I refused to comment on this before something was consummated because I was sick of the sheer force of speculation rampant in the sports reporting world. But now that the two have made a decision, here I am with some instant analysis
So, why Miami? First, I think some of these free agents realize that this may be their last max contract under the current CBA, making the dollar amount more important than ever. Miami has the most cap space and was the only place they could go without a sign and trade. Miami has no state income tax.
The other thing has to do with that thing basketball players occasionally do, you know, win championships. On this front, I trust Dwayne more than any of the other big 2010 free agents because he not only has done it, but is one of the only ones that seems all that interested in winning. Sure LeBron talks about winning, but the 2010 Miami Heat played Boston about as tough as Cleveland did, all while in salary-dump mode. It was 2008 Dwayne Wade that took a seat on the U.S. bench and led that bench into crucial situations. I love LeBron, but when it comes to winning, I listen to Wade.
From a basketball perspective, Chicago and New Jersey offered defensive centers, and New York offered shooters. I think New York took themselves out of it with the A'mare signing because I think Bosh has a higher ceiling than A'mare and didn't show it because he was playing with bit players. I think the issue with Chicago is, even though they have a lot of existing talent, do they mesh? Noah is a valuable asset on any team. But Rose and Wade are very similar players, and Rose, Wade, and LeBron all need the ball in their hands to be effective. Of those three, Wade is the best shooter, but I still think you would dare him to shoot 20-footers (unlike a Kobe, who you don't dare to do anything unless it's game 7 of the Finals). New Jersey has the same problem: Devin Harris is a scoring point guard, and there is no evidence that you can win the Finals with one of those. I think Brook Lopez is an upgrade over Noah (OK, I know so), but does that make it worth 2 years of basketball purgatory in Newark?
Meanwhile, Miami is talking sign and trade with Beasley (now completely expendable and an utter waste of a draft pick) and Chalmers (ditto, though it wasn't so clear at the time). They are looking at Andre Miller, who is good, but I would be more comfortable with a younger point, if they can get him. Actually, for some reason, I really like Luke Ridnour's potential with Wade/Bosh, or if they get him, Wade/Bosh/LeBron. After that, you need a defensive big (Haywood?), and then some shooters off the bench, and from a basketball perspective, you are not that far behind Chicago/New Jersey, even those teams have established stars.
Of course, it all hinges on whether LeBron joins them. From a money perspective, it's either Cleveland or Miami. Cleveland offers almost no basketball hope. From a basketball perspective, I think the best teams now are, ironically, New York, and Miami. New York has shooters and A'mare can score. Whether they can play defense is another story. But that option is there. I don't know. I hope he goes to Miami and realizes that his brand will grow by championships won more than the city he plays in. I don't know, so I'll wait for him to make a call, which should be sometime tomorrow. Or, as always, you can make the call, too.