Ira Winderman: Trade deadline shows Heat may have found final path to NBA success | Sports

Perhaps the main lesson from what did or didn’t happen at Thursday’s NBA trade deadline is this: The super team isn’t easy.

The Brooklyn Nets recognized this by parting ways with James Harden for what was supposed to be Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s unbeaten run.

The Philadelphia 76ers have previously acknowledged this, with Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons leading only to playoff disappointment after trusting the process. So Simmons for Harden it was.

And the Los Angeles Lakers recognized there was simply no way out of the continued misery that remains LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. So the turn of the game might just be.

The Nets previously had to accept there was more to success than the bragging of a Big Three, when the aging trio of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams seemingly imploded on inception.

For all the hype NBA broadcast partners have tried to build by selling Big Three hysteria (three photos fit perfectly in these TV graphics), arguably since the Miami Heat titles in 2012 and 2013 , it is not the ultimate in the league. winning formula.

Take last season’s NBA Finals. There was the singular stardom of Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way to the championship for the Milwaukee Bucks (with all due respect to Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton). And with the Phoenix Suns runner-up, it was Chris Paul and Devin Booker as leaders, with the others respecting their roles as complements.

When the Lakers won in 2020, there were James and Davis as double point guards.

Before that, the Toronto Raptors championship set.

And, yes, while James, Irving and Kevin Love were central to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2016 title, much of that NBA Finals era was dominated by the quality depth of the Golden State Warriors, from Durant to Stephen Curry to Klay Thompson to Draymond Green, and beyond.

Prior to that, the San Antonio Spurs had won with Tim Duncan and/or David Robinson, and broad support.

With Kobe Bryant’s Lakers before that.

The Bryant-Shaq Lakers before that.

And then the Bulls championship of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and whoever was in on it.

What has made the NBA compelling this season (even with so many New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers burning our eyes) is the return to the notion of team.

At the top of the East, it’s the mix-and-match Heat that each night could have Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro or Kyle Lowry as the top scorer.

Similar team concepts had the Bulls and Cavaliers as two of the most interesting stories in the conference.

And in the West, the top four teams – Suns, Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz – are all defined by a compelling complementary commitment.

Basketball as a team sport, a total team sport. Who knew?

So maybe the Nets are successful with this latest triplicate star system.

Maybe Harden is doing with Daryl Morey in Philadelphia what the volume scorer and general manager couldn’t achieve with the Houston Rockets.

Or maybe the Lakers’ quality depth sale this offseason in Westbrook’s short-sighted sale is an eye opener to how it’s still a five-man game, with building a team requiring an account after. three.

The future of the Big Three notion as everything is seemingly within reach.

For the 76ers and the Nets, the season hangs in hopes of the delicate triple balance.

But for those who prefer a more holistic approach, Thursday’s trading deadline might have offered sobering reality — and hope.

Ultimately, in this era, it may take a village to raise an NBA championship banner.

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