NBA Offseason Review: Eastern Conference

         With so much of the media focused on "The Decision", there were plenty of other note worthy signings and acquisitions like the Knicks kicking off free agency with the signing of Amar'e Stoudemire, one of the best bigs on the market. The Bulls finally getting a low-post presence in Carlos Boozer that they've lacked since Elton Brand left town, while the Jazz went right ahead and filled the void left behind with Minnesota's Al Jefferson. The Timberwolves were the most active with eight new players joining Kevin Love and Jonny Flynn.

For all the moves you missed and a recap of a hectic NBA offseason to date, looks at the summer of 2010 marked by LeBron James and Chris Bosh joining Dwayne Wade in Miami. In week two of our conference preview, takes an in-depth look at the teams and moves made in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta Hawks

Additions: Jordan Crawford (NBA Draft), Josh Powell (free agency)
Losses: Josh Childress (free agency)

Two years removed from taking Boston to a seven-game playoff series, and a year after the Hawks took Miami to seven before being swept by Cleveland, the Hawks went the full-length in the playoffs opening round yet again, this time with Milwaukee. They followed up that series by getting swept in four games by the Magic. The team's biggest offseason worry was Joe Johnson, who was labeled as the top free agent on the market after LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Johnson scored 21 points per game, leading the team, but disappeared when the team needed him the most- in that second-round matchup with Orlando; he was held to just 12.8 points per game in the series while shooting just 29% from the field.

The Hawks added another scoring backcourt threat via the NBA Draft with Jordan Crawford, a big-time athlete with deep range on his jump shot and the ability to play some point guard. Josh Smith, 24, and Al Horford, 24, continue to mature and develop as two of the league's best frontcourt players. But for a team that has never made it past the 2nd Round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, shouldn't the Hawks looked to do a little more to improve the team?
Boston Celtics

Additions: Shaquille O'Neal (free agency), Jermaine O'Neal (free agency), Von Wafer (free agency), Avery Bradley (NBA Draft), Luke Harangody (NBA Draft)
Losses: Rasheed Wallace (retirement)

The biggest moves of the offseason has been the re-signing and signing of key veterans to put together a core of players able to compete with not only Miami and Orlando in the East, but also Los Angeles out West. Paul Pierce was re-signed to a four-year contract and Ray Allen signed a two-year deal. Two O'Neal-s, Shaq and Jermaine, were brought in to solidify depth at the center position and serve as capable replacements while starting center, Kendrick Perkins, returns from a knee-injury and is expected back in mid-February. Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels were also brought back to the team to give some depth behind Rajon Rondo, Allen and Pierce, while scoring-spark Von Wafer who spent last season with Olympiacos of Greece.

Boston took the Lakers to seven-games before falling by just four points in the series clincher. The Celtics finished fourth in the Eastern Conference in the regular season with a 50-32 record but took down Miami, Cleveland and Orlando en route to representing the East in the NBA Finals. Now Boston comes back with another year of experience, which is a good thing for young guard Rajon Rondo, but not necessarily for aging veterans Pierce and Allen; Pierce averaged a career-low 34.0 minutes per game, while Allen posted the second-lowest mark of his 14-year career with 35.2 minutes per contest. Can the dynamic backcourt duo continue to perform or will the team's age catch up with them in the postseason again.
Charlotte Bobcats

Additions: Erick Dampier (trade), Larry Hughes (free agency), Shaun Livingston (free agency), Eduardo Najera (trade), Matt Carroll (trade), Sherron Collins (free agency)
Losses: Ray Felton (free agency), Tyson Chandler (trade), Alexis Ajinca (trade)

The Bobcats 44 wins were a franchise-high as the team made its first-ever playoff appearance in 2009-10. Since then, management has let two its better players go, one via free agency and the other in a trade, while taking on a large non-guaranteed contract in Erick Dampier in exchange. The team was shopping Boris Diaw around this offseason, in an inexplicable move, either stripping the franchise of its starting frontcourt or making room for the 23-year old Tyrus Thomas.

