Miami Heat Details
The Heat joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1988. Though, like most expansion teams, they struggled initially, the Heat qualified for the playoffs for the first time in just their fourth season. In 1997, the Heat made their first appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals but lost in five games to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
In 2003, the Heat drafted Dwayne Wade with the 1st overall pick, and Wade became the face of the franchise until his departure in 2016. The Heat brought Shaquille O’Neal to Miami in a trade before the 2004-05 season, and in 2006, O’Neal and Wade took the Heat to their first NBA Finals, where they defeated the Mavericks in 6 games. Dwayne Wade was the Finals MVP.
In the 2010 offseason, the Heat made some of the most high-profile free agent signings off all time. LeBron James infamously left the Cavaliers to sign with the Heat, and he was joined by fellow free-agent Chris Bosh and the returning Dwayne Wade. Miami’s fearsome “Big 3” made it to the NBA championship during their first season together but lost to the Dallas Mavericks in a rematch of the Heat’s first finals appearance. The Heat would win the next two finals series, winning in 2012 against the Thunder and in 2013 against the Spurs. The 2012 title was the first for both James and Bosh, and LeBron won the regular season and Finals MVP awards in both seasons.
The Heat returned to the finals for last time in 2014 but lost in a rematch with the Spurs. James left for Cleveland the next season, and Dwayne Wade signed with the Chicago Bulls in 2016. Miami has moved on from the entire Big 3, as Chris Bosh’s issues with blood clots have left his basketball future in doubt.
Last season, the Heat finished with a .500 record and landed just outside the playoffs. In the 2017-18 season, the Heat will look to returning players like Hasan Whiteside and youngsters like 2017 first round pick Edrice Adebayo to keep them from missing the playoffs twice in a row for the first time since 2002-2003.