Let's dive in.
assets: First-round pick,
First-round pick via Pelicans, Second-round pick, Second-round pick
via Toronto (if 55-60)
agents: Montrezl Harrell, Isaiah
Thomas, Miles Bridges (restricted), Cody Martin (restricted),
Arnoldas Kulboka (restricted), Scottie Lewis (restricted)
Central question: How can the Hornets
construct an interior defense?
Charlotte's bottom-10 defense doomed the franchise several times
in the regular season and, ultimately, in the Play-In loss to
Atlanta. The Hornets gave up boatloads of at-rim attempts and
three-pointers, and simply looked like turnstiles at times.
Improvement is necessary across the board, but an on-paper view
highlights a clear need for upgrades inside.
Mason Plumlee is a fine basketball player, but he's not
anchoring a high-level NBA defense. Neither is Montrezl Harrell,
and 2021 first-round pick Kai Jones barely touched the floor in
Charlotte. The Hornets don't have a whole lot of salary flexibility
with big-money deals in place for Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier.
Miles Bridges' restricted free agency is also a key offseason focal
Though the Hornets likely can't throw outright money at a
Deandre Ayton-level restricted free agent, perhaps they could work
a sign-and-trade for a lesser-known young talent. Maybe Mo Bamba
fits the bill from Orlando? Charlotte was tied to trade rumors
surrounding Myles Turner before the trade deadline, and the front
office could also elect to sign a veteran at a mid-level
Regardless of the pathway, the Hornets have needed to address
the center position for years now. With a playoff leap now the
expectation in 2022-23, they can't afford to let another summer
Draft assets: First-round pick,
Second-round pick via Spurs, Second-round pick via Heat
Potential free agents: Ed Davis, Rajon
Rondo, Brandon Goodwin, Collin Sexton (restricted), Moses Brown
(restricted), RJ Nembhard (restricted), Dean Wade (team
Central question: What is Collin
Sexton's future in Cleveland?
The Cavaliers may have slid out of the playoffs, but this was a
banner year for the franchise's long-term trajectory. Darius
Garland emerged as a cornerstone point guard, Evan Mobley might win
Rookie of the Year, and the frontcourt pairing with Jarrett Allen
looks to be a mainstay in the Eastern Conference. Injuries
ultimately derailed what was a top-four seed. Most of the rotation
is under contract and under 30, hinting at continued growth.
This seaon's leap makes the situation with Sexton... difficult.
Let's not forget that the combo guard is a season removed from a
24-point-per-game season as an efficient primary scorer, and that
the Cavs were 19th in Offensive Rating this year. Sexton can
meaningfully boost Cleveland simply as a bucket-getter, nevermind
if he keeps improving as a playmaker.
What kind of contract do the Cavs offer to a 23-year-old who
missed nearly a full season with a knee injury though? If a
desperate team decides to throw money at Sexton to force the
franchise to match, is there a limit to the front office's
willingness? What would an extension mean for Isaac Okoro and Caris
Sexton is one of the biggest dominoes in the upcoming offseason,
and arguably the most unpredictable.
Draft assets: Second-round
Potential free agents: Robert Covington,
Rodney Hood, Isaiah Hartenstein, Amir Coffey (restricted), Xavier
Moon (restricted), Ivica Zubac (team option), Nic Batum (player
Central question: What does a
fully-healthy 10-man rotation look like?
Nobody expected the Clippers to be a playoff contender without
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and they still almost cracked the
postseason with the supporting cast chipping in. L.A. made a splash
at the trade deadline by adding Norman Powell and Robert Covington,
two players who conceivably make sense next to the franchise's two
This roster is deep. It's a great problem to have, but it's
still a problem with several rotation options potentially hitting
free agency. Covington will likely command a solid new deal as one
of the league's more reliable two-way complements, and Batum could
easily decline his $3.3 million team option in search of a raise.
Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein may both hit free agency; what
would happen to the center rotation in that case?
The Clippers have Leonard, George, Powell, Reggie Jackson, Luke
Kennard, Terance Mann and Marcus Morris locked down for next
season. That's already seven rotation-caliber players, and it
doesn't account for leaps from young talents like Brandon Boston
Jr., Jason Preston or Amir Coffey. A roster crunch is inbound, and
the organization can't let a quality addition slip away as it
positions itself for title contention next season.
assets: First-round pick,
first-round pick via Raptors, first-round pick via Celtics,
second-round pick via Lakers
Potential free agents: Lonnie Walker
IV (restricted), Devontae Cacok (restricted), Joe Wieskamp
(restricted), DJ Stewart Jr. (restricted), Robert Woodard II
Central question: How do the Spurs toe
the line between developmental patience and consolidation?
San Antonio valiantly fought to get to the Play-In Tournament
before losing to New Orleans, but also had one of the more
underrated developmental seasons across the roster. Dejounte Murray
made his All-Star leap and Jakob Poeltl established himself as
one of the league's better
rim-protectors; the Spurs collectively were just a tick under
league-average on both ends of the floor, per Cleaning the
One of the NBA's youngest rosters is well on track and about to
receive another influx of potential. San Antonio could use its
three first-rounders (including its own lottery pick) to add to the
frontcourt or find another lead guard. However, the Spurs already
have 12 players locked down for next season under at least partial
guarantees, and 11 of them are under 30. They have a pathway to
over $24 million in salary cap space this summer should they move
on from restricted free agents like Walker.
There's an avenue, with draft picks, young players and cap
space, for San Antonio to make a serious splash. Is that in the
programming for this franchise, though? San Antonio hasn't acquired
a star via trade in several years, unless you want to count adding
DeMar DeRozan in the Kawhi Leonard blockbuster. At the same time,
there are only so many minutes to go around for the young guns,
especially if the Spurs think they can compete for the