By Kelton Brooks (@BrooksHNews)
While we’re all waiting on Kevin Durant to decide where he will take his talents—I don’t think he’s leaving Oklahoma City—lets discuss how the NBA offseason has reshaped the Eastern Conference thus far.
The chart below list the ballooned and major free agency signings for select teams in the East.
|Knicks signings||Magic signings||Pacers signings||Celtics signings|
|Joakim Noah (4-$72)||DJ Augustin (4-$29)||Al Jefferson (3-$30)||Al Horford (4-$113)|
|Courtney Lee (4-$50)||Evan Fournier (5-$85)|
|Jeff Green (1-$15)|
|Bismack Biyombo (4-$70)|
(Years-$ in million)
What the chart doesn’t show is the trades made by teams like the Knicks, Magic, Pacers and Hawks, as far as the East goes.
The Knicks made the biggest splash when they traded for former Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. New York traded center Robin Lopez, guard Jose Calderon and guard Jerian Grant to Chicago, which shipped guard Justin Holiday, Rose and a 2017 second-round pick back to the Knicks.
The Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder essentially swapped Victor Oladipo for Serge Ibaka and other revolving parts, and the Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers and the Utah Jazz agreed to ship Jeff Teague to the Pacers. Indiana also acquired Thaddeus Young from the Brooklyn Nets.
The Hawks also signed Dwight Howard to replace Horford, but I don’t view Howard going back home to Atlanta as an improvement. It’s more of trading in a car for a different model, not a better model.
The Toronto Raptors retained DeMar DeRozan, Milwaukee Bucks signed Matthew Dellavedova and the Miami Heat re-signed Hassan Whiteside.
As is stands, the Knicks would have a starting five of Rose, Lee, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, and Noah, a vast improvement from the lowly bunch of last season. The Pacers starting five will look something like Teague, Monte Ellis, Paul George, (Young or Myler Turner) and Jefferson. Both are playoff rosters. The health of the Knicks will determine how far the Knick will rise.
If anything, the Rose trade and free agent acquisitions for the Knicks brings relevancy to New York, a win-win for the NBA.
With that, here’s a predicted seeding of the Eastern Conference in the 2016-17 season:
*If Dwyane Wade leaves and Chris Bosh is unable to play, the Heat will miss the playoffs. If that happens, the Magic will make the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.
*If Rose, Noah and an aging Anthony can remain healthy, which is a big if, the starting unit is talented enough to crack the four seed.
*I also wouldn’t count out the Milwaukee Bucks. If Jabari Parker can elevate his play to his No. 2 overall selection, the Bucks can make noise in the East. Drafting Thon Maker also improved the Bucks. It has been rumored Wade has been in signing discussion with the Bucks. If this signing happens, the Bucks will advance to the playoffs.