Late trade shocker shakes the league
LAST Tuesday, TEENage provided our readers with a small breakdown of the story lines that could define the outcome of the upcoming NBA season, but all those headlines and trades have been overshadowed by the league's latest headline.
Last Saturday, after failure to come to an agreement over a contract extension, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, James Harden, to the Houston Rockets.
By virtue of coming so close yet so far against the Miami Heat in the finals, many pundits were expecting OKC to make another push on the back of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden but instead they'll be hoping that acquisitions Kevin Durant and Jeremy Lamb can make up for his absence.
That being said, Rockets fans will be all smiles entering the new season as they now boast two of the league's youngest and most exciting players in Harden and Jeremy Lin, who they acquired from the New York Knicks. Undoubtedly, the Western Conference has taken on a completely different complexion.
That being said, the league will return to action tonight with three respective fixtures; Washington Wizards vs the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics vs the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks visiting the Los Angeles Lakers.
While not undermining the opening game of the season, not much is expected of either of these teams so most will be waiting anxiously to see another installation of the rivalry between the Celtics and the Heat on the heels of South Beach capturing its second title.
What will make this fixture even more interesting is the anticipation of the reaction that Ray Allen will get from the Celtics players and coaching staff with which he spent so many years and claimed his first and only championship ring.
Aside from Allen, other players on the rosters of both teams will be looking to make a statement to signal the intention of their franchises for the months to come.
In the night's closing game, both the Mavericks and the Lakers will be looking to get into stride with their revamped rosters.
On that note, the majority of the pressure will be on the shoulders of the Lakers as they lost all their preseason encounters (the only team who failed to register a win) despite the presence of Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash.
That was the preseason, however, and now they are playing for all the marbles so similar performances are nowhere near acceptable.