The franchise failed to do little this offseason and as a result, receive a poor grade for this summer. Their 2010 1st Round pick was shipped for a 2008 1st Rounder that was used to select Frenchman, Alexis Ajinca, who has since played in just 37 games in two seasons. 2009 top pick, Gerald Henderson, had a strong summer league campaign, but is he ready to overtake veteran Stephen Jackson? Henderson only made 43 appearances last season, tallying 8 minutes a game, but was the Bobcats best player on the Las Vegas circuit. With DJ Augustin running the show at point and limited depth in the backcourt, Henderson could be forced onto the court for a Charlotte team on the decline.
Chicago Bulls

Additions: Carlos Boozer (free agency), Kyle Korver (free agency), Ronnie Brewer (free agency), Kurt Thomas (free agency)
Losses: Kirk Hinrich (trade), Brad Miller (free agency), Chris Richard (free agency)

At first, the Bulls summer was labeled by disaster after the team struck out with LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. However, Chicago rebounded by raiding the Utah Jazz's pantry- signing two starters and third Utah player former Utah wing, Ronnie Brewer. Chicago brings in two-time All-Star Carlos Boozer and last year's league-leader in 3-point percentage, Kyle Korver. Boozer gives Chicago a much-needed inside presence that the franchise has lacked since Elton Brand suited up for the Bulls in 2000-01. Boozer is a tremendous low-post scorer and defensive rebounder, but he can also step outside and knock down the mid-range jump shot and should thrive with Derrick Rose running the pick-and-roll, just as he did with Deron Williams out West.

With the addition of Korver, the Bulls improve their perimeter shooting, an area that desperately needed some help as the team ranked 28th in the league with a 33% clip from behind the arc; he led the league with a 53.6% mark. Korver and Boozer should aid in the development of a star-in-the-making point guard, Derrick Rose, but also complement forward Joakim Noah as well. For a Chicago team that finished 41-41 the past two seasons, these additions will help push the team to the upper-echelon of the Eastern Conference and host a 2011 1st Round Playoff matchup.
Cleveland Cavaliers

Additions: Ramon Sessions (trade), Ryan Hollins (trade), Christian Eyenga (2009 NBA Draft), Joey Graham (free agency)
Losses: LeBron James (free agency), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (free agency), Shaquille O'Neal (free agency), Delonte West (trade), Sebastian Telfair (trade)

What synopsis and notes can really describe Cleveland's offseason? The Cavaliers fired their head coach, Mike Brown, along with most of their coaching staff, while their General Manager, Danny Ferry, resigned in June. The two had put together a roster and led a team that finished with the league's best record each of the last two seasons. Much of that was to do with LeBron James, the NBA's reigning back-to-back MVP, who fled town to join the Miami Heat, who was joined less than a week later with Cleveland-teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

In response, the team signed 2009 2nd Round pick Christian Eyenga and traded troubled guard Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair to Minnesota for Ramon Sessions and Ryan Hollins; neither are expected to start in 2010-11. The Cleveland went from first to worst from 2010 to present and the only thing to look forward to is the potential addition of Harrison Barnes with the top pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Detroit Pistons

Additions: Greg Monroe (NBA Draft), Tracy McGrady (free agency)
Losses: None

A year after one of the busiest offseasons in recent memory- signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to two five-year deals worth a combined $90 million and losing Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess in free agency- the team has done relatively little this summer. For a franchise that finished 27-55, that's not really a good thing. Joe Dumars got the player in the NBA Draft that he desired- Georgetown forward-center Greg Monroe and signed guard-forward Tracy McGrady to the veteran's minimum, but those additions won't add many marks to the "wins" column.

With teams all over the Eastern Conference improving and Detroit staying put, we have to wonder if some changes or trades are brewing within the organization. Rumors surrounding Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince have been circulating for months, especially now that the team has inked 13-year veteran McGrady and Austin Daye seems to be developing. What's next for Detroit? Their first back-to-back appearances in the lottery since 1994 and 1995.
Indiana Pacers

Additions: Darren Collison (trade), James Posey (trade), Paul George (NBA Draft), Lance Stephenson (NBA Draft)
Losses: Troy Murphy (trade)

Things are finally looking back up for the Pacers. They acquired their first true point guard in Darren Collison after many years of trying out options, none of which seemed to last longer than two years. With the team trading Troy Murphy, a consistent double-double threat and adding the 22-year old Collison, you can bet that management is looking to keep Collison around in the long run. He should help Danny Granger develop into an even more dangerous offensive force, while also aid in the continual development of Roy Hibbert and ease in rookies Paul George, Lance Stephenson and Magnum Rolle. Those three first-year players had fantastic summer leagues in Las Vegas while Rolle may have surprised the most as a 2010 2nd Round pick. Stephenson and Rolle are likely to come in and compete for minutes right away, while Paul George may be brought on slowly behind Danny Granger on the wing.
Miami Heat

Additions: LeBron James (free agency), Chris Bosh (free agency), Mike Miller (free agency), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (free agency), Carlos Arroyo (free agency), Eddie House (free agency), Patrick Beverly (free agency), Juwan Howard (free agency), Dexter Pittman (NBA Draft)
Losses: Michael Beasley (trade), Jermaine O'Neal (free agency), Daequan Cook (trade), James Jones (free agency), Dorrell Wright (free agency), Yakhouba Diawara (free agency)

