With the NBA's new CBA bringing teams closer and closer to paying bigger fines for exceeding the salary cap, player movement and contract negotiations were framed in a different light this offseason.
Couple ownership salary cap concerns with the unprecedented number of front office and coaching changes that took place this offseason, and the flood gates opened to provide a heaping helping of intrigue going into the 2013-14 season.
So, where did all of those free agents and misfit players end up up at the end of the offseason? Let's take a look at the Eastern Conference offseason moves.
Who's Coming: Kris Humphries (Trade), Gerald Wallace (Trade), MarShon Brooks (Trade), Kelly Olynyk (13th overall)
Who's Going: Kevin Garnett (Trade), Paul Pierce (Trade), Jason Terry (Trade), Fab Melo (Trade)
The "Ubuntu" era ended with a resounding thud when Danny Ainge shipped future Hall-of-Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and ex-Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry to a divisional rival and let coach Doc Rivers out of his contract. Doc's Clippers and KG's Nets might be title contenders this year, but Ainge's Celtics are clearly in rebuilding mode.
The centerpiece of this team – and the lone holdover from the C's most recent title – is Rajon Rondo. Rondo is one of the top point guards in the league, and has averaged over 11 dimes per game in each of the last four seasons. But there's no guarantee that streak will continue. He's working his way back from a torn ACL, which means he won't make his season debut until December at the earliest. But more importantly, playing the lead role on offense may expose his biggest weakness. Rondo's poor outside shooting wasn't much of a liability when he was threading passes to Garnett and Pierce, but he may have more trouble finding passing lanes sharing the floor with MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries. Of course, that also assumes that Ainge won't just trade Rondo, too. Detroit is reportedly hoping to make a deal.
Avery Bradley could open the season in Rondo's place. Bradley didn't play particularly well as Rondo's fill-in last season, and may be better suited to playing off the ball, but new coach Brad Stevens may not have any other choice.
The big trade should actually benefit Jeff Green, who won't be sharing minutes with Pierce any more. Green was very impressive in his return after missing the entire 2011-12 season due to heart problems; he'll likely be Boston's primary scorer and an important rebounder. Jared Sullinger showed some promise as a rookie, but his medical history and offseason legal problems are significant concerns.
Who's Coming: Kevin Garnett (Trade), Paul Pierce (Trade), Jason Terry (Trade), Andrei Kirilenko (FA), Shaun Livingston (FA), Alan Anderson (FA), Mason Plumlee (22nd pick)
Who's Going: MarShon Brooks (Trade), Keith Bogans (Trade), Kris Humphries (Trade), Gerald Wallace (Trade), C.J. Watson (FA)
Forgive the wildly-overused expression, but the Nets are "all-in" this season. General manager Billy King added two sure-fire future Hall-of-Famers, an ex-Sixth Man of the Year and a first-team all-defense forward to a core that already included Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson.
Will Billy King's epic shopping spree push the Nets to the top of the Atlantic and into competition for the Eastern Conference title? The general consensus is yes. Brooklyn is now one of the deepest, most talented teams in the league, with Deron Williams set to run the point, Joe Johnson at the two, Pierce and Garnett at the forwards and Brook Lopez – who blossomed last season into arguably the league's top offensive center – in the middle. Some of King's acquisitions complement the team beautifully – Garnett's defensive intensity and rebounding should more than cover for the biggest holes in Lopez' game, and Kirilenko's presence means Pierce and Garnett can play fewer minutes than in years past. And the Nets will be very deep in the frontcourt, with rebounding savant Reggie Evans and a surprisingly effective Andray Blatche set to come off the bench.
The biggest question marks for Brooklyn: who backs up Williams? (Our guess – Tyshawn Taylor.) Will Joe Johnson be as effective in an offense that uses the isolation less often? (Our guess – no.) And will rookie head coach Jason Kidd be able to effectively juggle all his superstars and keep his key guys fresh for the post-season? Look for Kidd to rely heavily on assistant coach Lawrence Frank and coach-on-the-floor Garnett.
New York Knicks
Who's Coming: Andrea Bargnani (Trade), Metta World Peace (FA), Beno Udrih (FA), Tim Hardaway Jr. (24th pick)
Who's Going: Chris Copeland (FA), Marcus Camby (Trade), Steve Novak (Trade), Quentin Richardson (Trade), Jason Kidd (retired)
The 2013-14 Knicks are more talented than last year's model. But did they improve enough to compete with Miami – or even to keep pace with the other top teams in the East? The jury is still out.
Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald's biggest move of the offseason was to send Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, Quentin Richardson, a future first-round pick and two future second-rounders to Toronto in exchange for much-maligned big man Andrea Bargnani. The deal has drawn a lot of criticism from Knicks fans, who are (rightfully) tired of seeing Madison Square Garden deal draft picks, but look at it this way – Novak and Camby couldn't crack Mike Woodson's rotation in the playoffs. If healthy, Bargnani could give the Knicks an effective frontcourt scorer that can run the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop, hit an open corner three and create more space for last year's NBA scoring champ, Carmelo Anthony.
New York's other significant losses were Chris Copeland, who will be replaced by Bargnani, and Jason Kidd, who retired to take up coaching. Kidd was a big part of the Knicks' early-season success but burned out by the end of the year and famously failed to hit a single basket during the playoffs. Re-signed Pablo Prigioni and newly-acquired Beno Udrih will take on that role, allowing Mike Woodson to continue using two point guards in the backcourt at times.
Woodson will have a lot of flexibility in setting up his lineup and rotation. Raymond Felton, Anthony and Tyson Chandler are the only real locks to start. Iman Shumpert is a likely starter as well, either at shooting guard or small forward. If Woodson prefers to keep Anthony at power forward, either Shumpert or Metta World Peace could play the three, which would put Bargnani on the bench. Or Anthony could move back to small forward with Bargnani at the four and either Shumpert or Prigioni in the backcourt.
Reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith is coming off knee surgery and may not be available to start the season. Amar'e Stoudemire is reportedly healthy but will be restricted to approximately 20 minutes per game in the hopes of avoiding further injury.
Who's Coming: Nerlens Noel (6th pick), Michael Carter-Williams (11th pick), Furkan Aldemir (Trade), Arsalan Kazemi (54th pick), Tony Wroten (Trade)
Who's Going: Jrue Holiday (Trade), Andrew Bynum (FA), Dorrell Wright (FA), Nick Young (FA)
In a league full of tankers, the Sixers are the Exxon Valdez. And this season their "win the Andrew Wiggins lottery" plan could leave the Atlantic Division covered in a thick, oily sludge.
The most transparent portion of their scheme was the trade that sent Jrue Holiday – a 23-year-old All-Star point guard – to New Orleans in exchange for the sixth overall pick in this year's draft, ex-Kentucky Wildcat center Nerlens Noel, who is coming off ACL surgery and may not make his NBA debut until early 2014. Holiday's departure hands the reins of the offense to 11th overall pick Michael Carter-Williams. With veteran guard Jason Richardson facing a lengthy rehab after knee surgery, the majority of the Sixers' scoring will likely come from journeyman swingman Thaddeus Young and 2010 draft bust Evan Turner. Oft-injured Spencer Hawes will be holding down the fort at center until Noel is ready. Newly acquired Tony Wroten could see significant minutes in the backcourt, but his offensive game needs more than a little refinement.
Yikes. A lineup like that could realistically challenge the 1972-73 Sixers' 9-73 record. The worst such mark in league history.
It's hard to blame the Sixers for tanking, though; after last year's disastrous Andrew Bynum trade, it's not like they had a choice. Last summer, Philly gave up Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic and Mo Harkless to take a gamble on Bynum, who missed the entire season due to knee injuries and recently signed a free-agent contract with the Cavaliers.
Who's Coming: Tyler Hansbrough (FA), D.J. Augustin (FA), Austin Daye (FA), Steve Novak (Trade), Dwight Buycks (FA)
Who's Going: Andrea Bargnani (Trade), Linas Kleiza (Amnesty), Alan Anderson (FA)
The Raptors won't be good enough to compete for a title, and might not be bad enough to land in the top of the 2014 draft lottery. But this season could go a long way towards determining their future.
New general manager Masai Ujiri – the architect behind Denver's highly-entertaining teams of the last several years – jump-started the retooling process by trading Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks for a future first-round pick and two seconds. His next move may depend upon the continued development of center Jonas Valanciunas, swingman Terrence Ross and off-guard DeMar DeRozan, and whether or not Rudy Gay steps up to become the superstar some thought he'd be.
