NBA teams are scrambling to fill needs in this abbreviated pre-season. With the season just 14 days away, teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls look to improve their rosters.
Of the 28 teams in the NBA, it appears that at least half of them will make some kind of effort to improve their teams to make a run at the playoffs in this shortened season. Teams like the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, and the defending NBA Champions Dallas Mavericks look to get better.
The Lakers, Houston Rockets and the New Orleans Hornets had a deal in place to move Paul to the Lakers but was thwarted by the NBA. Now the Lakers are focusing the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard according to sources close to the NBA. But Howard is requesting a trade to the New Jersey Nets.
Several trades and free agent signings have already taken place. The Lakers traded Lamar Odom to Dallas and the New York Knicks just traded for Tyson Chandler while releasing Chauncey Billups. Jason Richardson signed a new deal with the Magic and Rasual Butler signed with Toronto Raptors. The Bulls meanwhile look like they are in the market for Richard Hamilton and could land him if he clears waivers and passes a physical.
The Bulls are in desperate need of a #2 guard and Hamilton would certainly fill that need. After losing to the Heat in last season's Eastern Conference Finals, they are looking for that one or two players that can put them over the top and win another NBA Championship. And while Dwight Howard would be an excellent addition to the Bulls, the price for getting him would be too great of a price to pay. In order for them to get Howard, the Bulls would have to give up Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and at least one draft pick.
Noah, who only played in 48 games last season, finished 7th in the NBA in rebounds. Deng had his best season as a Bull and Gibson was a spark off the bench. If Carlos Boozer can rebound after a subpar season, the Bulls depth in the back court should be competitve enough. The Bulls led the League in wins last season with 62 and the addition of Hamilton should help tremendously.
As the clock runs down to the start of the season, look for many trades and free agent signings to occur and the landscape of the NBA power teams change slightly. While teams like the San Antonio Spurs (61 wins) and the Oklahoma Thunder (55 wins) not appearing to make any moves right now, the balance of power could shift to teams like the Lakers and Rockets. As for the East, the Celtics, Heat, Knicks and Bulls look to battle for Easten Conference supremacy.
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