The Lakers officially became the best team again with the re-signing of Lamar Odom. I give Odom more credit than the Lakers in the decision to continue this relationship. L.A. gave him every chance to leave, but Odom unlike Trevor Ariza understands that chasing the pot of gold can lead you to oblivion and despair. So he made the correct decision and stayed.

I like Miami, but quite honestly the only team Odom should have been looking at was Portland. I am extremely surprised the Blazers did not chase Odom more aggressively and offered him more money instead of committing to Andre Miller. Miller has never played without the ball and I can’t see Brandon Roy being effective without it. The jury will be out for a while on this decision by Portland.

Odom would have given them a devastating frontline. A rotation of LaMarcus Aldridge, Travis Outlaw, Rudy Fernandez and Odom to surround Greg Oden would have been unbelievable. Well, it did not happen and the Lakers along with San Antonio are now the class of the Western Conference. Can I say Groundhog Day? Haven’t we been here before? Only a few years ago did we foresee both of these teams going downhill.  Now not only are they back in command, but they are deep.

Odom was the last piece of the free agent period and he solidified what most teams were hoping would not happen. He re-signed with the NBA champions and now the repeat has become extremely attainable in 2010.

Dark horses that could spoil the Spurs-Lakers party in the West...

Denver

No significant moves that make a huge difference from an extremely talented and versatile team. They will have a great record at home because teams struggle in that altitude.

Dallas

The Mavericks will be deeply improved with the addition of Shawn Marion, Drew Gooden and Tim Thomas. Marion will reach usual heights playing with Jason Kidd.

Portland

A very talented team, but they did not add more veterans to the young mix which will hurt them again come playoff time. They still remain extremely dangerous.

Utah

They always have a chance in the playoffs with the best home-court advantage in the league.

Teams that could spoil the spoilers...

LA Clippers

Please find me a more talented team in the NBA? If Baron Davis returns in great shape, he will have an abundance of big bodies Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman, DeAndre Jordan and versatile players Eric Gordon, Al Thornton and super rookie Blake Griffin – to pass the ball to.

Phoenix

A return to Seven Seconds or Less might not secure an NBA title, but it will surely force teams to adjust to the fast-break style that made the Suns one of the most popular and consistent winning teams prior to last season. Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Jason Richardson and Amare Stoudemire will be asked to carry a heavy load.