L.A. Times: This time, the Lakers will defeat the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

At least, that’s what NBA general managers would envision based on an annual NBA.com survey to be released today.

Almost half the general managers — 46% — predicted the Lakers would win the championship, while 19% picked the Celtics and 12% picked New Orleans. San Antonio received 8% of the vote and was not the preseason favorite for the first time in five years.

The survey was not without its surprises.

If the general managers are correct, Cleveland forward LeBron James will dethrone Bryant as the league MVP. James received 56% of the vote, Bryant received 37%, and New Orleans guard Chris Paul was a distant third with 7%.

Bryant, however, received 89% of the vote when general managers were asked which player they would want taking a shot with the game on the line. It was the seventh consecutive season in which Bryant received the most votes in the category.

Big things were also predicted for Bynum, who received the highest percentage of votes (19%) for the player most likely to have a breakout season.