It feels like only yesterday that the Miami Heat were crowned NBA Champions but the 2012-13 season is now on the horizon. This off-season many teams made costly make-overs in an effort to improve their chances of dethroning the World Champion Miami Heat.
After a dismal postseason performance the Los Angeles Lakers entered into the off-season with a lot of questions. The Lakers front office swore up and down that they were going to stand pat and would not make any major off-season moves. The Lakers clearly had other plans and made waves when they signed two-time League MVP Steve Nash and also solved their concern at center by trading for three-time defensive MVP Dwight Howard.
These two off-season moves have brought excitement back to Laker-nation with many envisioning another NBA Championship banner being hoisted in the rafters at season’s end. However, the fate of the Los Angeles Lakers will largely be determined by the knees of Kobe Bryant and how quickly his new running mates assimilate into the Laker way. Obtaining Dwight Howard and Steve Nash were costly acquisitions that will place the Lakers well above the salary cap which result in huge penalties that will only be softened by a NBA Championship.
The Oklahoma City Thunder stayed pat with the hope that their core of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Serge Ibaka would improve with another off-season of experience. Each of their star players gained invaluable experience playing in this summer’s Olympics in London. The Thunder will also welcome back PG Eric Maynor who will provide an additional spark of the bench and also give Russell Westbrook a much-needed breather in the second half. The chemistry of the Thunder is unquestioned but may be threatened as long as the future of reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden remains uncertain. After making it to the NBA Finals last year the Thunder appear poised to take the next step and challenge the Miami Heat for the NBA Title.
In the Eastern Conference the Boston Celtics made so much-needed additions by acquiring Jason Terry and resigning Jeff Green which they hope will soften the blow of losing Ray Allen to their rival the Miami Heat. The Celtics also added length and depth to their front court in the NBA Draft in center Fab Melo and power forward Jared Sullinger who fell in the draft due to health concerns. Kevin Garnett’s move to center has brought a spring to his step and hopes to the fans in Boston that there is hope for one last championship run before retirement.
Not to be outdone the Miami Heat improve their chances of repeating as NBA Champions by adding shooting guard Ray Allen and his former teammate small forward Rashard Lewis. The Heat front office were able to add each of these pieces at a bargain price that did not put them over the salary cap. Although the Heat will remain considerably thin in the front-line the versatility of reigning MVP Lebron James and recently turned center Chris Bosh will continue to be a match up nightmare for the opposing teams.
When training camp opens on Oct 6th the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference and the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder will start the season as favorites to win the title. Several other teams made moves to enter the conversation such as the Brooklyn Nets who resigned Deron Williams, extended center Brook Lopez and traded for a talented scored in former Atlanta Hawk, shooting guard Joe Johnson.
Although last season was cut short due to the NBA lockout, next season promises to be one filled with excitement and uncertainty. Do the Heat repeat? Do the Thunder resign or trade James Harden? Will the San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics and their aging stars have one last run in them as they edge closer to retirement. After 82 games we will have an idea. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)