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Eastern Conference Free Agency Grades

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Posted By: Ethan Stern

The following grades do not account for the NBA draft and look solely at how the team addressed needs and structured contracts.

Atlanta

I don’t like that they lost Horford, but considering the price to pay, bringing Dwight home wasn’t bad. Re-signing Bazemore was the clear priority for them. The Hawks made their decision that Schroeder is their point guard moving forward, and brought veteran Jarrett Jack in as a backup. Smart moves, but nothing that makes them better in the short or long term.

Boston

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Boston fans rejoiced that Horford would bring in a new era of superstars wanting to play in Boston, and somehow thought they would be able to land Kevin Durant. Ainge was unwilling to pay a premium for Evan Turner given their unique roster, and Sullinger’s exit gives Horford more space to play his game in the post. However, I don’t think Horford is the level of player Boston was looking for.

Brooklyn

I can’t deduct points from Brooklyn’s grade based on effort alone. It’s not the Nets’ fault that Miami and Portland decided to match the Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe offer sheets (which both players signed). Brooklyn sought to acquire any sort of talent they could, and they added two quality players to their depleted roster. Jeremy Lin should prove the spark the Nets need in the backcourt to get Brook Lopez better looks, and Booker can fill in nicely in the spot that Thad Young was traded from while Chris McCullough develops.

Charlotte

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This offseason was going to be a nightmare for Charlotte no matter what they did. They made re-signing Batum their first priority, which was the right choice. I feel Charlotte could have limited the damage a bit more, but the decisions they made are understandable. It seemed going in that Charlotte’s main challenge was going to be to limit the damage of losing free agents, and they definitely accomplished that goal.

Chicago

Chicago’s front office proves useless yet again. Their grade is not an F as they were able to trade Rose for an asset that would be some form of a replacement to Noah and Gasol. Other than that, I don’t understand anything they did. The roster is still overloaded with mediocre wings and the frontcourt is thin. Chicago decided to focus on the backcourt in free agency by bringing in the enigmatic Rajon Rondo and the aging Dwyane Wade. Chicago’s backcourt now has two heavily ball dominant players who can’t shoot threes, and are playing with a team that doesn’t have a lot of athleticism. Perhaps a spot up shooter would help, but they traded Dunleavy for nothing.

Cleveland

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Cleveland receives a grade of incomplete due to the fact that LeBron James has not signed with them yet. Assuming he will, Cleveland should be happy to let Delly and Mozgov go for their overpriced contracts, and Dunleavy is the player they want Kevin Love to be.

Detroit

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Detroit’s first job was to re-sign Drummond, which they did, and any addition they could make to their thin bench would be gravy. Detroit was able to solidify the frontcourt by adding Leuer and Van Gundy’s new project, Boban Marjanovic. Steve Blake will no longer be running the bench unit with the bargain contract of Ish Smith.

Indiana

Pacers GM Larry Bird said he wanted the team to score more points, and their offseason certainly was indicative of that. Jeff Teague is more of a modern point guard that George Hill, and Al Jefferson should provide some scoring in the post, but it’s the defense that will suffer. Firing Frank Vogel and losing two excellent defenders will certainly cause the defense to wane, and Mahinmi was one of the best defensive centers in the NBA, and there was little effort to keep him in Indiana. This offseason is a fireable offense for just about anyone other than the Legend.

Miami

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There has been a lot of talk that Miami will rue the day they lost Wade, and how the roster will suffer, but from an organizational standpoint, their moves all hold up. Whiteside can continue to develop into a force at the center position, and Tyler Johnson can be the spark that Wade lost over the years. Ellington can provide a spark off the bench, and the Heat show their loyalty by giving Haslem another $4 million.

Milwaukee

Teletovic should be a great addition to a team that needed shooting, but losing Jerryd Bayless to overpay Matthew Dellavedova isn’t ideal. Most of Milwaukee’s pieces are in place, so they didn’t need to make much of a splash, but their offseason can be viewed as a net positive, with Delly being consistent with the Bucks’ defensive mindset.

New York

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Trading for Rose by losing one of the more team-friendly deals with Robin Lopez is a big risk. Giving Joakim Noah $72 million combined with taking on Rose’s salary is an even bigger one. The Knicks weren’t close to the playoffs last year, and are now likely to enter the luxury tax zone to offset the posssibility that maybe Rose returns to some sort of form. Rose, Noah, and Melo are no strangers to the disabled list, and the season could turn south very quickly. On a positive note, Brandon Jennings is on a great contract and Courtney Lee should be the perfect player to be alongside the other more ball-dominant Knicks.

Orlando

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Orlando started the off-season by trading Oladipo for Ibaka, and while the trade received mixed reviews, many, including myself, believe that Orlando has clearly lost the trade. Trading a promising young player for someone who’s talents have declined over the last five years does not look good for Orlando. The Biyombo signing is good from the standpoint of acquiring talent, but they’re playing $64 million more than what Dewayne Dedmon is earning from the Spurs, and it begs the question of what is now going to happen with Nikola Vucevic. Jeff Green was another odd signing, given his decline and Orlando’s wealth of combo forwards. Re-signing Evan Fournier is the lone bright spot.

Philadelphia

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