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NBA Off Season Report Card: Grading each Eastern Conference team

Publish Date: 08/05/2022
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 20: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles the ball against Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center on October 20, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Boston Celtics: A

The Celtics added two veteran contributors to the East’s champions last year with only significant  taxpayer-funded midlevel exemption and a 2023 first-round pick. Malcolm Brogdon was a big addition. He gives Boston a solid playmaker without sacrificing thWith the addition of a true point guard; the Celtics look poised to make another run at the NBA Finals. e elements that mCeltics great in the playoffs (shooting and size at all positions). Bet on the NBA in the upcoming season by using our best new betting sites.

The Durant trade rumors will not make it easier for Ime Udoka, the second-year addition of a true point guard is just what Odoka needs. The Celtics look poised to make another run at the NBA Finals. Danilo Galinari, who was signed with the midlevel, gives Boston an additional shooter and scorer in its frontcourt. Gallinari’s presence makes it easier to reduce the workload on Al Horford throughout the regular season and keep Horford fresh for playoffs.

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 Brooklyn Nets: D

Brooklyn’s handling Kyrie Irving’s player option has left the Nets with major questions about their three best players heading into training camp. The Nets will only know if they have overplayed Durant’s hand or can convince him to withdraw his trade requestsignificantre free agency. Durant, Irving, and Ben Simmons is looking at a 16-month layoff between competitive playing and recovering from back surgery.

 Charlotte Hornets: D-

Charlotte hasn’t added any NBA veterans to its roster, leaving their mid-level exception unaffected. But, they could use more. The Hornets’ first-round pick Mark Williams is a rim runner/rim protector.

The offseason has been dominated by the looming threat of horrendous charges against Miles Bridges, a restricted free agent who pleaded not guilty to three counts of felony domestic abuse. Bridges will likely be unavailable for at least part of next season, so it would not be easy for the Hornets to replace his production.

 Chicago Bulls: C+

Although Chicago’s minor additions to their roster this offseason make sense in a vacuum, we still want more. After a strong season, the Bulls spent $3.2 million on their midlevel exception to sign Andre Drummond and Nikola Vucevic. Goran Dragic is Chicago’s veteran newcomer. He was signed to provide depth at point guard where Lonzo ball is still recovering from knee surgery.

The Bulls also signed forward Derrick Jones Jr. and drad Dalen Terry. These moves will improve Chicago’s second unit, which was woefully lacking in quality last season. The Bulls still have not addressed their weaknesses inA quiet summer was a good idea.  the second half of the season, disappointing after a strong start.

 Cleveland Cavaliers: B-

The Cavaliers had been busy over the past 18 months addo their young core, including extended guard Darius Garland. A quiet summer was a good idea. The big deal in Cleveland was the return of Ricky Rubio. Before being traded, he was a veteran presence and quality complement for Garland last season.

The Cavaliers have yet to complete one key piece of business. Collin Sexton remains the most prominent remaining free agent, asiddecide Sexton won’t be able to accept an offer from any other team and will need to make a decision between signing a $7.2 million qualifying offer for a long-term deal with Cleveland or taking advantage of unrestricted ag,ency next summer.

 Detroit Pistons: B

After moving Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers the Pistons made an understandable decision to use the 13th pick of this year’s draft ( Jalen Duren) and a pair of second-rounders. Detroit could still make more by flipping Alecburks or Nerlens Noel onto other teams before the deadline.

The Pistons signed former No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III to a three-year contract worth $37.5 million. Durebeen n has added to the Pistons’ draft roster. 5th pick Jaden Ivey to a young core that includes recent first-rounders Saddiq bey, Cade Cunningham, and Isaiah Stewart. The Piston are on the road to being a contender.

 Indiana Pacers: B-

This offseason has producedrumoursrumors than actual Indiana transactions. The Pacers settled for a low-value first-rounder from the Celtics for Brogdon. This deal made sense considering Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana’s future point guard, could sustain injuries that could impact Brogdon’s trade value in the future.

After much speculation, the Pacers signed Deandre Ayton on a max offer sheet, only for the Phoenix Suns to match it immediately. Indiana is now hoping to use $30m in cap space in trade markets, possibly as a landing place for Russell Westbrook and other future picks. Check out our top sportsbooks for betting on the NBA!

