By Gordon Robinson

  1. New York Knicks goes hard after top free agents. With the recent movement of J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert in the three team trade with OKC and Cleveland, the New York Knicks have placed themselves in position to be able to go after some pretty nice talent.  The Knicks could make a run at some names like Greg Monroe (Detroit Pistons), LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies) and Rajon Rondo (Dallas Mavericks).  Also, guys like Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat) and Roy Hibbert can exercise their player option to become an unrestricted free agent during the summer.  Keep an eye out for what Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks may have up their sleeve.
  2. Atlanta Hawks attempt to maintain number one spot in the East. Many fans in Atlanta are on the “wait and see” plan when it comes to the Atlanta Hawks and if they will buy into a deep playoff run.  With impressive wins against the titans of the Western Conference, the Hawks appear to be in playoff form today.  With that being said, many analysts believe that as the season continues many teams will play Atlanta tougher as they begin to fight for playoff position.  Let’s see if Atlanta can continue remain in the one or two spot atop the Eastern Conference to assure themselves an easier road during the playoff run.  It would be a lot easier starting off your postseason against Milwaukee, Miami or Brooklyn than to fall to third or fourth and have to face a healthy Cleveland or Washington team.
  3. More changes in Cleveland. LeBron James just some help on the defensive end as the Cavaliers added Iman Shumpert to the roster and look for more changes to come as the front office knows that defense will be needed if a championship run is in their future.  Cleveland needs a rim protector and we wouldn’t be shocked if they attempted to make a run at one of the young big men out in Philadelphia or tried to go after a shot blocker via free agency or the draft.
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder’s battle for playoff position. Early injuries to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook put the Thunder in a hole out West.  Now it is going to be an uphill battle to get back into the eighth spot, not talking about being a four or five seed.  The Thunder currently sits tenth in the West behind the New Orleans Pelicans and is about three games out of the eighth spot, which is held by the Phoenix Suns.  To let you know how tough it is in the Western Conference the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs hold the sixth and seventh spots.  If OKC can climb back in to playoff position, it will be a great first round match up if they get a chance to go against the Golden State Warriors.
  5. Midlevel teams spend big money for midlevel talent. It happens every year; in an effort to boost up the team’s roster some midlevel team pays big money for a guy who will not take them to that next level.  Last season, the Dallas Mavericks gave Chandler Parson a three year deal worth $46 million and still had to trade for Rajon Rondo to keep up out West.  We look forward to seeing which team will reach on a guy, overpay him and then realize that he’s not what they thought they were getting (Lance Stephenson)!