Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld has a new column examining which teams have a chance to be title contenders five seasons from now, taking into account possible moves in free agency and the ages of the teams' core players.
- Brigham believes the Thunder still have the brightest future, given that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka will all be under 30 in five seasons.
- LeBron James' free agency will play a major role in determining the next title contender, Brigham writes. The health and effectiveness of Dwyane Wade will determine whether James stays with the Heat, but the Cavaliers and Lakers are also possible destinations.
- On that note, Brigham writes that, although Kyrie Irving is blossoming into a superstar, the Cavs will not be a contender unless James signs in Cleveland.
- The Bulls will still be contenders if Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah stay healthy, Brigham writes. He also notes that Nikola Mirotic will have come over to the NBA by then.
- The trade for Thomas Robinson added another young piece to the James Harden/Jeremy Lin core the Rockets have built, Brigham writes. Additionally, the team is still well under the cap and can add another high-level player via free agency.
- Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge give the Blazers a solid core to build around, writes Brigham.
- Brigham writes that there will be uncertainty every year for the next five as to whether Chris Paul will still be with the Clippers.
- Even if Stephen Curry's ankles don't hold up, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes give the Warriors a good young core, Brigham says.
- Brigham writes that the Pacers have excellent cornerstone players in Roy Hibbert and Paul George.