Chris Slone/Alex Hider
In a new weekly summer series, the Daily Times sports staff will be debating burning questions in the sporting world. This week’s question focuses on the Miami Heat’s reported interest in Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony has until June 23 to exercise his $23.3 million player option to return to the New York Knicks. Anthony reportedly plans on becoming a free agent, and others have said the Heat have expressed interested in adding him to a roster that already includes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
This week’s question: if Anthony were to join the Heat, would that scenario be good or bad for the NBA?
Chris Slone, Sports Editor
If the Miami Heat sign Anthony, the NBA will fall out of the realm of reality TV and become more of a scripted product. Seriously, was there one person with any basketball knowledge that thought the Heat had a legitimate chance to lose in the Eastern Conference playoffs this season?
I didn’t begin watching the NBA postseason until The Finals matchup came to fruition, and truth be told, if anyone besides the San Antonio Spurs had won the Western Conference Finals, I probably still wouldn’t be watching.
Every sport needs parity, plain and simple. If the NBA allows Miami to continue stacking its team, this watered down product will become even more diluted. Take the NFL, for example. The NFL is the biggest sport in this country as far ratings and revenue.
But why? It’s simple, they have more parity than any sport. The New England Patriots have one of the greatest quarterbacks and a first-ballot hall of famer in Tom Brady guiding their franchise. Yet, they haven’t won a Super Bowl since 2004.
The Denver Broncos broke every offensive record on the planet last season with another first-ballot hall of famer in quarterback Peyton Manning leading the charge. However, Denver suffered a humiliating loss in the Super Bowl to the Seattle Seahawks who had never won a world championship in franchise history.
The point is simple — if the NBA wants to attract more fans, increase ratings and revenue, then they should strive to level the playing field. Miami has been to four-consecutive NBA finals and it’s on the brink of having a 2-2 record in those appearances. With Anthony in the fold, the Heat will be appearing in the next several finals, which makes the regular season and the postseason, and everything else about the NBA meaningless.
Alex Hider, Sports Writer
With the Miami Heat already boasting the NBA’s most feared starting lineup, fans across the country feel that, by adding Anthony, the Heat would single-handedly throw off the competitive balance of the NBA. Here’s a new flash for those fans: there has been a competitive imbalance in the league for decades. If you’re a small-market team that can’t find luck in the NBA Draft Lottery (case in point: the Milwaukee Bucks), it’s almost impossible to build a championship-caliber squad. However, the league is more popular than it has ever been both at home and abroad.
While the league continues to have a problem with compeitive balance, it’s top heavy with great teams. The Heat can’t just expect to waltz through the finals and snag another trophy. It’s worth noting that Anthony hasn’t been to an NBA Finals in his 12-year career, and has often been viewed as a “shoot first, pass second” player by his teammates. With three other All-Stars on the roster, it could make for a difficult transition period. And with less cap room to spend on an already thin bench, it’s possible that the Heat will run into more of the depth problems which have plauged them in this year’s Finals.
Finally, like it or not, sports is a business. And adding Carmelo Anthony to the Heat will only bring in more revenue. Not only will the league be selling millions of No. 7 Heat jerseys, but millions of eyes will be watching the games. Since LeBron James and Chris Bosh helped “stack” the Heat in 2010, the TV ratings for the NBA Finals (all of which have involved the Heat) have continued to rise. Adding Anthony would scruntize the Heat even more, and draw more people in front of the TV.
So why not, ‘Melo? Go ahead and join the Heat. It’s better for everyone, especially the NBA.