Lamar Odom Hoping Improved Eastern Conference Will Benefit Lakers in Long Run

If you want to know Lamar Odom's thoughts on the Miami Heat and the superteam they've assembled, you're likely to be sent in another direction to get some thoughts on South Beach's newest trio.

That's because, while he thinks what the Heat have done in signing LeBron James and Chris Bosh while re-signing Dwyane Wade is good for the game of basketball, he feels the Heat aren't his and the Lakers' problem until June.

"People ask me [about Miami]; you should ask Orlando and Boston because that's who they [the Heat] have to get past to the Finals," he told CSNNE.com

Well, Doc Rivers was asked about the Heat recently, and not surprisingly, he said that he and his team are ready to meet the challenge head on.

"At the end of the day, you're going to have to perform," Rivers told the Orlando Sun Sentinel. "Miami is going to have to perform. Orlando is going to have to perform. We're going to have to perform. Somebody has to perform better than someone else. It doesn't matter who you have on the floor."

Naturally, the Celtics aren't going anywhere. They have a team of fiery competitors and they seem intent on making the rest of the improved Eastern Conference know that the conference still runs through them.

But the competition will be there in the now-superior East. The Heat did what they did, and everyone seems to forget that Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic won 59 games last year.

The battle for the Eastern Conference crown (and quite possibly, a bid to face the Lakers in the NBA Finals), is likely going to be nothing short of a dogfight.

For Odom, that's perfect.

"Of course we want them to beat each other up a little bit," he said of the teams in the East. "But nothing is set in stone."

While nothing may be set in stone, it's a good bet that some combination of these teams will be doing meaningful battle come late spring.

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