There's a parallel universe somewhere in which Saturday's game between the Lakers and Heat- still on Christmas Day because Phil Jackson isn't commissioner of the NBA there, either- takes place with the same players in the building, but not all in the same uniform.
While I never thought Derek Fisher would actually walk down the aisle with Miami, he did go on a date or two. Matt Barnes was rumored to be South Beach bound before landing in L.A., and the Lakers entered conversations with Mike Miller before eventually turning to Steve Blake, and later Barnes.
Miller spoke to Dan LeBatard on 790 AM The Ticket in Miami about what might have been (via Sports Radio Interviews, H/T to Kevin Arnovitz and the Heat Index). Rightly impressed by L.A.'s championship pedigree, Miller says he nearly pulled the trigger and joined the purple and gold:
"On whether there was ever a question whether he would be a member of the Heat:
“There was times. Right away, during the beginning of the process, the Lakers intrigued me. They gave me an offer that was tough for me to pass up. But going into the whole process was something that was exciting for me because I hadn’t had a chance to really control my own destiny. … Fortunately for me there were some interesting teams that had chances to win and I had some options. … After the other guys made their decisions, I felt like this was the best spot for me.”
On whether he talked to Kobe Bryant:
“Yeah I talked to Kobe a couple of times. … Believe me, some of the stuff he was saying made me want to sign right there. In fact, I had made the decision to do that and then … New York came in and offered me a lot more money or was thinking about offering me a lot more money.”
On what the best offers were:
“The Lakers offered me the mid-level and New York was above that. Obviously we never nailed anything down because I ended up coming to Miami. Miami’s was good. Obviously you take into consideration winning, you take into consideration where I’m living. … There’s all kinds of different things you have to take into consideration.”
Whether the Lakers would be better off with Miller over the Blake/Barnes combo is an open question, and obviously impossible to measure. Miller is the best player of the three, but Barnes has fit in remarkably well (and is in some ways a poor man's Miller), while Blake filled a huge need at point guard. Both have contributed to a bench that has been, for the most part, a big positive.
Hard to say they've suffered... but it's an interesting what if.