The two defending Finalists -- and the favorites to reconvene this June -- aren't expected to do much of anything. The Heat won the championship with their current roster, and the Thunder have already undergone one major move and aren't likely to expose themselves to more change. Most of the top teams are likely to be conservative: The Bulls are going to be wary of adding to their tax penalties, and they and the Pacers will probably focus on the midseason returns of Derrick Rose and Danny Granger, respectively, as opposed to adding new talent by trade.
Here, Sara, are my 12 most interesting "buyers,'' with the understanding that they have different objectives heading into the Feb. 21 deadline.
I agree there is reason for concern, Carl, because those teams have the size up front that Miami lacks. But it's also important to realize that the Knicks, Bulls and Pacers treat a game against Miami as if it were the conference finals. The Heat know better. They are building toward the actual conference finals and NBA Finals. Just as the Knicks, Bulls and Pacers raise their play against Miami now, so will Miami raise its play in May and June. At that time of year Miami's opponents will be overwhelmed with their own matchup problems against (1) LeBron James, (2) Dwyane Wade, (3) Chris Bosh and (4) Ray Allen.
The size matchups may get the best of the Heat here and there in the playoffs, but I don't envision any team in the East beating LeBron four times in one series.
I don't see it, Jamie. He's 37 and hasn't played in two seasons. In his last 25 games with Philadelphia in 2010-11, Iverson shot 41.7 percent, and there is good reason to believe the years haven't been kind to him.
It damaged his hopes when a judge in Atlanta finalized Iverson's divorce by declaring: "He has refused to attend to an obvious and serious alcohol problem, which has caused him to do inappropriate things in the presence of the children while impaired. He has left the children alone without supervision. He has left his young daughters in a hotel room with men who are unknown to the mother."
Apart from his parenting skills, the issue for Iverson physically is that he has probably not devoted the last two years to reviving his career if, as a family court judge has surmised, he has a problem with alcohol.
I like what they're building, Fallon. I know Colangelo has mentioned the possibility of moving Bargnani, but if they were to keep him and Lowry then consider this core:
This could be a highly promising team as long as they stick with it. I understand the frustrations ownership and fans might experience with Colangelo, but do they really want to start over again with a new team president, who hires a new coach, who then wants to replace the players?
This franchise should not let go of coach Dwane Casey. After a hard start he has this young team playing respectably with Bargnani sidelined. Casey emphasizes defense and he has been with a championship program in Dallas. Instead of starting anew yet again, the Raptors should maintain their investment in a coach who represents the right values for a young team with so much balance and promise across its roster.