So here’s why I didn’t do a big NBA post in the last couple of days: Not that much of any interest actually happened! Or, to be more specific, nothing that really changes the equation as far as next year’s title contenders are concerned. The Lakers signing Ron Artest only makes them better, and he is a net addition over Trevor Ariza despite being older- especially on defense. Oh, and don’t forget the Rockets likely won’t have Yao Ming at all this season. Antonio McDyess could help the Spurs, but if they are going to win the West, it’ll be on the backs of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker just like in previous years. Any other serious contenders? Maybe Portland could get in there if the youngsters blossom, but they still be a year or two away. Shawn Marion is a good addition for Dallas, and they kept Jason Kidd, but is Marcin Gortat really ready to become a starter, especially for over $6 million per year? Oh, and Marion, as noted in the article about his acquisition, had a rough time in Toronto last year.
I guess the East could be a little more interesting, with Detroit letting Rasheed Wallace go to Boston and instead bring in Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. Will a big chemistry change and infusion of youth get them back to the elite level? Not sure those two guys are really on par with the old Pistons troika, but then Larry Brown and Flip Saunders did do yeoman’s work getting that bunch to play bigger than the sum of their parts in sheer talent. The Raptors are quietly building a good team, which Hedo Turkoglu strengthens further still. Of course, with Chris Bosh a year from free agency, their window to make a title run may not be a big one. But they’re definitely in the conversation along with Cleveland and Boston. Doubt Orlando’s gonna stick; they really did catch some fire in the playoffs and Turkoglu came up huge for them in several games. But they should have Jameer Nelson back at the point, and of course Dwight Howard isn’t even in his prime yet. Plus, they turned Courtney Lee and a couple of other pieces (including Rafer Alston, who was going to lose his point guard job upon Nelson’s return) into Vince Carter.
I mentioned Bosh’s impending free agency. Well, he, LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and others undoubtedly heard about this coming season’s decreased cap and that it could be lower still in 2010. In fact, this piece from Alan Hahn suggests that LeBron could actually see his 2010-2011 salary decrease if he opts out of his contract to become a free agent, instead of taking the option and waiting a year (though he could also take a shorter-term contract and hit the market again before he turns 30). Meanwhile, Frank Isola’s not impressed at how Wade is treating the Heat.
A little less random analysis down the road if warranted and especially closer to the season. Soccer and other stuff later today.