5 things to note as NBA heads into offseason, with Miami Heat still on top

  • Article by: BRIAN MAHONEY , AP Basketball Writer
  • Updated: June 21, 2013 - 11:55 AM

MIAMI — Five things to note as the NBA offseason opens the same way it did last year, with everyone chasing LeBron James and the Miami Heat:

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THE L.A. STORY: The two best free agents on the market share the same building. Dwight Howard had a disappointing first season with the Lakers, Chris Paul led the Clippers to their greatest success, and now they have decisions to make on July 1. Will they stay put? Follow James' model and go somewhere to play together? Leaving Los Angeles means leaving money — we're talking more than $20 million — on the table, so the best guess is both will be back at Staples Center next season.

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WORTH THE PAIN: The last team standing in the Eastern Conference next season? Maybe the one with the healthiest knees. Specifically, the one whose star has the best recovery from a knee injury. Derrick Rose should be back in Chicago after sitting out all season with his torn ACL. The Indiana Pacers, who took Miami to a seventh game in the East finals, could have leading scorer Danny Granger back after he played just five games this season. Rajon Rondo could have the ball back in his hands in Boston. And imagine how much better the Heat can be if Dwyane Wade, bothered by a painful right knee all spring, is fully healthy this time next year.

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BIG THREES, BIG QUESTIONS: Long before James, Wade and Chris Bosh came together, San Antonio and Boston proved the best route to a title was through a Big Three. Now, both could be broken up. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili might've had their last, best chance for another title in Game 7 after more than 100 postseason victories together. Ray Allen's already gone in Boston, having moved on to Miami, and now the Celtics have to decide if they're keeping Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett around.

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TAKE YOUR PICK: It's 10 years ago this month that James, Wade and Bosh were all taken in the first five picks in what may go down as one of the best drafts in history. This one doesn't look as good. The Cleveland Cavaliers have the No. 1 pick, just as they did when they selected James in 2003. Will it be Nerlens Noel, the Kentucky defensive star coming off a torn knee? A trade? The rebuilding in the post-James era depends on making the right decision.

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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 100 FINAL
Charlotte 115
New York 80 FINAL
Chicago 111
Golden State 108 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Utah 94
Denver 114 FINAL
Portland 120
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 FINAL
Carolina 3
Florida 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
Ottawa 3 FINAL(OT)
Toronto 4
Los Angeles 1 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 4 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Colorado 5
Dallas 4 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 73 FINAL
NJIT 78
Notre Dame 66 FINAL
Kentucky 68
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
D.C. 1
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 2 FINAL
Columbus 1
Portland 1 FINAL
Vancouver FC 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Houston 0
Seattle 0 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 69 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 73
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