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Conspiracy Theory: The media largely ignores Heat chances to sign LeBron James

"It's not a conspiracy theory if it's actually true"

I’m not one to spout them off like Jessie Ventura likes to do but I can’t be the only one out there to notice the "bias" (for lack of a more descriptive word) against the Miami Heat in the mainstream media lately. Let me amend that, it’s worse than usual. Maybe I’m being paranoid. Maybe I try to be as fair and balanced as possible but sometimes tend to be a bit defensive for the hometown team. Or maybe I have a point. Could it stem from the championship? Few of the NBA experts and pundits had the Heat winning it all when the playoffs started and even less of them thought they would beat the heavily favored Dallas Mavs after the Heat finally got through the Detroit Pistons. Was it just me or did anyone else notice that for every positive remark or compliment thrown the Heat’s way throughout the Finals by Hubie Brown, Mike Breen and the rest of the ABC crew there was about ten being showered for the Mavs. With all due respect to ESPN but Dallas resident and former Mavs beat writer Marc Stein and Mark Cuban’s buddy Bill Simmons led the charge in coverage during that Finals as well. Suffice to say that none of these experts looked very smart when the Miami rattled off four straight victories to claim the title. Even four years later the widely held belief is that the only reason the Heat won it all is because the refs gave the Heat the series, thereby downgrading all the positives like Wade's superb Jordan-esque play or Alonzo's gritty interior defense and undercutting what a good job the Heat did in adjusting to the Mavs after the first two losses. If we're going to focus on the negatives, what about the Mavs and Dirk Nowitzki to this day being softer than Charmin in the playoffs and choke artists when the games truly matter? Subsequent losses to the Warriors and Spurs in the first round proved this wasn't some fluke. So do you think that might have hurt their chances in the Finals as well? They’re not always this wrong but the media will still bet against the Heat regardless. No one picked the Heat to beat the Celtics this year except for Simmons who only picked them by default more as an indictment on how bad the Celtics looked this year. Let’s be clear, this argument doesn’t stem from some misguided notion that the Heat should always win every game or they deserve any more respect than they realistically deserve. Heck, even I correctly predicted the Heat would lose in five games to the Celtics all the way back in March. But ever since the Cavs season ended everyone has seemed to be in love with the idea of LeBron going anywhere else but Miami. Yes, James should be thrilled about leaving a 61-win team to play in the Big Apple for teams that somehow managed to combine to lose 123 times this season. Why not put even more weight on your shoulders than you already had in Cleveland by attempting to single-handedly resurrect these lottery teams in a relentless New York circus media/paparazzi atmosphere? If anything, the mounting and relentless pressure to sign with the Knicks or Nets even before they’re allowed to talk with James should be a sign for him to stay away. How about a Chicago Bulls team that has consistently underperformed every year since James’ idol Michael Jordan "retired" despite a rabid fanbase, multiple wasted lottery picks, foolish trades and failed free agent signings (here’s looking at you Ben Wallace and Eddie Robinson). Even when they got things right (winning the draft lottery to draft a sure thing in Elton Brand…) they still mucked things up (…and then proceeding to trade him away two years later in his prime for Tyson Chandler). Trading away LaMarcus Aldridge in favor of head case Tyrus Thomas and drafting Eddy Curry and Marcus Fizer in consecutive fourth overall picks in 2000 and 2001 weren’t exactly highlights of Bulls management either. The Bulls still haven’t done anything in the playoffs lately even with a respectable core of Joakim Noah, Ben Gordon (now with Detroit), Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose. All are Bulls lottery picks, which should clue you in on just how consistently mediocre they’ve been as well as how many times they’ve had to shuffle the roster over the years in a desperate attempt to join the elite teams in the weaker East. If James would leave his hometown he’d ostensibly want to play with a better team to get over the hump. Is there that much of a difference in talent between the supporting cast he had in Cleveland than the one he’d have in Chicago to actually win a ring? It’s a nice starting five to be sure but how many of the Bulls reserves can you name? Who’s going to step up on that bench to provide some depth and give a total team effort to make it through four rounds of playoffs? Speaking of the offseason. The Bulls have only made the playoffs five times since their glory days ended with the title in the 1997-98 season while going through four coaches with a fifth soon to be hired at trying his luck with this franchise. They only went through the first round once in those five tries by sweeping a hobbled Miami Heat team in 06-07 only to lose in six games to the Detroit Pistons in the Conference Semifinals. In case you forgot, the last coach and the current GM attacked each other at the end of this season over Noah’s minutes. So apparently things are looking stable in the front office too. Come to think of it, for the all the talk about a curse on the city of Cleveland and at nearby Wrigley Field how come no one has talked about a possible Bulls curse since Jordan left? Let’s just hope poor Jay Williams doesn’t hear about this new theory of mine. Do we even need to talk about the Clippers and their own curse? If anything, Kevin Arnovitz of ClipperBlog and the ESPN Truehoop Network at least attempted to make a convincing argument for James based on the actual team that would be playing with him instead of just focusing on the hype or his friendships with rappers with minority ownership. The point isn’t strictly to trash the other suitors for James and claim that the Heat are unquestionably the best situation for him. It’s just curious how little attention the Heat’s chances of signing him when they have just as many intangibles as the other teams do and more cap space to make changes to improve the roster. But all you see are articles about every other team besides the Heat no matter what site you visit. I’m just literally having a hard time finding any articles from the media outside of South Florida exclusively about the Heat that are extolling the virtues of playing here or at the very least pointing out what the Heat can offer to James. The talk about Riley being open to coaching him has also been conveniently swept under the rug with supposed rumors about college coach John Calipari instead. Sure there’s a customary token acknowledgement about the Heat's chances quickly followed by the supposed notion that Wade would take away from LeBron's game because "they both need the ball" or that they need to be the #1 guy on the team and don’t want to share the spotlight. Of course Wade needed the ball for the Heat to have any chance to win with the supporting cast he had this year. He’s already said plenty of times he doesn’t want to play the point so he obviously would prefer to play off the ball and his MVP status on the Dream Team should remind everyone just how deadly he can be when the defense also has to worry about his teammates instead of focusing all their attention to him. James and Wade are also two superstars who happen to be underrated facilitators for others and solid playmakers in addition to being offensively gifted so it would work from that angle too. Any way you look at it, the Heat on paper have just as much to offer James as any other team. It’ll just have to be our little secret.