Rockets fans better hope Morey can work his magic and get Iguodala in the mix or maybe Kevin Love?

Iggy and CP3 may be the key to the 2020 NBA title

Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

News Flash! The dynasty is over (at least for one year) and the race for the 2020 title in the NBA is wide open. Gone is the Bay Area "superteam" loaded with 4-star players and a supporting cast that does just enough of the dirty work to get the job done. The league is now all about 6 or 7 teams made up of dynamic duos that give their team and city hope that a title run could be in their future. The favorites could very well be the team that has the best 3rd option of the contenders, followed by the team that has the best overall supporting cast. The two teams in Los Angeles are the leaders of the pack with a deadly combination of star power and role players in all the right spots. Milwaukee has one all-world player and a deep roster of talented and capable veterans at every position and Boston is just loaded with above average talent on quite possibly the deepest collection of talent in the league. Philly may have lost J.J. Reddick, but they have Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. Teams like Houston, Dallas, Denver, Utah and Miami are waiting in the wings for the perfect deal or salary buyout that could put them over the top and into the mix to have a legitimate shot at a ring. With that said, I present to you the three players that could rearrange the NBA landscape between now and the playoffs.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have told teams around the league that they are now open to trade offers for Kevin Love. The veteran power forward has a ton of playoff experience including a ring, he is a stretch-four that shoots a good percentage from distance and is capable of fitting right in with a contender to provide rebounding, locker room leadership and smart decision-making. Obviously he fits in better with teams like the Bucks, Celtics, Rockets and Clippers because of the stars they already have on those squads and style of play of coaching staff in place. I don't think he would be a good fit with his former teammate LeBron James and the Lakers because they had a rocky relationship in Cleveland, Anthony Davis already does what Love can do and numbers that would have to be involved salary wise would make it difficult to execute a deal. He would be a perfect fit in Houston because of his size, shooting ability and experience playing in a system where the ball is dominated by one or more players.

Chris Paul is a guy that a ton of teams around the league would love to have, but his contract and salary number have hindered and prohibited the majority of those clubs from exploring a trade. After his tumultuous stint in Houston and his hamstring that left H-town "hamstrung" in the playoffs two years ago, there were serious doubts if he could still play at a high level and contribute to a title contender. When he was traded to the Thunder he could have pushed back and fought the move, even possibly holding out, but instead he has embraced the jump to OKC and in the process proved to the world he has plenty left in the tank. The Lakers would love to find a way to add CP3 to the mix of AD and 'Bron if they could make it work financially. Miami tried to trade for him before the season and would love to put him next to Jimmy Butler to validate the Heat as a contender in the East. Milwaukee is another team where Paul's services would be sought after and his skill set would fit, but coming up with the players and money needed to consummate a deal, especially as a small market team, might be too big of a challenge for Giannis and company. Obviously the Rockets won't be exploring this option any time soon for obvious reasons that the fans of Houston know far too well. Red Nation just has to hope no contending team gets creative enough to work a deal for CP3 and catapult themselves into the race for the crown in either conference.

Believe it or not, the one player that could decide who raises the Larry O' Brien trophy this coming June is not a superstar or and all-star, it's Andre Iguodala. The veteran wing player is the perfect compliment to just about every team with a shooters chance to be playing in late June in the NBA. He has won titles with the Warriors and dealt with difficult situations both on and off the court, including in-fighting between stars like Draymond Green and Kevin Durant. He is an above average defender capable of guarding multiple positions at a high level and this in itself makes him a hot commodity that every team would love to have. If you leave him open he can knock down the 3-ball and if he gets out on the break he is capable of finishing at the rim whether he goes over someone, around them or to the line.

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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