Another crucial question: whether or not Kyle Lowry can stay healthy enough to be this team's floor leader. Lowry has produced good-to-great numbers whenever he's been healthy, but that hasn't been nearly often enough. Don't be surprised if Lowry's name comes up in a lot of trade-deadline rumors; he'll be a free agent after this season, and probably won't be part of Ujiri's longer-term plans. Toronto is very thin at the point behind Lowry; D.J. Augustin will be his primary backup, but he's more of an "undersized two/bench scorer" than true lead guard. Ex D-Leaguer Dwight Buycks is the only other point on the roster currently.
Toronto should get solid production from the second unit this year. In addition to Augustin, Ujiri imported big man/agitator Tyler Hansbrough from Indiana and combo forward Austin Daye from Memphis, and has Landry Fields coming back after an injury-riddled season. Of course, that leaves Toronto with too many wings – Gay, Ross, Fields, Daye, Novak – and not enough minutes. That could be an indication that the Raptors will play small a lot this year, with one of those natural threes at the four spot. Or, it could be a situation that Ujiri will resolve with his next deal.
Who's Coming: Mike Dunleavy Jr. (FA), Tony Snell (20th pick), Erik Murphy (49th pick)
Who's Going: Nate Robinson (FA), Marco Belinelli (FA), Richard Hamilton (waived)
At the risk of stating the obvious, the only addition really worth discussing where the Chicago Bulls are concerned is the return of Derrick Rose. The 2011 NBA MVP, missed all of last season after tearing his ACL during the first round of the 2012 Playoffs. But he's expected back at full strength for the start of the 2013-14 campaign, and according to reports, he has added a lefty floater and an improved jump shot to his already-impressive repertoire. That thought should be terrifying for any guard that will be asked to defend Rose this season.
Rose basically replaces Nate Robinson in Tom Thibodeau's rotation. Robinson actually played much better than anyone could reasonably have expected in Rose's stead, but he won't be missed. The Bulls will be very deep in the backcourt, with Kirk Hinrich and Marquis Teague at the point, Jimmy Butler as the starting two and veteran wing Mike Dunleavy as the designated shooter off the bench.
Butler's grit and defensive ability should take some of the heat off of Luol Deng, a player Thibs seems intent on running into the ground. Carlos Boozer still hasn't been amnestied, which means he's still holding down the fort at the four spot – and that we'll hear his name quite a bit in advance of the trade deadline. Taj Gibson and the re-signed Nazr Mohammed are on hand for depth behind oft-injured center Joakim Noah.
Who's Coming: Anthony Bennett (1st pick), Sergey Karasev (19th pick), Andrew Bynum (FA), Earl Clark (FA), Jarrett Jack (FA)
Who's Going: Omri Casspi (FA), Wayne Ellington (FA), Shaun Livingston (FA), Marreese Speights (FA)
The Cavaliers should return to the playoffs for the first time in years, thanks to arrival of first-overall pick Anthony Bennett, the continued development of young stars like Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters, and a much-improved bench that will feature veteran guard Jarrett Jack and versatile forward Earl Clark. How far they get in the postseason may depend on the health of oft-injured center Andrew Bynum.
The acquisition of Bynum is a low-risk, high reward move for the Cavs. The Sixers, who gave up Andre Iguodala and two very promising youngsters (Maurice Harkless and Nikola Vucevic) to get Bynum in the Dwight Howard trade, but he missed the entire 2012-13 season due to knee trouble. Cleveland didn't give up anything but Dan Gilbert's money. If healthy, Bynum could challenge Brook Lopez for "best center in the East" status and give the Cavs a very dangerous inside player to complement their young but super-talented backcourt. Of course, "if healthy" is the most important clause in that sentence. I'm glad it is Dan Gilbert's money and not mine.
A productive Bynum would also give the Cavs the freedom to trade Anderson Varejao. For now, Cleveland is reportedly considering using Varejao and Bynum in the frontcourt together – but with one year and a team option for a second remaining on his contract, it might make more sense to deal Varejao at the deadline, possibly for small forward help.
Considering the Cavs' depth at power forward and the fact that he's coming off a shoulder injury, don't expect much production from Bennett initially. Sergey Karasev – the Cavs' other first-round pick – could see spot minutes at both wing positions, but he's just 19 years old and probably a year or two away from making a major contribution.
