- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Spurs fashioned perhaps the most productive offseason of the 30 teams in the NBA, however overlooked it was on the national level.

The Spurs, as usual, are lacking in sex appeal, be it their lack of news-making Twitter accounts, players gone wild on Web videos, quickie weddings, girlfriends on the lam and other lowbrow dealings that serve as entertainment in the NBA.

The Spurs have enough to deal with in Gregg Popovich, their Mount Etna who spares no one with his blue-toned insults.

The Spurs secured Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess and drafted DeJuan Blair, additions that should ease the onus on Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

These measures have reloaded the Spurs and eased their dependence on Ginobili, whose bum ankle buckles under the slightest provocation.

It would seem to be a two-team race in the West, the Spurs and Lakers, the edge going to which one is the healthiest going into the postseason.

The Lakers did not add to their mental stability with the signing of Ron Artest, a solid all-around player when he is not having one of those disembodied, it’s-so-bad-it’s-riveting moments.

The Lakers also added Khloe Kardashian to the fold after she and Lamar Odom met over coffee one day and decided right then and there to marry and live happily ever after.

That apparently is what the ridiculously hospitable weather of Los Angeles does to otherwise ordinary-thinking folks.

At least that romantic link beat the one that haunted Dirk Nowitzki, who woke up one day last spring and discovered that the woman of his dreams had a zillion aliases and was wanted on assorted criminal charges.

The Lakers do not have that ‘80s greatness about them. Or even the dominance of 2000-02.

Phil Jackson, the master of all things Zen, no doubt will be looking for ways to limit Kobe Bryant’s responsibilities and minutes in the regular season, if only to have a fresher player in the postseason.

Bryant may be only 31 years old, but he has accumulated a whole lot of wear on his lower limbs after 13 seasons in the NBA and four championship runs.

The latter, by the way, leaves him in a tie with Shaquille O’Neal, his former teammate, rival, enemy, buddy and motivational influence.

O’Neal left another team on bad terms and hooked up with another alpha male in LeBron James.

Maybe now LeBron and Kobe will get their June reward, the one that was preordained last spring until Hedo Turkoglu underwent a mystical transformation, became a poor man’s Larry Bird and ousted the Cavaliers.

There seems to be more of O’Neal to love this October, which is never a good sign. The quality of his season diminishes in relation to the expansion of his girth. Maybe this is a true indication that he is ready to be the 20- to 25-minute caddie for James.

Or maybe, by January, as always, he will be muttering: “Feed the post. Keep the big dog happy.”

The Cavaliers are expecting challenges from the Magic and the Celtics.

Yet the Magic made an odd decision after surprising everyone to reach the NBA Finals: They let Turkoglu take a walk and signed soft-nosed, perimeter-bound Vince Carter, whose most famous basketball moment remains his dunk over Frederic Weis in the Sydney Games in 2000.

That is never a good thing if your defining moment in basketball comes overseas and not on the hardwood of the NBA.

The hopes of the Celtics rest with the balky knees of Kevin Garnett and the volatile temperament of Rasheed Wallace, a bad combination certain to try the decorum of Doc Rivers.

Do not bet on the LeBron-Kobe NBA Finals just yet, even though that hope is going on its second season.

James and the Cavaliers may land in the NBA Finals in June, only to find that the Lakers have been supplanted by Duncan and the retooled Spurs.

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