It seems there's almost a natural law of mediocrity in the NBA. In situations where free agency creates opportunities for dynasties to be made, it never happens. Thirteen years ago when the Magic had room to sign Tim Duncan, Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady, what happened? A whole lot of mediocrity. It just didn't work.
Championship teams are not built by free agency acquisitions. And the circus of 2010 will prove no different. Here's why:
1) All Miami has done is bring in Chris Bosh. This is essentially the same Miami team, plus Bosh. But Bosh is not a complete player, nor is he accustomed to playing behind or even along with someone as dynamic as Dwyane Wade. Bosh's scoring numbers are inflated due to being the best scorer on a weak team. The fact that his rebounding, blocks and assist figures aren't considerably higher is pretty telling. He is no Pau Gasol.
2) The Knicks will continue to suck, even with Lebron. Okay, maybe not suck. But to an even greater extent, pairing Lebron with Amare Stoudemire does not a dynasty make. Like Bosh, Amare's numbers are inflated -- particularly his scoring, due to playing in Steve Nash's offense. Lebron's unselfishness should benefit Amare's scoring, but what about his other responsibilities on the low post (rebounding, blocks, assists)? Would this honestly be a more dynamic situation for Lebron than he had in Cleveland? And...
3) If Lebron stays in Cleveland, the city will implode and form an uninhabitable crater. Even if Lebron is able to lure Carlos Boozer (shouldn't be difficult) this is the same Cleveland Cavaliers team, plus Carlos Boozer. Boozer is a great player, sure. But does he alone bring more than JJ Hickson, Antawn Jamison and Anderson Verejao combined? Were the 2009/10 Cleveland Cavaliers not already a venerable NBA All Star team? Carlos Boozer simply doesn't do enough to change the game in Cleveland. Once the 2010 Playoffs roll around, and the Cavs are making their familiar early exit, this city will literally self-destruct. Better to let Lebron go now, and let Cleveland continue its slow (albeit comfortable) midwestern death.
Given that Orlando returns all of its key players, with Dwight Howard (hopefully) more focused on improving his offensive game, and Stan Van Gundy more willing to play a traditional lineup and maximize our potential in the low post, the Magic are going to contend for the Eastern Conference again in 2010/11. Whether or not they will have the pieces to take down a team like the Lakers remains to be seen.
But, as far as I can tell, they should have all the pieces to take down the rest of the East when the free agency dust settles.