Right now, we are just about at the halfway point of the NBA season, with the NBA All-Star Game coming next week & there really isn’t a definitive favorite to win the NBA Championship. Getting to the finals sure, but no one has really grabbed the brass ring & has run with it so far. But as always, there are a variety of NBA league questions from teams all around the league, & today, we will tackle some of those pressing questions.
Will the New York Knicks Trade Carmelo Anthony?
I wish I truly knew the answer to this question, but I will lean towards no. As each day goes by, Carmelo Anthony – according to insider – has his value getting much higher or lower, depending on who you talk to. Anthony is having a great season, but has absolutely no real talent around him that can help the Knicks win any games. J.R. Smith can be selfish at times, Metta World Peace has been non-existent & Amare Stoudamire is playing on borrowed time right now.
|New York Knicks Forward Carmelo Anthony (photo source:|
Daily Fantasy Source)
The main thing that may keep Carmelo in New York is the endorsement money he can earn on Madison Avenue. Not to mention that his wife La La Anthony has become a strong player in the reality TV show game with VH1. I see Carmelo either staying right in New York or going to Brooklyn with the Nets, Chicago with the Chicago Bulls – maybe teaming up with a hopefully healthy Derrick Rose, or going out to Los Angeles to play with the Lakers or Clippers.
I would lean more towards the Clippers because the Clippers have been looking for a reason to get rid of Blake Griffin, so this could be a great reason to give Chris Paul more help to move the Clips to an NBA Championship.
Anthony has a ton of power in the organization from New York Knicks owner James Dolan, as he just met with Anthony after a recent game about the future of Head Coach Mike Woodson.
Can the Miami Heat Go For 3 In A Row?
Yes they can, but damn, its going to be hard this year. The Miami Heat defense is not up to the high standards it normally is, and it almost seems as though the team is going through the motions to get to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers, which is the matchup that the rest of the NBA has been expecting since the very beginning of the season, and for some, probably since their epic 7-game Eastern Conference Finals series last year.
|Miami Heat Guard Dwyane Wade will be the key to|
whether the Heat go for a 3rd straight NBA Championship.
LeBron James & Chris Bosh are having strong seasons again, with James being in the MVP race as usual & Bosh playing more like he did in Toronto with his baseline jumpers, aggressive rebounding & just a higher overall drive, but if you noticed, one of the “Big 3” are missing here. Dwyane Wade has been in & out of the lineup all season long, which has taken away some of the chemistry in the lineup. Wade has taken a beating in the NBA since his rookie year due to the style of play that he brings to the table, & unfortunately, the body is catching up with him now. Wade has had to make superhuman efforts to get to about 75 percent of himself the last couple of years & the question has to be whether Wade is already thinking retirement after the upcoming season.
IF Wade can be somewhat healthy going into the playoffs, Miami will win the NBA Finals for a 3rd straight season. They have Greg Oden in the wings waiting to contribute in the playoffs in a matchup against Roy Hibbert, which the Pacers tried to intercept by signing Andrew Bynum recently.
But I can’t see where Bynum is going to be the full answer for winning a series against the Pacers because no one knows what kind of motor that Bynum has for basketball right now. The Miami Heat can do it, but they must be healthy, & it starts with Wade.
Will the Oklahoma City Thunder Break Into The NBA Finals?
If the Thunder were going to do it, this would be the year, if they don’t, it won’t be because of not having the talent. Even with Russell Westbrook out of the lineup, Kevin Durant has become an absolute monster on the court with his 30, 40, & 50 point games he’s had in 2014. Durant has learned how to play without Westbrook, & has also made players around him better.
|Oklahoma City Thunder Forward|
Serge Ibaka has been a force this year, Reggie Jackson has developed his point guard skills as well as a little jumper that has become more and more consistent by the game, and the intensity that the Thunder brings shows the heart of a championship team.
The Thunder can get to the NBA Western Conference Finals, but may have an issue with a team like Houston getting out of the West. The Rockets match up perfectly against OKC across the board, especially with having Dwight Howard in the middle, who has become a much better player than he was even in Orlando in his early years.
Howard has learned how to work with great talent around him in James Harden, Jeremy Lin & Chandler Parsons, and in a 7-game series, even with Westbrook, OKC may have matchup issues with the Rockets, especially since Durant will be used so much on defense to guard James Harden & Jeremy Lin on a consistent basis.
But, there is another team that is going to be in the NBA Western Conference picture –
Are the Portland Trail Blazers For Real?
Yes, they definitely are. The Blazers have all of the components to make a deep run in the playoffs from a basketball on-court standpoint. Their lack of experience is a concern though, but talent can overcome quite a bit of you are overmatching your opponent in individual matchups.
|Portland Trail Blazers Center/Forward LaMarcus Aldridge.|
Forward LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the top 2 dominant big men in the game right now, the other being Dwight Howard. Aldridge has gotten leaner, worked on his jumper, has developed a strong inside game in the paint, and is getting other players around him involved.
Second-year guard Damian Lillard is living up to the hype and has truly developed his game into a near-elite level in a short time. Throw in emerging forward Nicolas Batum and a solid bench, and the Blazers are a team that can run with the likes of the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Blazers will go deep in the west, and wouldn’t surprise me at all by getting to the NBA Finals, but I think that the experience level might not be there at the point.
Will The Los Angeles Lakers Be Able To Rebuild In The Offseason?
Yes, but the Los Angeles Lakers fans have to be realistic & understand that a championship may not come right now. It will all depend on if the organization can bring in big name free agents this summer, which may or may not be a slam dunk due to the team being so bad this year, Kobe Bryant taking up so much of the salary cap, and the rise of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Lakers are not the premiere destination right now, not the way it was when it was Kobe, Shaq, Phil Jackson & anyone and everyone in the league just wanting to be on the roster to say they were part of the Lakers.
The team will most likely be a lottery team, & will be in a decent position to get a high draft pick & for the first time in years, actually build through the NBA Draft. With the level of talent that may come out this year, the Lakers will have the opportunity to get a strong building piece around them immediately, along with 1 or 2 free agents.
We had a scenario about the Lakers getting LeBron or Carmelo, but it will all depend on who can play well with Kobe, who will no doubt come back next year trying to prove his dominance, even at his advanced age and with the idea that he will most likely retire at the end of the extension he signed early in the season.
The Lakers will always have the backdrop & allure of Hollywood for a lot of players to build their brands up in film & television, but the players can also get that with the Clippers and the ability to win right now. The Lakers should be able to get one major free agent & a rookie in the draft & be okay, but there is a new era of Lakers basketball coming in and the fans have to understand that.
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