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The NBA Offseason For the 8 Teams not in Orlando

The Remaining 8 Teams and Their Upcoming Offseason

As we all know the NBA is returning at the end of July, but eight teams will be watching the rest of the league play from the comfort of their homes. The NBA and NBA Players Association voted to only invite the teams that have a chance at making it to the postseason. As basketball fans turn their attention to the 22 teams, the remaining eight teams will begin to do their homework for the draft, free agency, and potential trades.

Let’s take a look into the eight teams and what moves they can explore to make the leap into the top 8 of their respective conferences. Now, given the current economic and financial impact of Covid-19, we will be assuming the NBA salary cap will be less than the current $109.14 million. This will have an impact amongst all team’s financial flexibility and players with player options. We will also assume the NBA Draft order without a lottery and based on current odds.

Charlotte Hornets: 5 players to challenge Graham for Most Improved

Charlotte Hornets:

Current Roster:

The Hornets were expected to struggle this season, with point guard Kemba Walker heading to Boston last summer. The vacancy gave an opportunity for young guard Devonte’ Graham and forwards Miles Bridges and PJ Washington to show the league what they are made of. Graham averaged 18 ppg and 7.5 apg, Bridges averaged 13 ppg and 5.6 rpg, and Washington averaged 12 ppg and 5.4 rpg. Last offseason the Hornets signed Terry Rozier to a 3-year, $58 million contract. That signing has not panned out the way the rebuilding Hornets would have liked.

The Hornets should also look to unload as many of their veterans as they can; Nicolas Batum (assuming he opted into his $27 million player option); Cody Zeller, with his $15 million expiring contract; and recently signed Rozier.

Draft:

The Hornets at the 8th pick are in a position where they should select the best player available and not worry about the position that player plays. Killian Hayes spent the last year playing overseas in France and is arguably the second-best point guard in this draft. He may not play the position that the Hornets need most, but this selection will give them more reason to ship Rozier out of Charlotte. Hayes struggled shooting from behind the arc in France, but he will have the resources and time to put in the work to improve before next season.

Free Agency:

Charlotte will have the cap space to be players in the upcoming free agency period, although it will be better if they can load the veterans mentioned previously. Montrezl Harrell poses an interesting option for the Hornets, as he will fill their power forward/center spot and is from North Carolina. Harrell has catapulted to sixth in the man of the year conversation in back-to-back years as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are contending for a title but the rise of Harrell may have priced him out of the City of Angels. The Hornets will give him an opportunity to start and have the salary cap space to steal him away from the Clippers.

Noh: Can the Zach LaVine and Coby White backcourt work? – The Athletic

Chicago Bulls:

Current Roster:

The Chicago Bulls struggled to stay healthy and consistent this year, but high-flying guard Zach Lavine put up an impressive 25.5 ppg, 4 apg, and 4.8 rbg. Lauri Markkanen struggled in the 50 games he played this season, averaging fewer points and rebounds than his two previous seasons. Rookie guard Coby White averaged 13 ppg and 3 apg, starting only 1 of the  65 games he played. White’s numbers and on court performance should see a big uptick next season given the starting job and improved rapport with Lavine. Otto Porter played in only 14 games this season but we should expect him to be in a Bulls uniform next season as he is guaranteed to opt into the final year of his contract, paying him $28 million. The rest of the Bulls roster will be under contract, giving them an opportunity to compete for a playoff spot with the addition of a lottery pick.

Draft:

The Bulls struggled with the wing spot given the missed time from Porter and lack of depth behind him. Isaac Okoro, the small forward out of Auburn, would be a nice pick for the three slot for the Bulls. He is known for his defensive work rate and output. The young Bulls could use their athleticism to run teams out of the gym and put themselves on the national stage.

Free Agency:

The Bulls won’t be able to make any big signings because of the expected decrease in the salary cap and opt-in from Otto Porter. They will be able to add a player or two with their room exception (about $2.5 million). The two routes the Bulls can take are to either pick up a young player on the cheap that never got an opportunity at his current team, such as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (25 years old), big man Nerlens Noel (26 years old), or Allonzo Trier (24 years old). The other option is to go after a veteran that can push them into the playoffs, such as D.J. Augustin, Kent Bazemore, or Evan Turner.

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New York Knicks

Current Roster:

The New York Knicks missed out on each top free agent they targeted and settled on giving power forward Julius Randle a large contract (3 years, $63 million). Randle averaged almost 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, and although those are good numbers, he has to step up his game further to prove he was worth the contract he received. The number 3 overall pick and cornerstone of the Knicks, RJ Barrett, averaged 14 ppg, 5 rpg, and 2.6 apg. He will be looked at to take a leap next year, especially distributing the ball and taking on the premier scoring role. Young center Mitchell Robinson is destined to take over the starting position next year and become their defensive anchor for years to come. They traded away their leading scorer, Marcus Morris Sr, to the Clippers at the trade deadline for Maurice Harkless and the first-round pick, which could prove valuable for a rebuilding team. On that note, the Knicks have been rebuilding for years now and have not made the playoffs since 2013, and have not made much noise in the draft. Kristaps Porzingis is the most notable player they’ve drafted since they last made the playoffs and ended up trading him to the Dallas Mavericks during the 2018- 2019 season.

