'Tis the most wonderful time of the year — the NBA's annual Christmas Day bonanza, which unofficially tips off the season for casual and hardcore fans alike.
As we settle in for a rematch of last year's Finals between the Warriors and Cavs, the holiday battle for Los Angeles pitting the Lakers against and Clippers, and a low-key matchup featuring the Spurs and Bulls, we couldn't help but embrace the giving spirit. Here's one perfect gift for every NBA team headed into the new year.
Atlanta Hawks: A time machine
We're not suggesting the Hawks go back and un-sign Dwight Howard. Instead, Atlanta could use a little bit of time-traveling to bring back a healthy, pre-back-surgery version of Howard — and a younger Kyle Korver while we're at it.
Boston Celtics: Another team's superstar demanding a trade
The Celtics have all the assets, minus perhaps a game-changing young player. All Boston needs is for someone like DeMarcus Cousins to get fed up and demand to be relocated.
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY SportsEd Szczepanski
Brooklyn Nets: First-round picks (or a new owner)
If we can't replace Mikhail Prokhorov with someone who actually seems interested in being an NBA owner, can we at least decide to give Brooklyn a compensatory first-round pick for the mistakes of the previous regime? ... no? Fine.
Charlotte Hornets: Some nationally televised games
The Hornets are one of the best teams in the NBA, and you probably have no clue how good they are. Let's get the purple and teal on a few ESPN and TNT broadcasts while the All-Star Game voting is still open.
Chicago Bulls: A 3-point shot for Dwyane Wade
Or for anyone, really, although it seems unlikely that Jimmy Butler or Rajon Rondo is going to turn into a long-range marksman overnight. Wade, on the other hand, could lengthen his career by ushering in a late-career renaissance as a 3-point specialist. Make it so, Santa.
Cleveland Cavaliers: An industrial-sized roll of bubblewrap
With J.R. Smith sidelined, the Cavs can't risk any more major injuries. Let's get LeBron and Kyrie wrapped up and stowed away for safe-keeping until the playoffs.
Joe MurphyJoe Murphy
Dallas Mavericks: A new Achilles tendon for Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk doesn't deserve to go out like this. His final season(s) should be spent raining 3s on opponents and roasting defenders with one-legged fadeaways.
Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jokic turning into a superstar
The Nuggets need two things: An outstanding basketball player to build around, and fans to watch the games.
Perhaps Jokic could kill two birds with one stone.
Detroit Pistons: A nice, relaxing vacation for Stan Van Gundy
If Van Gundy doesn't get away from his team's lackluster effort soon, he might suffer a cardiac event — and all we want is for SVG to stay healthy and happy.
Golden State Warriors: A historic winning streak
The 27-4 Warriors enter their Christmas Day game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on a seven-game winning streak. I'd like to see them reel off another 27 wins and break the record of 33 consecutive wins set by the 1971-72 Lakers.
Houston Rockets: Nerlens Noel
Clint Capela is injured. Noel wants out of Philly. Why is this match made in heaven so hard to make a reality?
Indiana Pacers: An All-NBA selection for Paul George
If PG-13 is picked for an All-NBA team this year, the Pacers can offer him one of the new "Designated veteran" max contracts — which would silence any and all trade whispers in Indiana.
Brian SpurlockBrian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Clippers: Some of MJ's "Secret Stuff" for Paul Pierce
As long as the Clips are healthy, we know what to expect from Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. It's the small forward position that will determine whether L.A. can stand toe-to-toe with the Warriors in the West.
Joe CamporealeJoe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Lakers: A resolution to the ownership situation
The Lakers were supposed to have returned to playoff success by this season, yet the good times of a fast start quickly washed away in Los Angeles. And all the while, the "will he or won't he [be fired]?" status of Jim Buss lingers in the air. Ownership needs to clarify expectations for this team before someone panics and mortagages the future.
Memphis Grizzlies: A documentary series directed by Kobe Bryant
The Grizzlies are the kings of clutch this season, and Kobe's recreated himself as a film maven in his post-playing career. Having the always-clutch Black Mamba produce a short movie on Memphis' winning ways in 2016 seems like a perfect gift.
Miami Heat: The Goran Dragic trade everyone seems to want
Sometimes, the best thing you can say to someone you love is "good-bye."
Milwaukee Bucks: A stint in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber for Thon Maker
If Maker develops into the stretch-five Milwaukee envisions, the Bucks are going to be an absolute force of limbs and athleticism for the foreseeable future. Let's speed up the process with this fictional room that turns one day on Earth into a full year's worth of training.
Minnesota Timberwolves: A year's supply of throat lozenges for Tom Thibodeau
... which he will go through within a week.
Nell RedmondNell Redmond/Associated Press
New Orleans Pelicans: A center who can unleash Anthony Davis' true potential
AD is at his best defensively when he can roam freely, erasing shots and snuffing out screens before the opponent knows what hit them — but he needs an anchor at the rim, and Omer Asik clearly isn't the answer.
New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis getting to play center full-time
The Unicorn (aside: I hate that nickname) is a rim-protecting, 3-point-shooting, slam-dunk-flushing marvel. The quicker the Knicks embrace having him play the five, the better off everyone will be.
Oklahoma City Thunder: An MVP award for Russell Westbrook
... and a nice triple-double average on the season to go with it.
USA TODAY SportsJason Getz
Orlando Magic: A commitment to small-ball
The Magic aren't going to make any noise this year anyway. Why not move Nikola Vucevic, play Serge Ibaka at center, and let Aaron Gordon move up to his natural position at power forward?
Philadelphia 76ers: A trade. Just ... any trade
Seriously, either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor needs to go.
Phoenix Suns: A youth movement
Trying to flirt with wins was fun, but it's time to let the veterans in Phoenix be locker-room leaders while the young guys actually take the court. On the bright side, at least Devin Booker's shot has bounced back after an ugly start.
Portland Trail Blazers: A way to re-work Evan Turner's contract
Is it too late to add an amnesty clause to the recently ratified CBA? It is?
Welp. Sorry, Portland.
Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins' first playoff berth ever
We all know that Boogie's never made the postseason, but when you write it out like that, that fact becomes particularly jarring. The Kings are currently tied for eighth in the West; here's hoping they can stay there.
San Antonio Spurs: Stealth cloaking technology from the military
The Spurs fly under the radar better than any other successful franchise in professional sports, and the only Christmas gift we can think to give them is a bit of help continuing that tradition.
Toronto Raptors: An improved defense before Dwane Casey explodes
With every passing game, the Raptors coach is approaching the point of actively begging his team to concentrate on defense as much as they focus on offense. Give the old guy a break for the holidays.
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY SportTom Szczerbowski
Utah Jazz: Time to gel
The Jazz are a dangerous team that can't quite seem to stay healthy enough to develop the necessary chemistry to become a true contender. Christmas is a time for friends and family, and that kind of camaraderie is all Utah really needs.
Washington Wizards: An identity
John Wall, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, Otto Porter — these are all talented basketball players who can help you win games. Yet the Wizards seem more like a loose assemblage of parts than a cohesive squad. As Scott Brooks begins to put his stamp on this franchise, one wonders what they'll fall back on when times get tough.