The Heat have clearly been busy this offseason, fulfilling LeBron's "Decision" and working out contracts to re-do their entire roster. Miami could feature three new starters in 2010-11, including two-time defending MVP LeBron James and five-time NBA All-Star, Chris Bosh. Along with Dwayne Wade who re-signed this summer, the Miami trio took less than maximum salaries, opening the door for the Heat to further continue their roster makeover by re-signing Udonis Haslem and signing swingman Mike Miller to two five-year $45 million deals. James' former teammate in Cleveland, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, was brought in, along with veterans Juwan Howard, Carlos Arroyo and Eddie House to shore up the backcourt.
Milwaukee Bucks

Additions: Maggette (trade), Larry Sanders (NBA Draft), Drew Gooden (free agency), Keyon Dooling (free agency), Jon Brockman (trade)
Losses: Charlie Bell (trade), Dan Gadzuric (trade), Darnell Jackson (trade)

Alongside franchise centerpieces Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut, the Bucks tried to fill-in scoring options like John Salmons (re-signed) and Corey Maggette (traded for) on the wings, which make Milwaukee one of the most dangerous perimeter teams in the Eastern Conference. Not to mention, the Bucks still have Michael Redd, Carlos Delfino and Chris Douglas-Roberts to boast. In the frontcourt, the franchise selected former-Virginia Commonwealth forward Larry Sanders, a potent shot-blocker and developing offensive post player and signed Drew Gooden, a hard-nosed rebounder and defender.

Health may be the biggest issue in 2010-11. Bogut has missed 59 games in the past two seasons, Gooden has missed 33 and Michael Redd has basically missed the past two seasons in their entirety. Not much is known and thus expected from Redd this year, so anything he can give the team will be an added bonus. His perimeter shooting would only be welcomed to stretch the defenses along with Maggette to open up the lanes of Jennings' penetration and give room to Bogut to operate down low.
New Jersey Nets

Additions: Troy Murphy (trade), Derrick Favors (NBA Draft), Anthony Morrow (fre agency), Damion James (NBA Draft), Jordan Farmar (free agency), Travis Outlaw (free agency), Quinton Ross (trade), Johan Petro (free agency), Sean May (free agency), Brian Zoubek (free agency), Ben Uzoh (free agency)
Losses: Courtney Lee (trade), Yi Jianlian (trade), Chris Doulgas-Roberts (free agency), Keyon Dooling (free agency), Tony Battie (free agency)

Under new management, the Nets re-designed their 12-win roster from a year ago, bringing in two NBA Draft picks, Derrick Favors and Damion James, signing a plethora of wings and even trading for a game-changing 4-man. Injuries hampered the New Jersey team last year as Devin Harris (18 games), Yi Jianlian (30), Chris Douglas-Roberts (15) all started during the regular season, but missed time during to various health concerns. This season, Harris is back at the point under former coach Avery Johnson, while Brook Lopez was one of the best centers in the league in just his second season. Trading young guard Courtney Lee for veteran forward Troy Murphy was a great move; he can spread the floor for Harris and Lopez, but more importantly, he keeps rookie Derrick Favors in the rotation, but in not such a demanding role.
New York Knicks

Additions: : Amare Stoudemire (free agency), Ray Felton (free agency), Anthony Randolph (trade), Kelenna Azubuike (trade), Roger Mason Jr. (free agency), Ronny Turiaf (trade), Timofey Mozgov (free agency)
Losses: David Lee (trade), Al Harrington (free agency), Chris Duhon (free agency)

With their recent roster overhaul, New York quickly forgot about LeBron James and Chris Bosh spurning the franchise for Miami. Despite the hype linked to this offseason that has been surrounding the Knicks for several years as they proactively cleared cap space, New York ended up with five-time All-Star and career 21.4 point per game scorer and 8.9 rebounder, Amare Stoudemire to bolster their frontcourt and essentially replace David Lee. New York then signed transition-minded speedster Ray Felton to give the franchise its first true point guard since Charlie Ward led the team to the 1999 Championship. Danilo Gallinari, 6'10" shooting forward, is the perfect complement to spot-up on the wing in transition and serve as a capable kick-out option as Stoudemire works the high and low posts. Joining Felton, Stoudemire and Gallinari in the starting lineup are two newcomers from Golden State, Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf. Anthony Randolph, the key component of the David Lee trade, could see some major minutes if Stoudemire shifts over to the 5 and allows Randolph to play the 4.
Orlando Magic

Additions: Chris Duhon (free agency), Daniel Orton (NBA Draft)
Losses: Matt Barnes (free agency)

