The Heat are the champs and the Lakers are sure to be a popular pick to challenge them next June. What do those two teams have in common? They are absolutely loaded with superstar, franchise-changing talent. In today's NBA, where star players seem to be able to dictate their destination at will, collecting that level of talent is what it takes to build a legitimate contender and teams are desperate to do it.
The Mavericks are perhaps the best example. A year after winning it all, some say the Dallas front office sacrificed their title defense for an opportunity to hit it big in free agency this past summer. But they swung and missed. Deron Williams re-upped in Brooklyn and they couldn't figure out a way to land Dwight Howard. And now, they're already looking to next offseason, when they should again have ample cap room to sign at least one big-time free agent.
Eddie Sefko at the Dallas Morning News has put together a five-part preview of next summer's free agent crop, including analysis of what it will take for Dallas to sign each player(s). His targets include Dwight Howard (link), Chris Paul (link), Andrew Bynum (link), Al Jefferson (link) and a package of Kevin Martin and Josh Smith (link). It is highly unlikely that all of these guys hit free agency, but several of them should. That said, which free agent(s) will Dallas end up with next summer?