Draft:

The Knicks have two first-round picks, their own and the Clippers as mentioned before, and as the previous teams mentioned will need to select the best player available when it is their turn to draft. Deni Avidja from Israel is the kind of high risk, high reward pick that the Knicks are known to gamble on. They shocked the NBA world with the pick of Latvian forward Porzingis at number four overall in 2015, and Avidja has the tools to be the next international player to take the league by storm. The 6 foot 9-inch-tall small forward has the ability to push the pace in a high tempo NBA, and make an exciting tandem with the athletic Barrett and Randle, creating an exciting core for years to come. Avidja may have increased his draft stock further given more playing time, averaging a mere 14 minutes per game, but he is only 19 years old at the moment. I believe players that play overseas before entering the NBA Draft have experience that college athletes do not, such as playing older, more experienced players and even some former NBA players. An interesting thought would be for the Knicks to package their picks and move up in the draft to pick a true difference-maker that the organization falls in love with during the pre-draft process

Free Agency:

The Knicks do not have any key free agents expiring this summer. Bobby Portis has a team option, but this free agency class does not have the star power of the previous class. New York goes into every offseason expecting to sign the biggest name on the market (they are known as the Mecca of basketball) but they have not attracted that level of name since Carmelo Anthony requested a trade to the Big Apple. New York should use this free agency to acquire young pieces or keep financial flexibility for the 2021 class, headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard (player option). We could see the Knicks target less exciting, younger names, such as Harry Giles and Josh Jackson.

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Detroit Pistons:

Current Roster:

The Detroit Pistons have not been close to competitive since they dismantled their championship core that won it all in 2004, having won 44 games at the most and making the playoffs only twice since 2010. The Pistons interestingly enough have only had two players on their current roster start over 30 games, Bruce Bowen and Tony Snell. Andre Drummond averaged 18 ppg and 16 rbg this season but was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers during the trade deadline. Derrick Rose has impressed, scoring 18 ppg and assisting 5.6 times per game. Former All-Star power forward Blake Griffin is joined by young shooting guard Luke Kennard (24 years old), small forward Sekou Doumbouya (19 years old) and center Thon Maker (23 years old) to create the core of the team. Detroit needs to find an identity and create consistency in their starting rotation to be competitive going forward.

Draft:

The Pistons will be looking to find their point guard of the future in the 2020 draft, hoping LaMelo Ball falls to them or the likes of Killian Hayes and Tyrese Haliburton will be an option at the number 5 overall pick. Ball has the size and playmaking to bring the kind of excitement to the Motor City that they have been lacking. Throwing lobs to the former dunk contest winner Griffin and athletic Thon Maker will make for some exciting highlight reels. Haliburton will have the opportunity to sit behind and learn from dynamic guard Rose during his rookie year. He is an intelligent point guard that rarely turns the ball over and allows Detroit to build their team around him going forward.

Free Agency:

The Pistons have the opportunity and cap space to offer Brandon Ingram the max money he is likely to receive this offseason, but the New Orleans Pelicans will have the ability to match any contract offered to the first time All-Star small forward. Previously mentioned Montrezl Harrell would nicely slot into the starting center spot and bring his high energy play style to a team without an identity. The culture of Detroit needs a revamp, as their competitiveness has been lacking in recent years. There are many suitors for the Clippers big man, but the Pistons should make it their priority to make a run at the 26-year-old.

Ranking Atlanta Hawk Trae Young's best passes of the season

Atlanta Hawks:

Current Roster:

The young Atlanta Hawks team underperformed this season, but the bright spot of the season was Trae Young and John Collins. Young averaged a remarkable 30ppg in just his second year while dishing out 9 apg. Collins averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds per game, forming the youngest tandem in the league (21 and 22 years old respectively). Young made his first of many all-star games this season and will be the face of the franchise for years to come. Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter in their first year didn’t blow anyone away with their numbers, but they are part of a young core that if developed properly, can take over the weak Eastern Conference. The Hawks acquired center Clint Capela from the Houston Rockets during the trade deadline, and although he doesn’t fit today’s game, he is still a force to be reckoned with. Capela averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds per game, playing the majority of the season in Houston.

Draft:

The Atlanta Hawks are not weak at any position on their roster, but they will have the opportunity to add a top talent in the draft at the fourth pick. Shooting guard Anthony Edwards and center James Wiseman are the first names that come to mind for this pick. Edwards would team up with Young to create the best young backcourt tandem in the NBA. Edwards is a great athlete and has the ability to create his own shot, taking pressure away from Young in that regard. Wiseman has little to no film on him because he only played three games for Memphis this season. Wiseman and Young would create a scary pick and roll combo that teams won’t know how to stop. Either selection the Hawks go with will bode well for their future and propel them into the playoffs next season.

Free Agency:

The Hawks will enter free agency with the most cap space in the NBA, but the big-name stars aren’t on the market this offseason. The Hawks were the worst shooting team last season and free agents Davis Bertans and Joe Harris can change that immediately. Jerami Grant and Jordan Clarkson can emerge as names to bolster the Hawks depth and add some experience to the young team. The ideal situation is for the Hawks to sign players to short term or cheap deals this offseason, wait for their team to develop and a better free agency class. The Hawks have a bright future ahead of them and they have all of the tools to improve that.

