Quijano: Western Conference shakeup

What a whirlwind display of wheeling and dealing that was right before the NBA trade deadline.

And just like that, we have a new superpower in the Western Conference in the Phoenix Suns with Kevin Durant now leading this team.

Prior to that, the Suns were one of the top six teams in the division with Devin Booker and Chris Paul eager to get back to the NBA Finals. But injuries have derailed this team and, frankly, these two alone do not have the gravitas to go all the way.

But with the “easy money sniper” added to the mix, they are indeed the juggernaut team to beat in the West.

LA. Looking better on paper, at least, are the Los Angeles Lakers. Now that they have shipped Russel Westbrook and Patrick Beverley out, they have retooled with better shooters and perimeter defenders.

In the team’s first game against the Golden State Warriors with its new crew members, Malik Beasley picked up the slack as Lebron James had a night off, scoring 25 points.

Newcomers Rui Hachimura added 14 and Mo Bamba chipped in with 10, as Anthony Davis had also turned in a subpar performance with 12 points.

James has publicly stated that the remaining games in the regular season will be the most important at this stage of his career, but I wonder if it’s just a little too late now. The Lakers are in the 13th spot in the standings and are not even qualified to make the play-in tournament.

Perhaps, they could go on a rampage and win 75 percent of their games so they could qualify for the play-in, but methinks that’s a tall order with all the other teams jockeying for prime real estate in the standings.

I am excited though to see James try and that would make for some exciting basketball action in the coming weeks.

Still in LA, another intriguing addition is Westbrook for the Clippers. Though not the force of nature he once was, Russ is still a strong dynamic presence on the court and I just thought he did not fit well with Lebron James as there was too much duplication with these two.

That will not be the case with the Clips as he would pretty much run the offense, allowing Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to get to their spots.

Personality-wise, this might actually work as both PG 13 and Kawhi are

just too laid-back and Westbrook’s fiery personality might just be what they need to fuel their ship to the promised land.

LAST ROUNDS. Are on the father and son tandem of lawyers Oscar Tan Jr. and Oscar Zosa Tan III who both recently celebrated their birthdays.