Yes, I know, he has zero chance to win. Absolutely none. No way. This was Pat Riley's award when he landed the big three.
However, should it be? In the end, don't the results matter more than the hype? We're all upset about the Heat celebrating their title before winning it in the summer, yet if the team disappoints, no one blinks at giving Pat Riley the executive of the year award still.
The Miami Heat are presently on pace to improve their win total by eight games this season. For all of the awesomeness of bringing in LeBron, Bosh, and resigning Wade, they're on pace for only eight more wins and a total of 55. They are highly unlikely to even have home court advantage in the 2nd round, and right now are not in most analysts top 4 teams to win the title.
The Chicago Bulls are presently on pace to win 59 games this season. A win improvement of 18 over last year, more than double the improvement of the Heat. Granted, win improvement isn't the be all end all if you are coming from a lower spot, but the Bulls are coming from a lower spot and moving past the Heat.
They started lower and will finish higher. Doesn't that mean something here?
Value of contracts signed
The Miami Heat signed LeBron, Wade, and Bosh to near max deals on the second tier max. The three each took a slight discount to make the money work out, but they're still averaging around 18 million per year a piece. LeBron is worth more than that. Wade is worth more than that. Chris Bosh looks worth considerably less than that.
Mike Miller was signed to a bad deal. Udanis Haslem has been hurt, but I think his deal was bad as well given that the Heat really need a center not a PF. They're also locked into all of these guys for the long haul as Miller is untradeable right now, and Haslem might not be far off from that either.
The real problem is that getting past the awesomeness of the LeBron/Wade, the Heat basically overspent everywhere else (including on Bosh), did so long term, and crafted the rest of the roster with poor fitting players. What if Haslem was a similar caliber center and Mike MIller was a similar caliber PG? How much better would the team look?
The Chicago Bulls didn't hit on their number one or two choices in free agency. If you believe the GM, then Boozer was always their third choice ahead of Bosh, but when they created a backup plan they put together a team that worked and fit together. They also received great value for their money and didn't go in long term, so that they could retain financial flexibility going forward.
Korver, Watson, Brewer, and Bogans all have deals with a non guaranteed year which basically makes them valuable as expirings for trade filler in two different seasons rather than one, and allows them to hedge their bets on the players and facilitate trades during the draft.
Omer Asik looks like one of the best under radar signings this summer as the Bulls not only got him to come over from Europe, but they locked him in for 3 years at a cheap rate.
Looking at the Bulls team they fit together. They're a real team. They're as good as the sum of their parts while Miami is less than the sum of it's parts, and if something goes wrong, Chicago can much more easily change direction.
Planning for the future
This somewhat overlaps the value contract thing, but when you look at the future, what can the Miami Heat do? They have no draft picks. They have no tradeable assets. They can only hope to sign ring chasers at the vet minimum and hope the MLE doesn't get wiped out with the new collective bargaining agreement. They can't even trade short term deals for long, because they don't have enough expiring deals to amount to any long term salary that they could bring back.
The Bulls have all their own draft picks plus two first rounders from other teams to offer. They have the ability to take some money off the books of a team this season (they could trade Bogans + cap room + picks for O.J. Mayo on draft day for example). They can offer expirings this year in trade, they can offer immediate cap relief next summer during the draft, they can offer expirings next season.
Unless there is a hard cap, the Bulls will have built their team, a team that's presently better than Miami, despite starting off worse, without sacrificing any future flexibility, and in fact increasing future flexibility in the process. They'll have given themselves more wiggle room to address their holes and improve further.
Leading the ship
The Bulls hired Tom Thibodeau, the Heat retained Erik Spoelstra. Thibodeau looks like a lock to win coach of the year. Spoelstra, quite possibly unfairly, gets a lot of the blame for the losses.
There's no question who the better coach is at this point. The Heat have struggled instilling a plan in big moments while the Bulls have excelled in them. Do you trust Spoelstra to make adjustments in a playoff series? I sure as hell trust Thibodeau to do so.
I feel great about my head coach, I doubt Miami fans can say the same.
Gar Forman has no chance to win this award.
However, looking at the results, I can't help but think, "why not?". Haven't the Bulls improved more than the Heat this summer? Haven't they positioned themselves with more assets and flexibility in the future? Didn't they build a better team? Hire a better coach? Play it safer with their contracts?
I mean Dwyane Wade announced before the season was over he had no intention of leaving Miami, so Riles shouldn't get much credit for resigning him. After that he brought in LeBron (awesome), brought in Bosh (looks overpaid), Miller (overpaid), Haslem (hurt all year), a head coach who looks lousy, other players who can't fill needs, and traded away any hope of future flexibility to do so.
In the end, the only good move Riles made this off-season (if you count Wade as a given, I know I'm not giving GarPax a bunch of credit for extending Rose in a season) is that he brought in LeBron and perhaps James Jones. Basically every other piece has either been 'meh' or a disappointment.
Look at the scoreboard people:
Overall Record: Bulls
Year to year Improvement: Bulls
Future flexibility: Bulls
Coaching hire: Bulls
Value for money: Bulls
Signing a guy named LeBron: Heat