Over the last two seasons, the Celtics and Cavaliers have become the most intriguing regular-season rivalry in the NBA. The Celtics and Lakers still own the postseason — especially with both teams winning a title over the last two summers — but when it comes to the regular season, it’s the C’s and Cavs.
The storylines between the teams gained steam at the start of the 2007-08 season, heated up during the epic seven-game series in the Eastern Conference semifinals that same year and began to boil over with some antics by LeBron James and Co. during the Cavs’ run to the best record in the NBA last season.
With the Cavs looking to make a final push to win a title while James still plays his home games at the Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavs are going all-in in an attempt to not only take down a championship, but also keep No. 23 in town. And their offseason acquisitions will only add fuel to the fire of the growing rivalry.
Last summer, the Cavs solidified the surrounding cast around King James, as well as their bench, before falling short of their second Finals trip in three years by two wins. And now that James’ contract is expiring at the end of the season, the Cavaliers are hoarding big men to try and dim the bright lights of Broadway from LeBron’s vision.
The addition of Shaquille O'Neal will certainly create a stir at some point this season between the two teams, whether it occurs on the court or via Twitter. Shaq has yet to go to find a new home in the league and not make noise in some capacity, and now that he is back on a true contender, his personality will certainly take over.
With Shaq moving to Ohio and Anderson Varejao re-signing with the club, the Cavs went out and picked up free agent Leon Powe, who spent the last three seasons with the C’s. Coming off his third major left knee surgery, Powe is a question mark at this point, but a successful rehab and comeback would certainly pay off greatly for the Cavs.
It will certainly hurt Bostonians to see their former big man coming off the bench in Cleveland, paired up alongside James and making an already deep and dangerous team that much deeper and more dangerous. However, Celtics fans should not forget that the Celtics failed to make him a qualifying offer and let him hit the market without worrying about it. Little did the C’s know that he would wind up reuniting with his former AAU teammate, James.
The Celtics will be fine with the team they have now, though there are some concerns about their reserves. While Powe would have been a nice complementary piece to the puzzle, the front office decided to let him go the same way they let James Posey take off after their recent title, and only time will tell if their decision can be second-guessed.
Powe's career took off during his time wearing green, and the Celtics certainly owe him for his inspiring play over the last two years that led to their first championship since 1986.
But at the same time, Powe owes the Celtics for the chance to play a role on a top team in the league, and he will look to return the favor by beating the Celtics and helping the Cavs win an NBA title