The top two free agents this summer came from Western Conference teams, and Dwight Howard and Chris Paul remain in the West, though Howard left the Lakers for the Rockets. That helps maintain the perception of the Western Conference as the stronger side of the league, even as the Heat have won the last two championships. Here's more on a few of the West's teams:
- Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News is high on the resourcefulness of the Lakers this summer in the wake of Howard's decision to bolt. Within the piece, Chris Kaman says he didn't have a lot of other options when he signed with the Lakers, though several other teams reportedly showed interest. Wesley Johnson acknowledged offers from "a lot of different teams," but he called his choice of the Lakers "a no-brainer."
- The Hawks and Trail Blazers talked about deals for Tiago Splitter with agent Arn Tellem, and while Splitter gave thought to leaving the Spurs this month, he jumped on San Antonio's four-year, $36MM offer, and he says the Spurs were always his first option. The center goes in-depth on his choice with Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News.
- The Mavs may need to sign someone from their summer league team to compensate for the departure of Bernard James, according to Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who examines some of the candidates.