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6 Cards in this Set

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What is the main subject of this story
Suns clear cap, will they come after Kobe?
The Suns are blowing up again. Suns GM Bryan Colangelo read the writing on the wall. His team, once considered the best young squad in the NBA, was floundering. Attendance was dwindling. The luxury tax was looming. The chances of making the playoffs dimmed by the day.

What to do? Trade away problem child Stephon Marbury, get Penny Hardaway's millstone off your neck and try again next year. The prize? Enough cap room to make a run at the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, the rights to the best young point guard in Europe, Milos Vujanic, and a chance to to go from a being a good team to a great one next year.
What is the main topic of this story
Are the Kings better without Webber?
A big injury to a star player can turn even the best of teams into bottom feeders. But that's not exactly true this year. A few teams -- the Kings and Grizzlies come to mind -- are actually playing better without a key player.

Of course, that leads us to the obvious bar room debate -- are the Kings better off without Chris Webber? Would the Grizzlies be smart just to leave Jason Williams on the injured list for the next few months? Are there other teams out there that might be better if one of their top players stayed on the IL?
What is the main topic of this story?
Tony Parker leads the Spurs
How about the Spurs' six-game road streak quickly shutting up all of the pundits who had jumped off the San Antonio bandwagon? What about startling evidence coming out of Orlando, Chicago and Phoenix that firing the coach on bad team won't make it a good team overnight? Or -- and I know you've been waiting all season for this -- trouble in the paradise known as Golden State?
What is the main topic of this story?
NBA Draft: Down year for sophomores
The cream of the high school class of 2001 has already been skimmed off. Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh head the class and all three players look like they will be all-stars for years to come in the league.

"That class was pretty top heavy," one NBA scout said. "With the exception of Bosh and Stoudemire, there just weren't a lot of big men. Most of the really talented players left in the class are guards. That's a little disappointing, but there are some talented kids left."

Any given sophomore class is usually pay dirt for NBA scouts. Very few players leave after their freshman year, meaning the class is mostly intact. And, with two years of college ball under their belts, the really talented sophomores are usually ready to make the jump to the NBA and make an impact right away.

This year may be a little different. "The depth isn't there quite the way we like," one scout said. "I look at every player on this list and my gut reaction is for them to go back to school for one more year. I usually can point to two or three sophomores and say they're ready. It's a little tougher this year."

He's right. With the exception of Arizona's Andre Iguodala and Florida's Christian Drejer, scouts were split on almost every other prospect from the class.

Here's a quick look at 10 sophomores whom scouts will be watching this season.
What is the main topic of this story?
Anthony's progress has Nuggets excited
Two preseason games may be too early to make any judgment -- good or bad -- about anyone, let alone a rookie. But after watching Carmelo Anthony dominate in a preseason game versus the Suns on Saturday, it's hard to find something not to like.

Anthony has played just two games, both versus the Suns, and he's been fantastic in both. He scored 19 points in both games and grabbed 11 rebounds in the second game in Phoenix. But it's the swagger with which he's playing that's catching everyone's eye.
What is the main story?
Cavs GM Jim Paxson leads a charmed life. After doing his best to dismantle and then dismantle again the lowly Cavs, Paxson knew that that his job and his career in the NBA came down to a few hundred ping-pong balls in May. When the lottery balls fell his way, Paxson went from the Cavs' black widow to its savior overnight.

He got things right on draft night when he took LeBron James. James, almost overnight, breathed new life into the franchise. The arena started selling out. The jerseys flew off the shelves. The players suddenly wanted to play in Cleveland. Dogs and cats began living together.

And Paxson, bless his heart, got a big, fat extension.

If only it were so easy.

Rarely are the big decisions made in the summer so black and white. Franchises will be born and die this season based on decisions that were and weren't made by GMs and free agents in June and July.

As the season gets underway, Insider puts on its 20-20 hindsight glasses and asks . . . who made the right call?
Which teams made the right moves?