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We have all heard the saying "The Dawning of a New Era", but few times has anyone seen an era end in such swiftness. NBA Hoops Online scratches the surface of one of the busiest offseasons in NBA history.

Speaking of new eras, let's start off with the launch of the 30th NBA team, the Charlotte Bobcats. What does a new team have to do with a new era in basketball, you ask? It's happened before, but not like this. This new era begins in the front office, with an old man, Bernie Bickerstaff. Bickerstaff is the first African-American Founder, and is also the Head Coach.

Moving on, the abrupt ending of the Laker Dynasty stunned basketball fans around the globe. With the departure of marvel Head Coach Phil Jackson, Jerry Buss was quick to hire former Houston Rockets Head Coach Rudy Tomjanovich to take his place. In the biggest move of the offseason, nine time All-Star Center, Shaquille O'Neal was shipped to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, veteran forward Brian Grant, and a future draft pick. Basketball Legend Karl Malone, who took a major pay cut to play in Los Angeles has also left. Former All-Star Gary Payton, who also took a major pay cut to play with the Lakers, was recently traded to the Boston Celtics. At last, Lakers' centerpiece Kobe Bryant is currently on trial for rape, nothing is certain for the Los Angeles Lakers, not even a playoff appearance.

The Denver Nuggets, former laughing stock of the NBA, are one of the top contenders in the West. Denver, who came into the playoffs as a surprise, will only get better, there is no looking back for this team. With rookie sensation Carmelo Anthony leading the way, Kenyon Martin hopped along for the ride, joining such notable players as Voshon Lenard, Marcus Camby, and Nene. With the young athletic flair on this Nuggets team, I can make certain that the basketball era is just beginning in Denver.

At last, the Eastern Conference hoists the Championship trophy. With the way things are going, it looks like the East will be the dominant conference for the next couple of years. With the Detroit Pistons shocking the Lakers in four-to-one championship, and the arrival of Shaquille O'Neal in Miami, where he hopes to finish his career, it appears the East is only getting stronger. Not only is this happening because the East is getting better, but the West is getting worse. Along with the dismantling of the Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks have lost starting Guard Steve Nash to the Phoenix Suns, and with the aging of Michael Finley, it looks as if owner Mark Cuban would have better luck buying a trophy. Another Western team, which is getting worse, is the Sacramento Kings, who were oh-so-close to going to the Finals so many times lost starting Center Vlade Divac to the Los Angeles Lakers. The situation isn't getting any better with star shooter Peja Stojakovic asking to be traded, and Chris Webber's career only declining. With the exception of few teams, the West is slowly deteriorating.

However, not everything is good in the East, The New Jersey Nets , who have represented the East in two of the last three NBA Finals have lost star Forward Kenyon Martin, shooter Kerry Kittles. To make matters worse, Nets main attraction Jason Kidd hopes to be traded.

Like I said before, this is only scratching the surface of the busy offseason, and change of the tides in the National Basketball Association. Get ready for a new type of basketball, a very exciting, fast-paced brand game. This season guarantees excitement, for the reason that the Lakers have fallen, and the title is up for grabs.

-HeatFutureChamps6