Chalmers knows East going to be a lot tougher this season

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The Indiana Pacers get Danny Granger back and added a lot of depth. The Chicago Bulls get former NBA MVP Derrick Rose back. The Brooklyn Nets added Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, plus some depth. The New York Knicks added Metta World Peace and will have Iman Shumpert a full season.

Miami has won the Eastern Conference three straight years and have back-to-back NBA titles. They have LeBron James. But while they have made no big moves this summer (Greg Oden, if the Heat land him, is not a big move — he hasn’t played since 2009) the rest of the East has gotten better.

The East is going to be much tougher next season and Miami is going to be hard pressed to be the first team to go to four straight NBA Finals since the 1987 Boston Celtics.

Mario Chalmers told the Associated Press the team understands that.

“The East is going to be a beast this year,” Chalmers said. “It’s going to be tough competition every night. Brooklyn’s making moves, Indiana just got Luis Scola, Derrick Rose coming back to the Bulls, it’s going to be a tough Eastern Conference this year. At the same time, we’ll still do what we do to try to get that third championship that we want.”

Miami is going to have to be better, be healthier come the playoffs if they want a three-peat. The question is can they rise to that challenge?