- Bradford Doolittle, ESPN Staff Writer
There are no shortcuts to an NBA title. Not even the Miami Heat as we know them were created overnight.
Sure, the Big Three sprang into being in the span of three days in 2010, but to put his organization in position to combine LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, team architect Pat Riley had to map out the course of his club for years beforehand. This summer, we've witnessed the high-profile pursuit of franchise center Dwight Howard and the high-profile non-pursuit of Chris Paul, and it's understandable why any team would be eager to acquire the rare talents of those All-Stars. There also have been many moves made for players on lower tiers, and some of those transactions have left solid but non-elite players in locales that, on the surface, don't make much sense.
With that in mind, let's look at four teams whose behavior this summer seems to belie where they sit in the contention cycle. Are general managers around the NBA getting a little panicky? Or is this simply another manifestation of what we've come to know as the "silly season?" This much is true: These four teams were among the six clubs at the bottom of the attendance chart in 2012-13. That, as much as anything, might explain what we've seen.
Key moves: Signed center Al Jefferson to a three-year, $40.5 million contract. The last year is a player option.
Where that leaves them: Believe it or not, in my latest run of projections, the Bobcats grade out as a nominal playoff contender in the East.
21hSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann