The Los Angeles Lakers overcame injuries and a tough seven game final series against Boston to repeat their title as NBA Champions.
Naturally, the next step is to look forward to 2011 and a three-peat.
Winning two straight titles is no easy feat in any sport, but winning three straight puts you in very rare territory.
The Lakers have done it once with Phil and Kobe, so why can't they do it again? It would certainly cement both their legacies.
That is, if they are in need of any cementing.
The Lakers obviously are going to be the favorites once again. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement to ensure they will succeed.
Here are five things the Lakers can do this offseason to repeat once again.
The toughest obstacle any team has to overcome in an effort to repeat as champions is the motivation factor.
The Lakers shouldn't struggle in this area too much, especially with a leader as hungry as Kobe calling the shots.
But there is a certain guy named Ron Artest that I would worry about in this situation. Artest has always been a flaky player, and there is no guarantee that he will stay on course for a second straight season.
Artest was a key component in the Lakers championship run last season. He made that ridiculous circus buzzer beater to plunge the dagger into the Suns' collective hearts. He also had a few solid games in the Finals, including Games six and seven (15 and 20 points, respectively).
Artest doesn't always show up to play, but the Lakers will need him focused to repeat.
That starts with Phil, assuming he returns (to be discussed in a later slide), and Kobe. Kobe must ride Artest's tail when necessary to ensure that he stays motivated.
I don't doubt Kobe's ability to do this, especially considering his desire to have a second three-peat in his goal to surpass MJ as the NBA's greatest. But it needs to be done.
The Lakers do not have a first-round selection in this year's draft, but that doesn't mean they can't find a quality player.
It is imperative that they find someone who can make contributions next season, as will be discussed later in this slideshow.
ESPN's mock currently has the Lakers selecting Willie Warren in the second round. Warren didn't have a great second season at Oklahoma after Blake Griffin left, but he is talented.
He succeeded with a star on his team, and the Lakers have plenty of them. He would be a very nice player for them to select.
If he is not available, the Lakers need to look in the direction of college players with experience. They may not have the most upside, but the Lakers do not need that. They simply need someone who can fill one of the needs in the next two slides—or even both.
If the Lakers do not draft someone who can fulfill this need, it wouldn't be a surprise because most second-rounders do not pan out. It also isn't a necessity to repeat. But it would ensure their path to the title is that much easier.
Fisher is the clutch player that has played a monumental role in the Lakers' playoff success the past decade.
He is the role player that always makes things happen for a championship team, and one that all past champions have needed to win it all.
But he is getting old. He may have a few years left in the tank, but that would be pushing it. The Lakers need to consider getting a replacement for Fisher, preferably this season.
The Lakers have tried many options in the past to replace Fisher, but most of them have not panned out
Yeah, I'm looking at you, Sasha Vujacic.
Drafting Warren would be a nice step in that direction. He can learn under Fisher and get plenty of playing time in clean-up duty. It would allow Warren to grow and preserve Fisher for the playoffs—a requirement for a Lakers' repeat.
The Lakers could also pick up a mid-level free agent to come off the bench for Fisher. The guy does not have to be a superstar, but he does have to be a solid contributor.
The Lakers biggest weakness (and they didn't have many) was their bench's lackluster play.
There have been rumors that the Lakers may look into signing Tracy McGrady. This may prove to be a very savvy move.
If McGrady stays healthy (a big "if") and if he is willing to sacrifice his stats for the greater good of the team, this could be a lethal bench player.
McGrady could thrive with Gasol and Bynum down low to open things up for him. He could also be deadly as Kobe's sidekick when they are on the court at the same time.
McGrady off the bench immediately solves your bench woes.
The Lakers could also look in a number of other directions to lengthen their short bench.
Most players would be able to contribute on a team as talented as the Lakers. The trick is picking the right ones and convincing them to come play for a ring on the cheap.
Brendan Haywood (unrestricted) would provide insurance to Bynum and another big. John Salmons (player option) is a very solid player who has provided contributions to the Bulls' and Bucks' playoff runs the past two seasons. Ray Felton (unrestricted) would solve the Fisher replacement problem and provide a spark off the bench. The list goes on. Those are just a few that come to mind when perusing the top free agents list.
If the Lakers can shore up this weakness, they may become almost unstoppable next season.
The biggest wildcard in a Lakers repeat is obviously the future of Phil Jackson.
The Zen Master said he is leaning toward retirement, but it isn't a guarantee.
The Lakers could repeat next year without Jackson. They certainly have the talent. But it would be much harder to accomplish without the Zen Master guiding the ship.
Jackson would prove a key component in keeping Artest in check. He is a master motivator.
He is also a master strategist, and most importantly the NBA's most prolific champion coach.
Kobe could convince him to try to earn one more three-peat before riding off into the sunset (and then perhaps to stay on for his first four-peat).
It is certainly an enticing offer.
Whatever the reason, Jackson needs to return, or the Lakers have a tough search for a coach ahead of them. There aren't many candidates on the horizon who could easily step into Phil's shoes, if there are any at all.