- LeBron James - I've already talked about his free agency, but I think his losing in the second round raises a different question: is he really the key to a title? Has LeBron proven that he will be able to lead a team to a championship? He's super talented, there's no denying that. But I'm not yet convinced that he's going to guarantee his next team a trip to the Finals. People always compare him to Magic Johnson, but as of right now, he's a lot more like Dominique Wilkins.
- Boston Celtics - What happens now? Kevin Garnett isn't great anymore, Ray Allen is a free agent, Sheed might retire, and Doc Rivers might not come back as coach. On top of all that, Tom Thibodeau, the assistant coach that runs their daunted defense, is leaving to be the Bulls' head coach. This whole team could potentially blow up and be a bottom-feeder. What a shame. (Who am I kidding? That would be great. I hate this team.)
- Dirk Nowitzki - He has a player option on next season and has stated that he'll be testing free agency. There have even been rumors of him maybe signing with the Suns to reunite with his BFF Steve Nash... I do think he should leave Dallas (they're not getting any closer than 2006* again, let's face it), but I don't think Phoenix is the best option. An all-offense player on an all-offense team? And how can he and Frye coexist? I think he fits in better with Chicago, but I guess we'll see if he even leaves at all.
- Thunder, Bucks, Bulls, Blazers - All young teams, all with PLENTY of promise moving forward. The Thunder have Durant, who will probably be an MVP in the next 3 years (mark my words). The Bucks were led by Bogut and Jennings, and if Mike Redd can make a healthy return, they could be a problem. The Bulls have Noah, Rose, and cap space, so I think they're an East favorite for next year already. And the Blazers have what I think is the deepest team in the NBA. Once their young guys get some playoff experience, they should make some noise. Oh yeah, and Brandon Roy is a beast. Someone give that man a nickname.
- Orlando Magic/Denver Nuggets - Neither of these teams are set to win a title, but I don't know what either of them can do to change that. The Magic owe Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter a combined $37.8 million next year, and they were both playoff busts. They should have known better than to put their playoff hopes in the hands of a renowned choke artist (looking at you, Vince). The Nuggets imploded after they lost their coach, and I just think they have too many head cases to ever mesh the way a championship team needs to. It's really a shame for Carmelo, who's probably the most effortless scorer in the league. He's improved every year, and he deserves better.
- Utah Jazz - Good every year, but never good enough. I don't know why, really... they play team ball, work with discipline, and defend well. But I guess down the stretch offensively, they've got Deron Williams and that's it. It's really hard to win titles when your best offensive player is your point guard. (Note: a PG hasn't led a team to a title since Isiah Thomas. That was 20 years ago.)
- Phoenix Suns - Probably the biggest surprise of the playoffs (other than Boston). They swept the Spurs after being eliminated by San Antonio in 4 of the last 8 playoffs. Steve Nash is the truth, and that zone they used against LA could become a staple for them, especially since no other team in the NBA really uses a zone defense. Also, how is Grant Hill still good?!?
*I had to put an asterisk next to the 2006 Finals, because the Mavs technically should have won. Unfortunately, the referees were employees of the Miami Heat... Wait, they weren't? Could've fooled me.