The Lakers may have made the bigger offseason splash, but executives around the NBA still view the Heat as the most dangerous team heading into the 2012/13 season, according to SI.com's Sam Amick. Of the 19 execs, including 10 GMs, asked by Amick to pick their favorites for the 2013 title, 15 chose the Heat, with two opting for the Lakers and two naming the Thunder. We've heard a lot about Southeast Division teams today, so we'll round it all up here, with the latest on top:
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel doesn't think the Heat are quite as willing to trade for a point guard as they were last year (Sulia link). He says he's seen reports that the Wolves might be looking to deal someone from their backcourt, and though we haven't heard anything specific, Darren Wolfson of ESPN Radio 1500 reported earlier that Minnesota is attempting to work out a trade to free cap room for Anthony Tolliver.
- Mario Chalmers, whose continued development has apparently impressed his bosses with the Heat, sees himself among the league's elite point guards, but that might be stretching it a bit, as Winderman writes.
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post has more on Martell Webster's signing with the Wizards, which became official today. Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld hopes Webster can improve the team's outside shooting, but Webster, who sees himself as "more of an all-around player," doesn't want to be typecast as a three-point specialist.
- Dwight Howard's decision to fly to China for a promotional appearance two weeks after saying his injured back would not allow him to travel to Orlando for his children's basketball camp in Orlando is another sign the former Magic center wanted out of town all along, opines Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel.
- Shane Battier tells Andrew Beaton of The Chronicle (Duke's student newspaper) that he'd love to recruit former Duke players for the Heat: "We’ve got a pretty full roster, so we didn’t recruit any Duke guys this summer. But, if the opportunity arises, I won’t be afraid to make a phone call."
- Newest Wizard Martell Websterspoke to WashingtonWizards.com about signing with Washington and what he expects to bring to the team.
- Dwyane Wade has returned to the court for the first time since undergoing knee surgery, as Winderman writes.
- In examining four teams he believes are "set up to fail" in the 2012/13 season, Derek Page of HoopsWorld names two Southeast squads: The Bobcats and the Magic.