 Miami Heat: C

The Philadelphia 76ers offered P.J. Tucker a three-year deal. The Heat didn’t have many options for replacing Tucker, as Tucker was at the nontaxpayer middle-level exception. Miami was reluctant to use the full midlevel exception and trigger a hard limit, which would have restricted the team’s trading options. Thestead used the less taxed midlevel exception to sign restricted free agent Caleb Martin.

At a fair price, Miami also brought back Victor Oladipo, the guard, to keep the team under the luxury tax threshold. The Heat’s ability to trade for an All-Star player will determine whether that change occurs. Mitchell seems more likely than Durant.

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 Milwaukee Bucks: B+

The Bucks, despite being in a small market, show a willingness hefty taxes to compete during Giannis Antookounmpo’s prime. Milwaukee spent a lot to sign center Bobby Portis and extend wing Pat Connaughton.

The question is whether the Bucks signed Joe Ingles to take advantage of the taxpayer-funded midlevel exemption. Info is coming off an ACL tear and should be back around the All-Star break. Milwaukee will need to trust that Ingles can quickly pick up defensive s able to use his postseason playmaking and shooting.

 New York Knicks: B

The Low Post was discussed back at the beginning of free agency. You can disagree witKnick’sKnicks long-term strategy, but not their execution. New York skillfully discarded contracts last summer to make enough cap space to sign guard Jalen Bruson, the best free agent to switch teams this offseason, and center Isaiah Hartenstein.

The Knicks turned the No. 11 pick in this year’s draft into three potential first-rounders, increasing their offer to Mitchell. Although it’s unclear how New York will fare with Bruns with a Brunson-Mitchell backcourt, the Knicks have a higher goal than in the past.

 Orlando Magic: B-

For the rest of the offseason, Orlando remained the same as before. After surprising everyone by taking Paolo Banchero with their first pick in the draft. The Magic extended guard Gary Harris and signed big man Mo Bamba to similar deals with nonguaranteed 2nd seasons. This made them attractive to other teams.

A wait-and-see approach for Orlando makes sense given Banchero’s offensive focus and that Markelle Fultz (who was back for 18 games last season) and Jonathan Isaac are both coming back from injuries. The Magic should know by the deadline which of its other young players, Franz Wagner, are keepers.

 Philadelphia 76ers: A

The Sixers were able to restructure their roster around Harden, incumbent starters Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris. Harden’s decision not to sign for a $47.2m player option and to accept a lower starting salary — which ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported last Wednesday that the NBA would investigate for tampering — allowed Philadelphia to use the nontaxpayer midlevel exception to add Tucker.

The 76ers signed Tucker and former Houston Rocket Danuel house Jr. In a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies; they acquired De’Anthony Melton. This resulted in a more Philadelphia option, with more two-way players to help put around the stars.

 Toronto Raptors: B+

The Raptors were able, thanks to the return of most of their playoff team, to negotiate in free agency. Otto Porter Jr, who just helped the Golden State Warriors to win a title, is Toronto’s most significant addition. Porter’s large frame fits in well with the Raptors’ interchangeable frontcourt. His shooting is also a welcome addition.

Other than Porter, Toronto resigned reserves Chris Bocher and Thaddeus Youth (the latter technically being an extension). Both contracts are favorable, with Boucher’s salary decreasing season to season and Young’s salary from 2023-24 nonguaranteed.

 Washington Wizards: B

After Wizards star Bradley Beal refused to sign an extension on his contract, the Wizards offered him all they had available on a five-year, maximum deal worth more than $250m. Beal was the first player since Carmelo Anthony to be granted a player option and a maximum 15% trade bonus. It is unclear whether Beal, who was an All-Star in three seasons, earned the most lucrative contract.

Washington’s efforts to rebuild the depth charts at point guard were much more appreciated than I thought after they traded Spencer Dinwiddie before the deadline. After acquiring Monte Morris and Will Barton from Denver Nuggets in exchange for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Ish Smith, the Wizards, signed Delon Wright, a proven backup, to a $16 million, two-year deal. These additions will make Washington more competitive for a play-in spot.

 

 

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