With the NBA’s new CBA bringing teams closer and closer to paying bigger fines for exceeding the salary cap, player movement and contract negotiations were framed in a different light this offseason.
Couple ownership salary cap concerns with the unprecedented number of front office and coaching changes that took place this offseason, and the flood gates opened to provide a heaping helping of intrigue going into the 2013-14 season.
So, where did all of those free agents and misfit players end up up at the end of the offseason? Let’s take a look at the Eastern Conference offseason moves.
via Rotowire.com – Fantasy NBA Draft Kit: Offseason Moves – Eastern Conference.
Wednesday night. Miami at Cleveland. The Heat’s epic win streak in serious jeopardy, as the lowly Cavs surged to a 27-point third quarter lead.
And you could almost see the relief on Erik Spoelstra’s face.
Miami’s coach would have been perfectly content to end the streak, to take all pressure off his team as the playoffs approach and to give him the opportunity to rest key players down the stretch. After all, the Heat have already clinched the Southeast Division. They’ve got an 11.5 game lead over second-place Indiana for the top seed in the East … with 15 games remaining. It would take a disaster of Hindenburg proportions to knock them out of the top spot. And while LeBron James is only a little less durable than Wolverine, the other two thirds of Miami’s “big three” – Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – have extensive injury histories.
Given the choice, I’m sure Spoelstra would be very happy to take a loss, and then put Wade, Bosh, and Ray Allen on modified duty for the rest of the season. Not that he’d admit that with Miami chasing the Lakers’ all-time NBA record for consecutive wins. But LeBron and company took that option away. In the second half, they played like the squad we’ve come to know and love or is it fear, erasing the deficit and surging to a 98-95 win.
It seems likely that they’ll make it 25 straight on Friday in Detroit. And with Charlotte, Orlando, Chicago, and New Orleans on the schedule after that, odds are good that the streak lasts for at least another week.
via Waiver Wire: Will Rose Blossom in Spring?.
Russell Westbrook’s epic performance in Game Four was a pretty good illustration of the reasons I thought he’d be MVP of the 2012 NBA Finals. I expected Kevin Durant to struggle at times, thanks to LeBron James’ defensive presence. And with Dwyane Wade apparently playing with some minor injury, I expected the Heat to have no end of trouble stopping Westbrook’s dribble.
Right on both points.
Unfortunately, I also picked OKC to win the series. I had the Thunder in six, a prediction rendered mathematically impossible by Miami’s Game Four win and 3-1 series lead. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t spend much time on sports betting sites.
LeBron is now the overwhelming favorite to win his first ring and series MVP honors, but that may depend on whether or not the injury that hobbed him in the fourth quarter of last night’s game was a cramp, as most reports are saying… or something more serious. James has been outstanding, and his performance to this point should go a long way towards eliminating any lingering “can’t win the big one” stories. But I’ve seen little evidence to suggest the rest of his Miami teammates are ready to step up should The King be forced to the sidelines for a game or two.
And if this series goes back to Oklahoma City, all bets are off.