Jun 12, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) walks on the court during the fourth quarter of game four of the 2014 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Arena. San Antonio defeated Miami 86-107. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Up three games to one in the 2014 NBA Finals, a lot can happen if the San Antonio Spurs close out the Miami Heat. What are some possibilities?
Tim Duncan retires
Every great coach and athlete dreams of going out on top, to end a Hall of Fame career with a championship. Bill Russell did it. John Elway did it. Now ageless San Antonio Spurs leader Tim Duncan has a chance to do. At age 38 he is clearly in the twilight of his career and most thought his last chance at a fifth ring was stolen away last season. Now he’s one step short of completing that goal. Many rumors are insisting he still might return, but based on the feel of the situation, Duncan likely will hang up the sneakers if he hoists the Larry O’Brien trophy. His legacy is long since secure.
Dwyane Wade retires
This one could catch a lot of people by surprise but it’s hard to ignore the situation surrounding Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade. While his numbers aren’t terrible, the 2014 NBA Finals have clearly shown how less effective he has become. Every major stat is down for him from last season including points. He just can’t impact games like he used to. At age 32 his body has taken a lot of pounding, particularly his knees. With three rings in his pocket there is a strong possibility losing the championship might compel him to wrap up an 11-year career.
LeBron James leaves in free agency
Could this really be possible? Would LeBron James actually leave the Miami Heat if they drop the 2014 NBA Finals? Yes. First of all he has that option and the money he would get offered in free agency would be obscene. Beyond that though there are other teams in the league who could offer him better prospects as far as competing for championships than Miami, who only have the aging Wade and declining Chris Bosh. Perhaps he could join forces with Carmelo Anthony in L.A., or make his return to Cleveland or even forge a new Big Three with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in Chicago. He has reasons to leave both from money and winning perspectives.
In the end it is all prefaced by the San Antonio Spurs clinching the series, which hasn’t happened yet. Still, it’s interesting to ponder the ramifications.