MIAMI (CBSMiami) – NBA general managers gave the Miami Heat plenty of respect in an annual poll released Monday. The GM’s predict the Heat will repeat as NBA champions and Heat superstar LeBron James will win another NBA MVP award.

The Heat will be facing a tougher road this year with a new-look Boston Celtics team pushing the Heat in the Eastern Conference and the new Los Angeles Lakers roster along with the Oklahoma City Thunder, who played the Heat in last June’s NBA Finals.

The NBA GM’s gave the Lakers high marks for their moves to acquire both point guard Steve Nash and center Dwight Howard in the offseason. Still, the Heat received 70 percent of the votes to win the 2013 NBA Championship.

The Heat reloaded in the offseason by adding shooting guard Ray Allen and forward Rashard Lewis. Allen is deadly from behind the three-point line and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to hit plenty of 3-point shots with LeBron and Dwyane Wade driving to the basket.

The Heat hope Lewis can regain some of the form he had in Orlando a few years ago when he helped lead the Magic to the NBA Finals. Lewis and Allen are both coming back from injuries, but neither will be expected to carry the full offensive load thanks to James, Wade, and Chris Bosh.

The general managers also picked New Orleans Hornets rookie Anthony Davis as the likely rookie of the year and the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich as the league’s best coach.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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