10 Greatest NBA What-Ifs in the 2000s
In the post-Jordan era, many teams have tried to inherit his legendary Chicago Bulls at the top of the NBA. Although many tried, only eight teams managed to win the chip.
Teams like San Antonio, LA Lakers, Miami and others, built their dynasties through some great executive work, picking the right guys in the draft, trading for the best players and attracting the top free agents.
But success is never a given, even if you go hard for high-profile players and pay big. For example, OKC went for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony but fell short of expectations and the Lakers stroke out twice with Malone, Payton in 2004 and Howard, Nash in 2013.
So that raises a question: What would have happened if some of those title-winning teams came short? Moreover, and maybe more interesting, what would have happened if another team lived up to their potential and won it instead?
Let's look at the 10 biggest "What If?" scenarios of the 21st century, and take a peek at what the NBA looks like today in a parallel universe.
#10 What if Tim Duncan joined the Orlando Magic?
In the summer of 2000, Tim Duncan was a free agent. Even though he had already won a title with the Spurs, he did not rule out other options. One of those options was Orlando, which attracted future Hall-of-Famers Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady that summer. His move to Florida, however, fell through.
This story resurfaced in December of 2017, after Duncan's former teammate, Bruce Bowen, revealed that when Duncan met with then Magic head coach Doc Rivers, he asked him if family members could come on the team plane to some games.
Rivers refused to his request and according to Bowen, that's when he lost Duncan.
Duncan went on to win four more championships and two MVP awards, playing his entire career in San Antonio, while the Magic were never able to go past the first round of the playoffs
Rivers, who was let go early in the 2003-04 season, eventually found success with the Boston Celtics, but denied us an Eastern Conference super-team, one that could rival Kobe and Shaq's Lakers.