NBA Championships: 3
Last NBA Championship: 2013
Claim to Fame: Miami became the first “super team” of the modern NBA when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined forces with Dwyane Wade.
Claim to Shame: The Heat lost the 2010 Finals to the Mavericks despite being overwhelming favorites.
The Miami Heat would be classified as new money in the NBA, having enjoyed some success other franchises can only dream of since entering the league as an expansion team in 1988.
They became a true player in 1995, when the front office brought in Pat Riley as head coach. Sweeping personnel changes soon followed to expediate the competitive process. Players like Alonzo Mourning and Juwan Howard were the early cornerstones of the turnaround, and remain with the team in front office roles today.
In 2003, the Heat drafted Dwyane Wade out of Marquette, and within two years, with the aid of a trade to bring in Shaquille O’Neal, the Heat won their first NBA Championship.
Miami was at the center of it all again in 2010, when the team signed LeBron James, Chris Bosh and retained Wade to build a super team. They delivered, making the Finals in four straight years, and winning in 2012 and 2013.
But after losing to the Spurs in 2014, James returned to Cleveland and Wade went to Chicago, breaking up the so-called “Heatles.”
By the trade deadline last season, the Cavs dealt Wade back to Miami, reuniting him with the franchise that he’d carried for so long. His return was a welcomed jolt for a team that competed hard, but was role-player heavy, and lacked a star element with the ability to finish games in the crunch.
In Wade’s farewell season the Heat fell just short of the playoffs, and Pat Riley found his next face of the franchise in a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler.
Butler’s intense demeanor perfectly fits in the Heat culture, and the young group of assets around him has a chance to really pop in Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Justise Winslow as the Heat should be a solid playoff contender in 2019-20.