First there are negotiations.
Then there are signings.
And then there are recriminations.
On that last count, we thought it wouldn’t get any more ludicrous than Dan Gilbert’s opening statement, and it certainly was a doozy.
But this tampering talk might just top it.
Look, players talk, players plan, players dream.
You want to keep superstars from congregating, then kill the dream team, send the college kids back off to slaughter.
Because if you’re going to sequester the game’s elite for several weeks every other year, have them buy into Mike Krzyzewski’s Kumbaya, then this is what you are going to get: Greatness finding a way toward other greatness.
When it comes to some sort of preordained, rock-solid Wade-Bosh-‘Bron pact, first consider late March and early April at AmericanAirlines Arena.
There, in a tunnel leading to the locker room, were phone banks, being manned during games, selling Heat 2010-11 tickets at a discount. The television broadcasts made you feel as if you were part of a PBS membership drive. Pat Riley even sat in during one broadcast, pitching product as if channeling Billy Mays.
If you have any iota you’re landing Wade, Bosh, ‘Bron, you’re not offering free popcorn and souvenir T-shirts.
Then go back to mid-February, when the Heat’s aggression in pushing for an Amare Stoudemire trade reached the point of fervor.
If Stoudemire was obtained, an extension would have followed. And Wade-Bosh-‘Bron would have ended right there.
And then there was were those recruiting trips by Heat management at the outset of free agency, the meetings with Stoudemire and Brendan Haywood and anyone else who could be tempted while crossing time zones.
All for show? At 65, Pat Riley doesn’t do the redeye for show.
Yes, Wade, Bosh and ‘Bron had this vision for years
Just like the Knicks had their vision when they cleared the cap.
Just like the Bulls did when they dealt Kirk Hinrich.
But for any owner, other than the owner of the Cavaliers or Raptors, to discuss any tampering claim over Wade, Bosh and ‘Bron is basically calling the owners of Knicks and Bulls, and others in the chase, a group of imbeciles, because they should have known this was all preordained.
By crying foul at this late date, they would be admitting that they were hoodwinked, that they never positioned their own franchises to succeed. That they failed.
Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.