When Pat Riley drew up his offseason blueprint, the realistic and hopeful expectations were re-signing Dwyane Wade and having one of the marquee power forwards join him in South Beach. Instead, Riley pulled off the coup of the summer by turning all of the Heat's cap space into the fantasy lineup of LeBron, Wade, AND Bosh, and in the process sending shockwaves throughout the NBA.
On top of that, Miami answered the question of who would be the supporting cast by signing a sharpshooter in Mike Miller and convincing Udonis Haslem to return at a bargain of a deal. The Heat then rounded out the roster by adding experienced veterans who can step in and be role players to complement the Big 3. You cannot ask for more in an offseason.
It is hard to believe that in a free agency class featuring LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer that Joe Johnson was the only one to receive the max value contract. Johnson wisely used the leverage of his possible exit to New York, Chicago or New Jersey, and turned into a $123.7 million deal as the Hawks panicked to keep their superstar. For a guy who was a complete no-show in Atlanta's second-round series against Orlando, he absolutely cashed in this summer. Well played, Joe. Well played.
If you follow the guy on Twitter, you cannot help but become a fan. In a completely un-LeBron-like way, Durant announced his 5-year, $86 million extension with a simple tweet; re-affirming his commitment to the Oklahoma City franchise rather than waiting to bolt to a bigger market.
He showed up at the 2010 NBA Draft to support his team's picks and voluntarily sat on the bench during summer league in an almost assistant coaching position so that he could offer advice to his teammates. Plus, Durant has become the face of the U.S. team that will compete at next month's FIBA World Championships. There is no doubt that he will be the next superstar in the league and easily one of the most likable players of all time.
With division rival Cleveland losing LeBron and the Bulls not being able to land two marquee free agents, the Bucks may have catapulted themselves as the team to beat in the Central Division by process of elimination. The Bucks re-signed John Salmons who was a key to their postseason run this past year. They dumped the expiring contract of the worthless Dan Gadzuric and Charlie Bell for Corey Maggette who will add some punch to their wing. Milwaukee also added quality pieces in Drew Gooden, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Larry Sanders.
Let's just say I am becoming a big fan of general manager John Hammond. I think Scott Skiles will have the Bucks on top of the Central Division if Andrew Bogut can stay healthy and Brandon Jennings continues to develop after a phenomenal rookie year.