It used to be just baseball flourished off season. Now led by the enormity that is the NFL, the off seasons in many ways are as intriguing as the seasons. The NBA begins it's circus when the clock strikes 12.01 AM on July 1st, another words 10 hours from now, and it figures to be wild and exciting.

Led by, for some reason, the Dwight Howard "sweepstakes" you can make bank the action will come fast and furious. Plug NBA into google and you might be able to scan a million pages of rumors. Yeah good luck with that.

Howard has teams swooning. Seems he learned how to play the leverage game finally by announcing that going back to the Lakers wasn't likely. It's not often a player side swipes the Lakers, especially big men, not including Shaq, who badly wanted out of LA and wound up winning a title in Miami. What seems to be certain is that 5 teams will take a run at Howard. Personally my view is buy with caution, and if you happen to be the coach of whichever team lands him I hope you  rent your home, not own. Howard is in my view not worthy of being a coach killer, and yet that's exactly what he is. But there is no doubting the talent. Howard will change a team's fortunes.

Handicappers have the Rockets as the favorite to land Howard. The Mavs are in it. The Lakers will make their pitch. However the Lakers announced the Mike D'Antoni will return next season and that doesn't bode well for Howard going back. The systems they like to coach and play just don't match. However the Lakers can offer 20 million more over the span of a max contract. It is believed the Mavericks, Hawks,and Warriors will make their pitch. Howard claims it is about winning titles and not money. We shall see about that.

All these other clubs besides the Lakers can offer the same. It is a good debate which is closest  to being a serious title contender. The Hawks interest is based more on building around Howard and him being from Atlanta.

The Rockets can pitch shooters and a fast break type offense. However Howard refrains from that sort, see the Lakers. Many believe the Rockets are closest. I lean toward the Golden State Warriors myself. They have the top flight point guard, shooters "oplenty", help on the glass, a defensive minded coach in Mark Jackson, and a loud and rabid fan base with no disrespect to the others, save the Hawks. The Mavs can pitch Dirk Nowitski, but how much longer  will he last? The Mavs do have Mark Cuban and it seems he is a master wheeler dealer.

In addition some rumors that seem to have some legs are Chris Paul re-signing to run Doc Rivers team and going back to the Clippers. When that piece is in place it seems Eric Blodsoe will be dealt. He seems to be the hottest point guard name floating around but watch out for the Celtics and Rajon Rondo if Boston decided to totally revamp the club. For my money that would be a mistake. A HUGE MISTAKE!

As for the locals, my thoughts on the Knicks and Nets.

The Nets off their big deal with the Celts seem to want Kyle Korver, the sharp shooting guard. The Nets seem to have a solid team in place but be weary of Brooke Lopez's health. He is set to undergo his 3rd operation on his foot, worrisome for a big man carrying height and weight.

The Knicks should 100% see if Boston wants to deal Rondo and if they are foolish enough to want to do that, see if a match can be found. Doubtful based on long time rivals and the Knicks have older talent.

If I am the Knicks I float Tyson Chandler and Ray Felton. Chances are Boston, if they are committed to go young, they  will pass.Fast. Imagine Rondo and Carmelo Anthony in a 2 man game. The Knicks should 100% re-sign Chris Copeland to a moderate deal and wait to see what J.R. Smith commands on the open market. I would be very leery of bringing back Smith. However there is no denying his ability to score and the Knicks need scoring. The addition of Tim Hardaway Jr and the improved shot of Iman Shumpert make Smith less appealing to me if I am Knick brass.

The fun and frivolity begin in mere hours. With the heat roiling through the west coast hot stove might have to stay the tag  for baseball and let the NBA choose a different tag,such as HOT HOOPS FRENZY!



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