The following players may not have All-Star pedigree, but they have the game to push these teams to the Larry O'Brien trophy.
There are bigger names out there, but in the realities of the salary cap most contending teams don't have the room to add them. They would have to go after them via team altering trades. These teams are close enough that they do not have to be that drastic.
While these moves may not be as sexy as a big trade, the effect on the big picture will be.
Miami Heat: Samuel Dalembert
The Heat had a lot of centers on their roster last season, and none of them were the right fit. They had a group of injury prone and incomplete players.
In a perfect world the Heat would land a center that has low-post offense and good D. However, those guys are few and far between. They are also way too expensive for the Heat.
So, the Heat need to find a guy they can count on night in and night out that will rebound and play solid defense—enter Dalembert.
Last season Dalembert averaged 8.2 points per game and 1.5 blocks. His rebounding and shot blocking would help free up Bosh on the defensive end to save his legs, and allow him to focus on the offensive end of the court.
While Dalembert doesn't offer a low-post game, he can run the floor well to pick up easy buckets and won't slow this team down. He is also very durable. He played in 80 games last season, and a full 82 in all four seasons prior to that.
Chicago Bulls: DeShawn Stevenson
It is no secret that the Bulls need a shooting guard. It is their one weakness. Last season they patched it together with a combination of Keith Bogans and Kyle Korver. Both players are far too incomplete to be a viable starting option.
The Bulls need someone that can keep defenses honest with an outside shooting touch, while not being a liability on the defensive end.
Stevenson will do just that. DeShawn is not effective with the ball in his hands, but he is an excellent spot-up jump shooter as he shot 38 percent from three-point land. This touch would keep his guy from leaving him to help on Derrick Rose.
Stevenson's strong on the ball defense against either shooting guards or small forwards would also improve an already amazing Bulls' defense.
This tough defensive two guard showed in last year's finals what his most valuable asset to the Bulls would be: he can stick LeBron James.
LeBron took a lot of heat for his poor performance in the finals—especially in the fourth quarter. A big part of this failure needs to be attributed to Stevenson's excellent defense.
Thanks to Stevenson, the Mavs were able to keep LeBron in check, in a finals showing that included a career playoff-low eight points in Game 4.
The Heat figure to be the Bulls' main competition to get into the finals. Adding the player best equipped to defend and rattle LeBron is a good first step towards taking down the Heat.
Chicago is likely considering adding a bigger name shooting guard, but they lack the cap space to do so in any way that is not via a trade.
To do that they would have to trade one of their core players. This move would allow them to fill a need, and keep their core in tact.
Los Angeles Lakers: JJ Barea
The Lakers are reportedly making a big push to acquire Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Obviously if they pull that off, this move will be far less significant.
However, they don't have the talent to entice both of these guys from their respective teams. A smart prediction says they will end up with Dwight, but would still have a glaring hole at point guard.
Barea would be an excellent fit. The Lakers severely lack quickness, shooting and penetration from the point guard position. Barea will bring all of those.
JJ is excellent at taking defenders off of the dribble and getting into the lane. This will help break down defenses and allow Barea to get the Lakers' bigs the ball in great position.
Barea is also solid in the pick and roll game, which will help keep the Lakers' offense from getting stagnant in half-court sets.
Barea is a good enough shooter that his man will not be able to leave him on help defense. He shot 35 percent from the field last season.
He does not bring much on the defensive end as he is easily beat off of the dribble, but assuming LA will bring in Dwight Howard, this is not as big a concern for the Lakers.
Having Howard under the rim has a funny way of sapping a player's desire to take it into the lane.