It’s only fitting that one of the most thrilling NBA Finals in history is followed with a rematch the next June. The Heat and Spurs will once more play for the championship, and more than just legacy will be at stake.
No one who can elect free agency this summer would be more sought after than LeBron James, but even as he sits atop the Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings, a third straight title for the Heat would apparently make it even less likely he leaves Miami. It seems a long shot that James would sign elsewhere even if the Heat come up short over the next two weeks, but most reports regarding his free agency haven’t come from the four-time MVP himself. He’s kept steadfastly quiet, breeding uncertainty, so his Heat teammates might be playing as much to preserve their shot at future championships as they are for a championship this year.
The Spurs have most of their key players under team control for 2014/15, unlike the Heat, who have only Norris Cole on a guaranteed contract for next season. Tim Duncan possesses a player option, although he’s hinted that he intends to pick it up and continue playing for San Antonio rather than retire. Still, he’s 38, Manu Ginobili is 36, and Tony Parker is 32. Miami’s stars are beginning to age but not to the degree that San Antonio’s have. If the Heat take care of the Spurs quickly, signaling regression from last season’s seven-gamer, perhaps this will be the summer that Gregg Popovich, R.C. Buford and company start building around Kawhi Leonard, who’s up for a rookie sale extension this summer.
In any case, the series will be eminently compelling, and the subplots that threaten to echo in the months ahead make it even more so. Let us know how you think the Finals will turn out, and leave a comment with your prediction for what happens to each team in the offseason.