LeBron’s got his — who will be next superstar to finally find gold?
He has two regular-season MVPs, but the trophy Steve Nash still is chasing is the NBA title. After spending the past eight seasons with the Suns, Nash, who averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists last season, is a free agent, and an especially attractive one to any contender looking for a point guard. Rumor has it Nash might join the Knicks to help Carmelo Anthony and former Suns teammate Amar'e Stoudemire win their first title.
I got mine
OK, LeBron James has his ring — finally. So that raises the question: Who's the next NBA superstar to finally score some championship bling? The obvious answer could be found on the floor with the Heat at the conclusion of the 2012 Finals. But the kiddies from OKC aren't the only stars on the verge. Here are the league's biggest stars with the best shots at winning their first championship.
Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook
Most people would agree the Oklahoma City Thunder are a budding dynasty, thanks in large part to their under-25 dynamic duo. And while Durant and Westbrook may seem like the most likely superstars without bling to strike gold, seeing how they fell just three games short of the title this season, the biggest questions heading into next season seem to be whether Westbrook can be a more consistent point guard, and will the Thunder learn from their failure against the Heat or take a step back?
If the Bulls can surround him with a bit more talent so maybe he doesn't take quite as much of a pounding while trying to carry the team, Rose could bring back memories of NBA supremacy to Chicago. Rose was durable in his first three seasons, but this season was limited to 39 games. Maybe if the Bulls could figure out a way to get this next guy to Chicago ...
Whenever Superman gets his first ring, it sure won't be in Orlando. Howard is the perfect piece for a team that has talent but is suffering from Doughnut Syndrome (hole in the middle). Howard may end up with a perennial contender like the Lakers, but he won't be headed for a championship unless he concerns himself more with what's happening on the court and less about who the coach is.
Chris Paul & Blake Griffin
What began as Lob City ended as Sob City after the Clippers got swept by the Spurs in the second round. But hey, these are the Clippers, and making the playoffs is monumental progress. As we head into Year 2 of the Griffin-Paul era, it looks as if LA's "other" team may be the future force to be reckoned with. Questions surrounded the future of coach Vinny Del Negro, but Vinny's back. Can he get his stars over the hump, or will Paul and Griffin soon look elsewhere for that ring?
Carmelo Anthony has led the Knicks to back-to-back playoff appearances — both ending in the first round. Melo, who saw his scoring dip to 22.6 points last season, and Amar'e Stoudemire still are chasing that first title, and the Knicks' first championship since 1973. With Mike D'Antoni gone, they may have a shot at it if Jeremy Lin returns and makes more magic, or if they land this next guy ...