With a new season, comes new players. And with new players, comes a new opportunity for all of the NBA teams to accomplish what the Miami Heat did this season—win a title. There are many teams that have a decent core of players, but with the addition of one more player, it could be the difference between them making the 2012-13 NBA playoffs or not.
Here's a list of five teams that are a trade away from contending next season.
Rumors are starting to build around Samuel Dalembert leaving the Houston Rockets.
If Dalembert was to exit Houston, they would have to take the time to trade for a talented big man. Many players that are being drafted this year have sincere talent, and the Rockets may find themselves pressed to get rid of a player who hasn't contributed much thus far.
The 6'11", 31-year-old averaged just 7.5 points and 7.0 rebounds this past season, but another team might be able to make Dalembert more relevant on the court. If the Houston Rockets decide to move their two first-round picks, they will be able to acquire a player that will be a game-changer in Houston, a team that found themselves just two games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference this season.
The Inquirer's staff writer John N. Mitchell wrote about speculations that a trade involving Gasol and Iguodala could happen in the near future. Now, I'm not saying that this will happen, but it very well might. The Lakers need a guy that can bring more to the table, and Iguodala might be that guy.
Iguodala would improve the Lakers tremendously. He averages 15.3 points per game in his career and is a playmaker. If Gasol was to go to the 76ers, he would find himself being appreciated more, without being shadowed by Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum.
If you're an NBA fan, then you've been expecting Dwight Howard to leave the Magic for quite some time. If you're a Magic fan, you're dreading the day. Howard is one of the best players in the league, and it's seemed more obvious lately that he wants to go to a team where he can win a championship.
Alex Kennedy of Hoops World tweeted that the Rockets may be interested in a "one-year rental" with Howard. In order to get Howard, Houston would have to give up Luis Scola, possibly both of their first-round draft picks and another man. If they're willing to give up all of this to get Howard, it might be doable.
It is no secret that the Charlotte Bobcats were one of the worst teams in the NBA this year.
Bobcats owner Michael Jordan is synonymous with success, and he just wishes Charlotte could be as well. However, it will take a lot for the Bobcats to be a playoff contender next season.
The first thing that Jordan will do is try to acquire a player that will be a game-changer, a lightning bolt on a sunny day, a diamond in the rough that can change the entire franchise.
Rudy Gay might be that player. Gay put up 19 points per game this season, but he might be too expensive of a player to get. Gay would use $53 million in cap space over the next three years. That might be a price tab that the Bobcats don't want to pay. With the number two pick in the draft, the Bobcats have some very serious decisions to make in the offseason.
One thing is for sure, there's no way that the Bobcats can come out in 2012-13 any worse than they did this past year.
Bryan Crawford of NBC Chicago reported that Luol Deng wouldn't be surprised if he was traded before next season. One team that might land the 6'9" forward is the Golden State Warriors. Not only do they have the seventh overall pick in the draft, but Crawford reported that the Warriors sent one of their scouts to Team Britain's training camp, where Deng is playing.
Deng would no doubt bring talent to a team like the Warriors who could sincerely use it. ESPN's Ian Whittell reported that Deng is fully aware he might be traded.
"I believe there is always to some extent truth behind rumors," Deng said. "But as an athlete, if you get caught up in them, you are really wasting your time because it's not something you can control."
Deng's right, he can't control it. However, he may very well find himself on the same court as David Lee, Nate Robinson and the rest of the Warriors roster next season.