In a piece for Grantland.com, Zach Lowe looks at the different tiers in the Association after a wild offseason. In Lowe's opinion, the real title contenders this year are the Heat, Spurs, Thunder, and Lakers. Further down the list, you'll find the Nets and the Knicks who are classified as having exciting upside but too many questions to be considered real title threats. The Nets, he argues, may not get much bench production outside of C.J. Watson and MarShon Brooks. Meanwhile, most of the Knicks' big name offseason additions strike Lowe as league-average types who won't really make a major difference. Here's more from around the league..
- In the wake of Jordan Hill's back injury, Sam Amico of FOX Sports (via Twitter) expects the Lakers to sign a veteran big man to a minimum contract, possibly Kenyon Martin. Martin plied his craft at the Staples Center last season with the Clippers and played well despite not lighting up the stat sheet.
- While giving credit to the Celtics' 2008 championship team, point guard Rajon Rondo opined that this year's club is the strongest yet, writes Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. This year's Celtics squad underwent a number of changes, including guard Jason Terry taking the place of Ray Allen.
- After being claimed off of waivers by the Rockets this summer, Jon Leuer is making a strong impression with the Cavs in camp this summer, writes Stephen Brotherston of HoopsWorld. Coach Byron Scott believes that the team needs to help Leuer build confidence after bouncing around between a few clubs at the age of 23.
- Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld believes that Kobe Bryant will have to play beyond 2013/14 if he hopes to capture two more championship rings. Bryant reiterated yesterday that he plans to retire after his current contract expires in two seasons.