LA Lakers or Miami Heat: Which Team Was Free Agency’s Biggest Winner?

The Miami Heat may have grabbed all the headlines with their free agency coup involving LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, but the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers made quite a statement of their own.

If Pat Riley's bold moves have made the Heat instant contenders for an NBA championship, then Mitch Kupchak's subtle moves ensure the Lakers are still the team to beat.

Many comparisons have been made between the two franchises, and most people feel the teams are destined to meet in next season's NBA Finals, but in reality the Lakers are much closer to that goal.

Los Angeles needed to do very little in terms of roster moves following its second consecutive championship, but the areas of concern were addressed in the Lakers' few moves.

Help at the point guard position was viewed as the Lakers' biggest offseason need, and the addition of Steve Blake gives the team a more dependable upgrade over the departed Jordan Farmar.

Blake's signing was an encouraging development, but the additional signing of free agents Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff were the real prizes in the Lakers' offseason.

The Lakers' defense was sometimes overshadowed by the precision of the triangle offense, but defensive specialists Ratliff and Barnes should guarantee the defensive unit gets all the recognition it deserves.

Tracy McGrady may be the biggest name left on the free agent market, but Barnes will likely have more impact for the Lakers, and he has none of the health questions that have plagued McGrady.

Barnes' reputation has been made on the defensive end of the floor, but he has shown the ability to knock down threes when opposing defenses have left him open.

And Barnes will get plenty of open looks because a rejuvenated Kobe Bryant may be asked to expend even less energy on the defensive end than he did last season.

It's no secret that Ron Artest made Bryant...

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