offer AND being competitive isn’t enough, then how is a fiscally responsible team supposed to compete?â†µ
The jury is still out, considering the season hasn’t even begun, but it appears that the Miami Heat are changing the face of the league and hurting more than just Cleveland. The rest of NBA cities are going to suffer as well.