Who's Coming: Brandon Jennings (Sign-and-Trade), Josh Smith (FA), Chauncey Billups (FA), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (8th pick), Tony Mitchell (37th pick), Luigi Datome (FA), Peyton Siva (56th pick)
Who's Going: Jose Calderon (FA), Jason Maxiell (FA), Brandon Knight (Trade), Khris Middleton (Trade), Slava Kravtsov (Trade)
Joe Dumars made a name for himself as an executive by assembling the 2004 NBA champions – a collection of not-quite superstars that proved to be more than the sum of its parts. His record since then isn't nearly as impressive, littered with iffy trades and big-money free agent deals that didn't work out.
Undaunted by his recent mistakes (I'm looking at you, Charlie Villanueva), Dumars was active in free agency this summer, landing point guard Brandon Jennings via a sign-and-trade and signing forward Josh Smith. Theoretically, they represent a substantial upgrade to the Pistons' overall talent level. But how well do the new guys fit? At his best, Jennings is adept at breaking down a defense off the dribble and then kicking to open wing shooters. But Detroit's roster is noticeably lacking in the "outside shooting" department, which could lead Jennings to spend more time jacking up jumpers. Smith, meanwhile, is best as a super-athletic power forward, able to out-quick most opponents and block shots as a help defender. But where does that leave a promising younger player like Greg Monroe?
Best-case scenario: Chauncey Billups embraces his role as coach-on-the-floor and aids in Jennings' development. Rookies Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Gigi Datome – an import from the Italian league – shoot well enough to create some space for Jennings to operate. And Smith, Monroe and Andre Drummond become a three-headed monster at the four and five spots. Would that be enough to get Detroit into the playoff mix? Maybe for the eighth spot, and maybe, for now, that's enough.
Who's Coming: Luis Scola (Trade), C.J. Watson (FA), Chris Copeland (FA), Solomon Hill (23rd pick)
Who's Going: Tyler Hansbrough (FA), D.J. Augustin (FA), Jeff Pendergraph (FA), Gerald Green (Trade), Miles Plumlee (Trade)
The Nets had the splashiest offseason, but the Pacers under-the-radar moves might make Indiana the biggest threat to Miami's run atop the East.
Last year's Eastern Conference runner-up will have a much stronger second unit this year. Veteran forward Luis Scola should be a very nice complement to starter David West and give the Pacers more offense than Tyler Hansbrough was ever able to muster. Ex-Knick Chris Copeland will help stretch the floor (and that signing also weakened an Eastern Conference rival). And C.J. Watson will be a much steadier hand running the floor behind George Hill than anyone Frank Vogel used last season, which frees improving guard Lance Stephenson to play off the ball.
Of course, the most intriguing addition to Indiana's lineup this season will be Danny Granger. The All-Star forward missed all but five games last season due to ongoing knee problems. Obviously, getting a player of Granger's caliber back can only be a plus, but it was in his absence that the Pacers' core of Paul George, Roy Hibbert, West and Hill really "clicked" and turned the team into a contender. At this point, it's not clear whether Vogel will return Granger to his customary starting spot or use him off the bench – which would make Indy's second unit even more dangerous.
There's also the possibility that Granger could be shopped at the trade deadline, as he's in the final year of his contract and may not be a part of the team's long-term plans.
Who's Coming: O.J. Mayo (FA), Caron Butler (Trade), Brandon Knight (Trade), Luke Ridnour (Trade), Khris Middleton(Trade), Gary Neal (FA), Zaza Pachulia (FA), Giannis Antetokounmpo (15th pick), Nate Wolters (38th pick)
Who's Going: Brandon Jennings (Trade), Monta Ellis (FA), Mike Dunleavy (FA), Samuel Dalembert (FA), Luc-Richard Mbah a Moute (Trade), J.J. Redick (Trade), Gustavo Ayon (Waived), Drew Gooden (Amnesty)
The Bucks will tip off the 2013-14 season with a very different roster and the same, decidedly modest, expectations. Last year's team reached the playoffs as an eight seed, thanks largely to a high-scoring backcourt of Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings and J.J. Redick off the bench. All three of those players are gone. So are Mike Dunleavy, Luc-Richard Mbah a Moute, Sam Dalembert and Drew Gooden.
