MIAMI -

"Not two, not three, not four, not five ... "

Four years ago, when LeBron James uttered that now-infamous phrase about how many championships he was hoping to win with the Miami Heat, it was almost immediately turned into a punch line.

In some ways, it now rings prophetic. Miami is back in the NBA Finals for a fourth straight season, trying for a third straight title.

But how the Heat fare against San Antonio in these finals could help decide if Miami will remain the Eastern Conference's team to beat next season.

James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade could all be free agents this summer if they choose, and the Heat bench is filled with players who are much closer to the end of their careers than the beginning.