Orlando returns nearly every player from their 59-win squad with the exception of the versatile Matt Barnes who skipped town to go out West. The Magic ran through the postseason with this roster, winning their first eight games against Charlotte and Atlanta, but lost three in a row to put them into an insurmountable deficit against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. The main offensive and defensive option is the best center in the game, Dwight Howard, a four-time All-Star and back-to-back NBA Defensive Player of the Year award winner. Howard has led the NBA in total rebounds per game the past three seasons, while also leading the NBA in blocks per game and field-goal percentage this past season. As he continues to work with Patrick Ewing and the rest of the coaching staff, the 24-year old will only get better. Complementing Howard inside are perimeter shooters Rashard Lewis, Ryan Anderson, J.J. Redick and the aging Vince Carter. Jameer Nelson runs the point, but has missed 57 regular-season games the past two seasons. To shore up depth behind him, the team has signed Chris Duhon (New York Knicks) and re-signed Jason Williams. The Magic look poised for another run and should challenge Miami and Boston in the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia 76ers

Additions: Evan Turner (NBA Draft), Spencer Hawes (trade), Andres Nocioni (trade), Tony Battie (free agency)
Losses: Sam Dalembert (trade)

The Good: Philadelphia returns everyone from last year's team with the exception of $12 million center Sam Dalembert who was traded to Sacramento. The Bad: Philadelphia only won 27 games in 2009-10. Elton Brand is on the downside of his career and is still locked in for over $50 million. Andre Iguodala is a great second option on a team, but he is the franchise's "star" player, making over $12 million a year and has proven he cannot yet lead the team to victory.

The future lies with Evan Turner, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and Jrue Holiday, 2009 1st Round pick and even 2008 1st Rounder, Marreese Speights, who should get the starter's gig now that Dalembert has left town. Holiday, 20, Turner, 21, Thaddeus Young, 22, and Speights, 23 represent the future, but in the present, Brand and Iguodala are clogging up cap space and minutes for these talented, young players.
Toronto Raptors

Additions: Leandro Barbosa (trade), Ed Davis (NBA Draft), Solomon Alabi (NBA Draft), Linas Kleiza (free agency), Joey Dorsey (free agency), David Andersen (free agency), Julian Wright (trade)
Losses: Chris Bosh (free agency), Hedo Turkoglu (free agency), Antoine Wright (free agency), Marco Bellineli (trade)

Toronto has one of the roughest offseasons in recent memory; first, they lost Chris Bosh, which was bad enough. But then, the Raptors struck out with free agent Matt Barnes in a sign-and-trade deal that was far from legal under salary-cap rules. Management followed that botched deal with a trade that may haunt the Canadian franchise- Hedo Turkoglu for Leandro Barbosa. Turkoglu was unhappy in Toronto and he let everyone know so the front office shipped him to Phoenix and got Barbosa in return, a guard who simply cannot guard anyone. For one of the league's worst defensive team, that had already lost a huge defensive presence in Bosh earlier in the offseason, trading for a defense-less guard isn't exactly the key to improvement.

Another questionable move was tying up even more cap-space into Amir Johnson, a career 4.7 points per game scorer, signed into a five-year, $34 million deal. Adding Linas Kleiza to the roster using their midlevel exception is just another poor defender who doesn't have the offensive firepower to offset.
Washington Wizards

Additions: John Wall (NBA Draft), Kirk Hinrich (trade), Yi Jianlian (trade), Kevin Seraphin (trade), Trevor Booker (NBA Draft), Hilton Armstrong (free agency)
Losses: Mike Miller (free agency), Randy Foye (free agency), Shaun Livingston (free agency), Alonzo Gee (free agency)

There is much excitement amongst NBA Scouts to see what John Wall can do this year with the Wizards. He showcased his talents in the 2010 summer league, wowing everyone in attendance with his dynamic playmaking abilities, craftiness and speed with the ball in his hands and his ability to get to the rim at will. He'll be given every opportunity to succeed in Washington as he has been handed the reigns to the franchise while the ink was drying on his rookie contract.

Aiding in his development is a pair of potential breakout players in Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee. Blatche averaged 20.8 points and 8.2 rebounds as a starter in place of Brendan Haywood, while McGee started just 19 games, but is coming off a strong summer league performance playing side-by-side with Wall. On the perimeter, the rookie will have several options including high-scoring wings, Al Thornton and Josh Howard, and also Gilbert Arenas and Kirk Hinrich. Howard is coming off of a torn ACL, Thorton saw a tremendous drop in minutes and production last season with the Clippers and Wizards and Arenas was suspended and pleaded guilty to a felony gun charge, but all three players could return to old form in 201-11 or at least show improvement.  The Wizards too will show improvement and start to climb out of the Eastern Conference's cellar, but not enough to make the playoffs. They are still a few pieces short.