Ordinarily, that sort of wholesale roster turnover implies a team going in the tank. But that's not the Bucks' style. In fact, expectations for the revamped Bucks will be remarkably similar to last year's. They have a very good chance of sneaking into the playoffs and getting speedily dispatched by the Heat, Bulls or Pacers. Milwaukee probably overpaid to sign O.J. Mayo as a free agent, but he'll likely be their leading scorer. Third-year guard Brandon Knight, who came over from the Pistons in the Brandon Jennings sign-and-trade, will take over at the point, with Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal forming a fairly formidable pair of backcourt backups. Wisconsin native Caron Butler – who was eager to return to his hometown team – brings toughness at the three, with Carlos Delfino – back in Milwaukee after a year in Houston – backing up. And at power forward and center, the team actually has some continuity, with rapidly-improving center Larry Sanders and stretch four Ersan Ilyasova. Ex-Hawk Zaza Pachulia and John Henson will be the primary bigs off the bench.
Who's Coming: Paul Millsap (FA), Gustavo Ayon (FA), Elton Brand (FA), DeMarre Carroll (FA), Jared Cunningham (Trade), Dennis Schroeder (17th pick)
Who's Going: Josh Smith (FA), Devin Harris (FA), Zaza Pachulia (FA), Anthony Tolliver (FA)
As the 2012-13 season drew to a close and the free agent bonanza approached, the Hawks found themselves at the center of a number of grandiose rumors. Would they land Chris Paul? Could they convince local hero Dwight Howard to come home? The answers turned out to be no and no, leading general manager Danny Ferry to implement a much more conservative plan – one that should have the Hawks back in the playoffs this season.
Ferry let talented-but-frustrating forward Josh Smith walk, replacing him with ex-Jazz forward Paul Millsap. Millsap is everything that Smith isn't – he's not one-tenth as athletic or electric, but he's very solid and fundamentally sound, which should make him a nice complement to center Al Horford. Veteran big Elton Brand should be a good fit backing up both big men. A re-signed Kyle Korver and newly-acquired DeMarre Carroll make a nice offense/defense pairing at the three.
Ferry let the market dictate Jeff Teague's value, matching the Bucks' offer sheet. With Devin Harris out of the mix, the point guard job is officially Teague's. Second-year guard John Jenkins – primarily a three-point shooter – has been penciled in at the two, and Lou Williams – who was very productive in his first Atlanta season before a torn ACL ended his year – will back up both players. First-rounder Dennis Schroeder may get some minutes as well, but he's a year or two away from a major role.
The only potential hassle arising from Ferry's offseason? The arrival of Millsap means that Horford will log most of his playing time at center. Horford has been outspoken about his preference to play the four, especially on defense. Of course, new Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer is familiar with big men that would rather not play center (like, say, Tim Duncan) from his years as an assistant to Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. Don't be surprised if we see a lot of big lineups that shift Horford to the four alongside Brand or Gustavo Ayon.
Who's Coming: Cody Zeller (4th pick), Al Jefferson (FA), Jannero Pargo (FA), James Southerland (FA), Anthony Tolliver (FA)
Who's Going: Byron Mullens (FA), Reggie Williams (FA), Tyrus Thomas (Amnesty)
The Bobcats will be better this year. But "better" is relative – there's still an awfully long way to go before they reach "mediocre."
General manager Rich Cho's big move of the offseason was the free-agent signing of forward Al Jefferson. As with the Bucks' deal with O.J. Mayo, Charlotte probably paid a bit more than they would have liked. It's an unfortunate reality – players will take less to play in Miami or Brooklyn, but the league's less-desirable destinations have to overpay to sign talent. And Jefferson is talented – he's already the best low-post scorer the team has had in its history. The presence of an actual threat – as opposed to, say, Tyrus Thomas or Byron Mullens, in the frontcourt will diversify Charlotte's offense and give perimeter players like Kemba Walker a lot more room to move. Rookie Cody Zeller should be a nice complement to Jefferson, with the ability to step out and hit a 12-16 footer and maybe even the occasional corner three.
Second-year forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is one of those "does everything except score" guys that are so valuable on contenders. Of course, Charlotte is about the farthest thing from a contender, so his contributions may get lost in the shuffle. Cho re-signed guard Gerald Henderson to team in the backcourt with Walker. Veteran guards Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon give the team decent depth in the backcourt, and Jeff Taylor could win playing time as a three-point specialist, but this roster is wafer-thin in the frontcourt after Jefferson, Zeller and Bismack Biyombo.