Timberwolves news: Karl-Anthony Towns on pairing with D'Angelo Russell

Minnesota Timberwolves:

Current Roster:

The Minnesota Timberwolves made the biggest trade of the deadline by acquiring D’Angelo Russell from the Golden State Warriors for small forward Andrew Wiggins. The Wolves traded Robert Covington to the Houston Rockets in a multi-team deal as well this past February. Karl-Anthony Towns now has the best player he has ever had as a teammate, and also a good friend of his. The tandem of Russell and Towns have been heard talking about joining forces previously, but the trade finally went down to unite the former college teammates. Russell only played 12 games with Minnesota this season but the team will have a full offseason and training camp to build chemistry. Russell and Towns have all the abilities to be the next great guard-big man dynamic duo in the league. KAT averaged 27 points, 11 rebounds, and just over 1 block per game this season and looks to take the leap to consistent all-star and playoff contender next year.

Draft:

The Timberwolves will most likely have the option of either Anthony Edwards, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, or to trade their first-round pick for a third star to pair next to Russell and Towns. The power forward position is more of a need than guard at the moment and the addition of Okongwu to Towns in the frontcourt will create a frontcourt partnership with a bright future. At 6 ft. 9 in. Okongwu is an athletic player that is great defensively and can keep up with the pace of the modern NBA.

Free Agency:

Minnesota does not have the luxury of the other teams in the rebuild process with a ton of cap space. Jerami Grant is a common name that most teams in the bottom eight will be targeting this offseason and the Wolves are another team to add to the list. Veterans such as Derrick Favors, Triston Thompson, and Goran Dragic could be options to bolster the bench and add leadership to the young stars. In a competitive Western Conference, the Wolves will either need to load up on proven veterans or pile up on young talent that could develop in a new environment. The latter seems more realistic and fits the time frame of Towns and Russell, both 24 years old.

The Cleveland Cavaliers Are In NBA Purgatory | Per Sources

Cleveland Cavaliers:

Current Roster:

The Cavaliers made a surprise trade, acquiring center Andre Drummond from the Detroit Pistons at the trade deadline in February, although he only played in eight games before their season ended. The Cavs have a young core of Darius Garland (20 years old), Collin Sexton (21 years old), and Kevin Porter Jr. (20 years old), with veterans Kevin Love (31 years old) and Andre Drummond (26 years old). Collin Sexton led the way this season averaging 21 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists per game this season, starting in all 65 games he played this season.

Draft:

The Cavs have many young guards on their roster, but their frontcourt has Kevin Love, who is the most likely player on this roster to get traded this offseason. The likes of Obi Toppin or James Wiseman could add much-needed youth and energy to the land. If Cleveland doesn’t believe in either Garland or Sexton for the future, they can target LaMelo Ball with the second pick, and start from complete scratch in their rebuild. Obi Toppin was arguably the best player in college last year and the young forward would jump right into the starting lineup and be the face of the Cavs franchise. He is offensively gifted and has the team-first mentality that a young team needs to develop.

Free Agency:

With Andre Drummond almost certain to opt into his $28.7 million contract for next season, Cavs will be limited in available cap space. They can unload the large contract of Kevin Love ($31 million for 2 years, and $29 million in the third), although they shouldn’t be expecting much in return other than the cap flexibility. Tristan Thompson is also expiring and if they let him walk, they can go after a cheaper alternative to man the power forward spot. The Cavs will be limited to picking up wing players on small contracts until they have more cap space free up.

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Golden State Warriors:

Current Roster:

The Warriors will have all eyes on them during the draft lottery and offseason. The legendary team lost the likes of Kevin Durant, and injuries to both Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry has them sitting with the worst record in the NBA. The league should be terrified if the Warriors acquire a top 2 pick and come back at full strength next season. Golden State did all they could to lessen the damage of Durant leaving them by completing a sign and trade for D’Angelo Russell. At the trade deadline, they traded Russell for Andrew Wiggins, which once they are at full strength fits this team better than Russell did. The Warriors young players, Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, and Marquese Chriss did all they could to remain competitive next to a struggling Draymond Green.

Draft:

If the Warriors end up with the number one overall pick in the draft, they will have their pickings of the best player on their draft board. But more frightening is that they will have the ability to package the pick, and a player to acquire a superstar level talent. Regardless of whether the Warriors use this pick or trade it, they will be back as a threat in the Western Conference next season. James Wiseman can fill a hole at the center position, while Obi Toppin will give them the flexibility to ship off Green for more assets or bench depth.

Free Agency:

If the Warriors take the leap through trade or add to their firepower through the draft, they should be looking to fill their holes in the roster with veterans and specialists. Joe Harris would add another shooter to the splash brothers, and power forward Paul Milsap, Derrik Favors, or Tristan Thompson could all add veteran leadership and bring toughness off the bench if they are willing to take a pay cut.

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Written by Edward Shamirian

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