Nestled in the coverage of basketball’s biggest stage was the ‘news’ that the Miami Heat, who are currently down 2-1 in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs, may or may not be discussing ways to bring scoring forward Carmelo Anthony, currently of the too bad to watch New York Knicks, into the fold for 2014, when Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade can all opt out of their individual contracts in order to hit free agency at the same time. According to unnamed ESPN sources, “Heat officials and the team’s leading players have already started to explore their options for creating sufficient financial flexibility to make an ambitious run at adding New York Knicks scoring machine Carmelo Anthony this summer in free agency.”
Putting aside the reality that this move is more or less implausible for a variety of reasons (quickly: the luxury tax would be brutal, this would be the last significant contract for any of the players involved, the Players Union and their respective agents would revolt, and there’s no way Udonis Haslem is walking away from his player option, worth $4.6 million), we felt moved to consider the fact that, of all the super teams created in this fashion since the turn of the century, only two of them have actually worked out. As much fun as it is to rip on superstars that play for other teams as often as possible — Kobe signs a massive extension? He’s greedy and doesn’t care about winning. The Heatles take less to win more championships? They lack competitive fire. — a collection of talents that form up to wear the same jerseys is much more likely to be one of the twenty-nine teams not hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the middle of June.
For every 2012 Miami Heat, there is likely to be a 2011 Miami Heat, and even the Boston Celtics, who provided the modern framework for the NBA superteam, only wound up winning one title over their five year span together. And many teams never even make it that far. Here are five teams that were pegged to make noise in the NBA, before they ended up whimpering in defeat.