Who's Coming: Greg Oden (FA), Michael Beasley (FA)
Who's Going: Mike Miller (amnesty)
It's appears that Pat Riley has reached the point that he's absolutely convinced every move he makes – no matter how unorthodox - will work out perfectly. There's more than a little bit of evidence that he is correct; after all, he managed to pick Chris "Birdman" Andersen off the scrap heap and turn him into a key piece on an NBA championship team.
Of course, the Birdman signing looks like a no-brainer compared to this year's moves. First, Riley signed on for Greg Oden's comeback attempt. The top overall pick in the 2008 draft, Oden has played just 82 total games in his career – none since the 2009-10 season. He topped that move by signing Michael Beasley – a player the Heat gave up on back in 2010, and who the dreadful Phoenix Suns are paying not to play for them – to a non-guaranteed contract.
The acquisitions carry practically no risk to Miami. If Oden can't play, he'll be gone. If Beasley steps out of line, he'll be cut loose. But if either of them shows off the talent that made them top draft picks, the Heat will be even bigger favorites to three-peat.
Miami also cut ties with Mike Miller via amnesty. Miller had a knack for coming up big at crucial times but also missed a ton of games due to nagging injuries. With Ray Allen and Shane Battier still in the mix, Miller became an unnecessary luxury. His departure gives Riley a bit more flexibility as we approach the next LeBron James free-agent-palooza.
Who's Coming: Victor Oladipo (2nd pick), Romero Osby (51st pick), Jason Maxiell (FA), Ronnie Price (FA)
Who's Going: Al Harrington (FA), Beno Udrih (FA)
It's fair to say the Magic won the Dwight Howard trade. In fact – just a year after that deal was completed, Orlando is the only team seeing any benefit from the deal. Howard left the Lakers; Andre Iguodala left the Nuggets; and Andrew Bynum is no longer a Sixer, but Maurice Harkless and Nikola Vucevic – the players Orlando received in the deal – now account for 2/5 of the Magic starting lineup.
That deal – and the subsequent trade that brought Tobias Harris to town – gave the Magic a very promising young frontcourt. They continued their rebuild this summer by selecting Indiana Hoosier star Victor Oladipo with the second overall pick in the draft. The team is hoping that the athletic combo guard will eventually take over at the point; he played that position extensively during the summer league and is expected to log minutes at both guard spots this season.
General manager Rob Hennigan's next move might be to part ways with point guard Jameer Nelson. The 31-year-old Nelson posted career-highs in scoring (14.7 ppg) and assists (7.4 apg) last season, but only appeared in 57 games due to injury. His contract for next season isn't guaranteed, so Nelson might make an attractive fill-in for a team that loses a guard to injury this season. Glen "Big Baby" Davis' name will appear in lots of trade rumors too, as soon as he recovers from a foot injury.
Who's Coming: Otto Porter (3rd pick), Glen Rice Jr. (35th pick), Al Harrington (FA), Eric Maynor (FA)
Who's Going: Leandro Barbosa (FA), Jason Collins (FA), AJ Price (FA)
This was supposed to be the year that the Wizards re-enter the playoff picture. But they've already experienced several setbacks this summer that will make reaching the postseason much more difficult. Before training camp even began, the Wizards lost forward Chris Singleton to a broken foot and center Emeka Okafor to a herniated disc in his neck. Okafor's injury is far more serious – though he has said he isn't contemplating retirement, there's a chance that he'll miss the entire season, which will put a lot more pressure on oft-injured big man Nene – who played in just 61 games last year – newly-acquired forward Al Harrington, promising-but-raw big Kevin Seraphin and even Jan Vesely – who appeared in several summer-league games as a small-ball center -- to fill the void.
Making matters worse, first-round draft pick Otto Porter was hampered by hamstring problems throughout summer league play, which will only hurt his chances to win a major role as a rookie, and second-year guard Bradley Beal is still recovering from the stress reaction in his leg that ended his 2012-13 season prematurely. With Porter expected to start his NBA career as a sub, look for veterans Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza to split playing time at small forward.
On the plus side, the combination of Beal – once he's healthy – and John Wall could develop into one of the league's best backcourt combos. The addition of Eric Maynor gives them a much more reliable backup, and could allow Wall to play off the ball in two-point guard lineups at times.