Regardless of Free Agency, the L.A. Lakers Are Still Next Season’s Favorites

The start of the free agent signing period on July 1st comes with speculation about which NBA stars could combine their forces and form the league's next super roster.

Many observers feel any pairing of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, or Joe Johnson would immediately make whatever team receives their services favorites to win the NBA title next season.


Last time I checked the title currently resides with the Los Angeles Lakers, and unless all four free agents previously mentioned decide to play for the same team, the Lakers will still be the favorites next season.

Any team featuring a combination of James, Wade, Bosh, or Johnson would be contenders, but which team could any of them join that could match the strength of the Lakers?

The most likely and expected scenario is Bosh and James teaming up in Chicago, and this would make the Bulls favorites to win the East, but unless there are other additions, Chicago's roster is still flawed.

Joakim Noah and Bosh in the front court sounds attractive, but the Lakers would still dominate on the inside with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, provided Bynum makes a full recovery from his latest knee injury.

The post area was the glaring difference in two games between the Bulls and the Lakers last season, and the addition of Bosh and James will make the Bulls better but it won't change that dynamic.

The same rule applies to any team Wade may choose to sign with. Even if his eventual decision upgrades the roster, can a team of free agent stars match the chemistry of the Lakers' own star-studded roster?

Los Angeles has great players in Kobe Bryant, Gasol, Lamar Odom, Bynum, and Ron Artest, but more importantly, they form a great team which has bonded through continuity the past three seasons.

Artest has been the only significant addition to the Lakers' roster since their streak of three consecutive ...

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