During those frantic days with the league's marquee franchises sequestered in Chicago, the great divide, or at least division of premium free-agent talent, seemingly was conquered, albeit with a few shuttle flights to Cleveland as part of the process.
It essentially was the NBA's Potsdam Conference, the power players of the league partitioned.
The Heat would get LeBron James and Chris Bosh, while also keeping Dwyane Wade. The Knicks would get Amare Stoudemire. The Bulls would land Carlos Boozer.
Those would be the faces of the NBA Finals for years to come.
When the NBA playoffs open, it will be a story about more than traditional powers and traditional players.
NBA finals: Heat def. Thunder 4-1
Winderman: LeBron James has been a prodigy, superstar and villain. And now he's champion. The journey has left the league and Finals MVP humbled and happy for those closest to him.
The kids are coming, and they might be staying in the championship mix for a while.
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden aren't going anywhere any time soon.
Rudy Gay and Mike Conley could have Memphis opponents singing the blues for a while.
Ty Lawson has the Nuggets playing at pace.
Roy Hibbert, figuratively, is the next big thing in Indiana.
Blake Griffin has the Clippers at heretofore unrealized heights.
And it's not just the individual new blood.
It's the perennial contenders infused with the possibilities of youth.
It's Rajon Rondo emerging as the definitive leader in Boston, after playing mostly as afterthought during the Celtics' most recent championship run.
It's Kawhi Leonard providing the youth that kept Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan fresh during the regular season in San Antonio.
It's Andrew Bynum proving every bit as essential for the Lakers as Kobe.
The kids? They're all right, having taken flight.
PBT: Pacers coach Frank Vogel said that the Heat have a more effective plan of attack against Roy Hibbert than the Knicks.
Y! Sports: For Roy Hibbert, a sense of ownership means knowing he should have fought to get in the game with two seconds remaining in overtime, when his absence allowed LeBron James to hit the winning lay-up.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
DPS: Is it really all about the rings?
DPS: Dan Patrick talks about Phil Jackson's comments about starting a team with Bill Russell now because of his championships and brings up the great question of, if it's all about championships, how come we don't talk about guys like Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey or John Havlicek who all have multiple rings?
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