The Boston Celtics look like they are the winners of the off-season despite not really making any significant changes to their roster during the off-season. Kawhi Leonard gives the Toronto Raptors a good chance to surprise Boston if he is motivated to play and healthy. LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers makes the Cavs a poor team. Now that most of the summer movement is complete we can now take a look at the key moves for each team in the Eastern Conference.
NBA Eastern conference Off-Season Recap
2017-18 record 59-23
Toronto is all in on one year with Leonard. If Leonard can motivate himself and get back to the level he is capable of playing at, then the Raptors may surprise everybody and come out of the east.
2017-18 record 55-27
Despite not making any significant changes to their roster, the Celtics are the favorites to come out of the east due to the tremendous depth they have. They managed to keep Aron Baynes and Marcus Smart. However, the biggest addition will be having a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to play alongside Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Terry Rozier. The roster is extremely deep and talented with a lot of potential.
2017-18 record 52-30
There were rumors aplenty during the beginning of the off-season that the 76ers will recruit James or trade for Leonard. When everything settled down, the 76ers did not get either player and brought back the same roster as last year. The only noteworthy additions were brought aboard through the draft. With the tenth pick, the 76ers drafted Mikal Bridges and traded him to the Phoenix Suns for Zhaire Smith. Smith is an athletic and good defensive 6 foot 4 guard.
2017-18 record 50-32
The biggest drop in the standings will probably come from the Cavs. They could not retain James and did not bring in any big free agents. They are left with pieces that do not inspire confidence at all. The Cavs signed David Nwaba, and they gave Kevin Love a four-year extension. The biggest move was drafting Collin Sexton, the point guard of the future (hopefully). As a result of the lowered expectations, it is possible Sexton will get a lot of playing time and develop quickly.
2017-18 record 48-34
The Pacers had a strong off-season. Lance Stephenson, left but they replaced him with Tyreke Evans. Doug McDermott and Kyle O’Quinn were also signed. They drafted Aaron Holiday,who can possibly be the backup point guard.
The Pacers were a surprising young team last year and seem to have gotten better.
2017-18 record 44-38
The Heat have pretty much the same exact roster as last year. They had no draft picks and no cap space.
2017-18 record 44-38
Milwaukee decided to not commit big money to Jabari Parker and let him leave. They signed some nice bench players in Pat Connaughton and Ersan Ilyasova. Plus, they brought in Brook Lopez on a one year deal.
With the 17th pick in the draft, the Bucks drafted Donte DiVincenzo, a talented guard who can shoot and play defense.
2017-18 record 43-39
Washington wanted some more depth in the backcourt, so they sent Marcin Gortat to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Austin Rivers. Consequently, they signed Dwight Howard to replace Gortat. Jeff Green was also brought over to join Rivers as part of the bench unit. With their first-round pick, the Wizards selected Troy Brown, a project who will not have much of an impact this year.
2017-18 record 39-43
The Pistons drafted Khyri Thomas, who was a good shooter in college. Plus, he was an incredible defender. Without having much cap space, they signed veteran point guard Jose Calderon and Zaza Pachulia. Another move they made that may have an impact this year is the signing of Glenn Robinson III. He showed promise two years ago and was hurt last year, so he is worth a roll of the dice.
2017-18 record 36-46
Dwight Howard was not popular in the Hornets locker room, so they shipped him to the Brooklyn Nets for Timofey Mozgov. Then, they shipped Mozgov to Orlando for Bismack Biyombo. Needing some veteran presence, the Hornets signed 4x NBA Champion Tony Parker. The biggest addition may be rookie Miles Bridges. He can score, rebound and create mismatches offensively due to his size.
2017-18 record 29-53
With Kristaps Porzingis likely out for most of the season, the Knicks were not looking to add big pieces to win now. They signed two rotational pieces in Mario Hezonja and Noah Vonleh. Above all, they may have drafted two legitimate NBA players in Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson (who may be an unbelievable pick at thirty-six).
2018-18 record 28-54
The Nets are building towards next off-season. However, they have improved the team a little bit. Joe Harris is coming back. They also signed Ed Davis, Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham. On the trade front, there was a lot of moves made. In short, the Nets will bring in Kenneth Faried and Jared Dudley while saying goodbye to Jeremy Lin. Draft pick Dzanan Musa will likely be given playing time off the bench.
2017-18 record 27-55
Chicago added some young talent and has some promising players. The concern, however, is will they play well together. They re-signed Zach LaVine to a big contract. They bought in Jabari Parker who can score the ball. Plus, they added Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison in the draft. Both may be players in this league at a high level. They lost some players, but no one of great value.
2017-18 record 25-57
The first and most important piece of business the Magic had to take care of this off-season was to re-sign Aaron Gordon. Plus, they traded Biyombo for Mozgov. Jarell Martin and Jerian Grant were also obtained via trade. The Magic lost Hezonja to the Knicks. However, the Magic drafted Mohamed Bamba with the sixth pick and hope that Bamba, Jonathan Isaac and Gordon are the front-court of the future.
2017-18 record 24-58
The Hawks are not likely to be good for a couple of years, but they are collecting assets to propel them in the right direction. They drafted Trae Young and traded away Dennis Schroder so that Young can be the main point guard on the team. They also drafted Kevin Huerter, who can shoot the ball really well and is a smart passer. Omari Spellman, who they took with the 30th pick, also has a chance to be a good role player and grab the role Mike Muscala had. Justin Anderson was acquired in exchange for Muscala.
CLEVELAND, OH – JUNE 06: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against the Golden State Warriors during Game Three of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 6, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)