Big Fish in the Pond: Why the LA Lakers Are Still the Team To Beat

The Miami Heat have been the clear winners of this offseason (they're further ahead in the free agent frenzy that Usain Bolt at the 90 meter mark), landing LeBron James Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem.

But rejoice Lakers and pure basketball fans alike, the Miami Heat have finally been told no by a free agent.

Derek Fisher entertained the idea of playing for the now most hyped team in basketball, but the five-time champ will stay true to his colors next season...and those colors are purple and gold.

He said he wanted to return to the defending champs for a chance at a sixth ring, and sources say he'll get a multi-year deal (three years with a player option on the last season).

For the last decade it's become an omnipresent fact and an over-used cliche in the NBA, but again the Lakers are the team to beat.

Kobe said the Lakers needed Fish and that he personally didn't think it was an option to let his long-time teammate go.

The soon to be 36-year-old showed that he could still perform in key moments of games and that he was imperative to the team as a leader.

By getting Fisher back, the Lakers essentially have all the key pieces that led them to their franchise's 17th title about a month ago.

The starting five of Bynum, Gasol, Artest, Bryant and D-Fish are all back.

Ron Ron should have a better grasp of the triangle offense and the team should have a greater feel for one another next season.

And while they should still be considered the favorites, the Lakers need to find a way to bolster up their bench.

The Bench

Steve Blake will be a big improvement at the point guard position, whether as a starter or as a back-up for Fisher. He's a smart guard who shoots the ball with great range and efficiency. Plus Blake has the added incentive of this is being his best chance to win a championship.


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