What Do the Pacers Need to Win the East? (PODCAST)

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Paul GeorgeWhen you make it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, you are an elite team. Period.

But that does not mean you are a legitimate championship contending team.

And if the Indiana Pacers are going to take that next step, they need to upgrade their backcourt in some way. George Hill and Lance Stephenson are nice players … but that’s the nicest thing you can say about them. When one of the other, or both, had a bad game in the playoffs, the Pacers usually lost.

So what is the cure?

Well, for starters, Rajon Rondo is out there to be had. So is Eric Gordon.

StatBox Free Agency Breakdown: Western Conference power slowly shifting, shooters getting paid

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There is, of course, the old adage that titles are not won in July (the Heat in 2010 being the clear exception) but several moves were made on Tuesday that could quietly alter the regular season standings out west next season. We’ve also seen shooters get large contracts this week like, it seems, never before. Those are the main two storylines from the July 2, but there’s a whole lot to get to before we all take a nice break for the holiday weekend.

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Mighty Moke’s Top 50 Free Agents – July 2 Update

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Dwight Howard

Like LeBron in 2010, Dwight Howard is 2013′s Biggest Prize

Welcome to the summer of “The Dwecision,” which is speeding along faster that LeBron’s “Decision.”

Dwight Howard has alread met with the Rockets, Mavericks, Hawks and Warriors, and the Los Angeles Lakers get the last shot at him today. El Lay can construct a helluva team around him in 2014-15 if they amnesty Kobe Bryant. No, really.

Howard has waited his entire NBA career to be in this position, and he is relishing it.

He was jealous of LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2010; he never got traded to the one team he most wanted to join – the Brooklyn Nets – and he is faced with the choice of re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers as they try to rebuild while Bryant recovers from a torn Achilles.

Or he could take his talents to Texas.

He is the top domino, and secondary big things won’t start to fall into place until he has made his Dwecision. But there are an awful lot of dominoes lined up behind him.

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SH Blog: Jerry West says blame on D’Antoni is unfair, wants Curry and Thompson to be greatest backcourt ever

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Jerry WestThe Los Angeles Lakers, although they finished the season on a very strong note, have greatly underachieved this season. We all know this.

For that, most want to blame Mike D’Antoni for his inability to make better use of the talent he has. Any time you have four Hall of Fame-level players on the same team (which doesn’t happen very often), you have the responsibility of doing big things. If you don’t, the blame goes on you. It’s as simple as that.

Or is it?

Jerry West – the NBA great and now a consultant for the Golden State Warriors - doesn’t think D’Antoni deserves half the amount of criticism he has gotten over the course of the season.

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Fantasy Spin: Spurs Get Healthy, Celtics Win Ugly, Nets Romp

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It was a wacky Wednesday in the NBA, with blowouts on some courts and futility on others. Tonight’s final two games of the first half are must-see TV.

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