If there is one thing we learned in this truncated, condensed season, it is the obvious reality that younger squads like the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat are the real contenders for the title. But for every organization that becomes a powerhouse in the NBA, another one falls into obscurity and enters one of the most pivotal stages in a franchise's existence: rebuilding.
Instead, we must usher in the new, up-and-coming teams to the podium and let these historic dynasties take a backseat until their General Managers can develop a roster talented enough to compete once again.
So without further ado, here are my four NBA contenders who will start the rebuilding process come next offseason.
Over the last five years, Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic have been quite dominant in the Eastern Conference. Not only did this talented roster reach the NBA Finals back in 2009, but they have given the city of Orlando a team spirit that hasn't been seen since the powerful tandem of Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O'Neal were dominating the hardwood together.
However, this fantastic joyride is about to come to an abrupt end, as the inevitable is upon the city of O-Town.
Over the last few months, NBA fans have been glued to their televisions wondering what the latest news was on the Dwight Howard fiasco. Whether the Orlando Magic decide to trade him or retain has yet to be seen, but one thing is for certain; Dwight Howard will not be donning Blue and White next season.
Without "Superman," Orlando will have to embark on an extensive rebuilding task that could take years, as a Magic roster without D12 is not a championship contender.
Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce
It's time to face the sad reality that the "Boston Three Party" is definitely coming to an end. Sure, this veteran-filled roster may have one or two more years left in the tank after this season, but why waste time fiddling around with a mediocre team?
Up to this point in the season, the C's are 4-4 after losing a close game to the extremely deep Indiana Pacers. That is definitely not the Boston Celtics we have been accustomed to seeing since GM Danny Ainge swung those miraculous deals that netted sharpshooter Ray Allen and power forward Kevin Garnett.
However, if Danny Ainge was smart, he would blow up this former championship winning roster and start fresh. It is extremely obvious that the Celtics don't have the talent to compete with powerhouse Eastern Conference teams like the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls.
Plus, Ainge already has a head start in the rebuilding process, as All-star point guard Rajon Rondo is a perfect cornerstone piece for the franchise going forward.
Despite earning the top seed in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs were ousted from the playoffs after the eighth seed Memphis Grizzles eliminated the former champions in six games.
Not only was it a huge disappointment for the franchise, but it makes NBA fans wonder how much more quality years this current roster has in them.
If the San Antonio Spurs, in my opinion, want to get back to being in title contention, General Manager R.C. Buford can't become sentimental with the current roster they possess and needs to start from scratch.
Sure, the "Big Three" of Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and TIm Duncan have helped bring title after title to the small-market of San Antonio, but it is definitely time for all parties to move on.
However, if the Spurs do decide to rebuild next offseason, they will have a long road ahead of them. Even though they have nice pieces in Kawhi Leonard and DeJuan Blair to build around, the San Antonio Spurs' future does not look bright at this point with their lack of youth.
After hoisting up the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the first time in franchise history, the Dallas Mavericks have looked extremely sluggish and lackadaisical out of the gate in their attempt to defend the crown. The Mavs are off to a losing record of 4-5 and their key additions of Lamar Odom, Delonte West and Vince Carter have not panned the way they had hoped.
Sure, the season is still young, but with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trailblazers looking like powerhouses in the Western Conference, Big D's chances of winning the title are looking quite slim.
But if we know one thing about the Dallas Mavericks, it is the certain fact that owner Mark Cuban always has a plan.
There have been rumors that the Dallas Mavericks are waiting for this offseason to make a play for not just New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams, who is a Dallas native, but also All-NBA center Dwight Howard. They have the cap room, big market and pieces to entice both players to sign with the organization.
A trio of Nowitzki, "Superman," and D-Will would be ridiculously dominant and would propel the Mavs back to NBA supremacy.
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