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What's left for Eastern Conference teams to do this offseason?

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

Garnett, James, and Bynum are all looking to control the East. (USATSI)
Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, and Andrew Bynum are all looking to control the East. (USATSI)

With July almost over and the free agency period grinding to nearly a complete halt, we're starting to lose momentum on the NBA offseason. But that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of work to do. We've seen Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce join forces with the big money players of the Brooklyn Nets, Andrew Bynum move to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and a few teams in the East start preparing for their future as they begin rebuilding/tanking for the upcoming NBA Draft class.

With the major moves done -- barring a blockbuster trade -- the teams in the Eastern Conference still need to round out their rosters and fine tune the rotation options their coaches have heading into next season. Let's take a look at the remaining cap room (if any), unsigned free agents, position needs, salary exceptions remaining, and what each team in the East needs to do to round out their roster before training camp.

(Note: Depth charts below are not meant as steadfast layouts for how each team will be constructed on the court, but simply a broad idea of a distribution of talent at each position.)

Southeast

ATLANTA HAWKS

Estimated Cap Room: $2.86 million
Free Agents:
Ivan Johnson (Early Bird rights), Anthony Tolliver (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
Reserve power forward, reserve center
Salary Exceptions Remaining:
Room exception ($2.6m)
What do they need next?

The Atlanta Hawks could very much use some more depth inside. The nice thing for the Hawks is a lot of their players are incredibly versatile so you can play Paul Millsap at the 3 or the 4, Elton Brand at the 4 or the 5, and Al Horford at the 4 or the 5, as well. You can even go with three-guard lineups, two-point guard lineups, and lots of shooters to spread the floor. It looks like the Hawks have 13 guys on the roster at the moment and will probably only add one more player because it leaves roster flexibility in case of trade.

If the Hawks were going to go after anybody, I would think a veteran big man would be the play. Re-signing restricted free agent Ivan Johnson could give them the depth at either big man position they need, but if they want to go another way, chasing Marcus Camby, Jason Collins, or Drew Gooden could all be nice additions that they could throw their room exception at to finish the roster.

Current Depth Chart

CHARLOTTE BOBCATS

Estimated Cap Room: $1.75 million
Free Agents:
Gerald Henderson (RFA)
Position Needs:
Third point guard, versatile wing, 3-point shooter
Salary Exceptions Remaining:
None
What do they need next?

The Charlotte Bobcats don't really have a lot left to do. They're well above the salary floor and only have 12 players under contract. They could use another point guard to throw behind Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions, and this team desperately needs a wing player that can shoot the 3-ball accurately. If they can get an interchangeable wing player in the process, that would be even better. But for the most part, this team has what it needs for this season and is really just looking at the finality of the rebuilding mode next summer.

Gary Neal would be a nice addition to this team if they could convince him to lose for a short while, but they probably can't offer him enough money to make the miserable record worth it to a guy that just played in the NBA Finals. Going after Alan Anderson would give them the versatile wing player that can shoot the 3-pointer as well. Or they could scour the D-League and try to get non-guaranteed guys to come in and try to last the season.

Current Depth Chart

MIAMI HEAT

Estimated Cap Room: None. $9.91 million over the luxury tax
Free Agents: Juwan Howard (Non-Bird_
Position Needs:
Backup point guard, 3-point shooter
Salary Cap Exceptions: Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception ($3.1m)
What do they need next?

The best move the Miami Heat could possibly make here is use their taxpayer mid-level exception to go after Gary Neal, who killed them briefly in the NBA Finals. It would mean a bigger tax commitment by the team after amnestying Mike Miller from the roster to open up a roster spot and save a little money. Neal can play the point in a pinch and is another deadly 3-point shooter they like to grab.

We may also see them shelve the idea of another backup point guard, role with Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers as the two options when LeBron James doesn't have the ball, and bring James Ennis out of Long Beach State (50th pick in 2013) along as a 3-and-D guy they try to develop while he's on the bench and in practices.

Current Depth Chart

ORLANDO MAGIC

Estimated Cap Room: None. $10 million below the luxury tax
Free Agents:
Beno Udrih (Bird rights), Daequan Jones (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
Backup power forward (?)
Salary Cap Exceptions: Mid-Level Exception ($2.6m left), Bi-Annual Exception ($2m)
What do they need next?

The Orlando Magic are between the salary cap and the luxury tax line with plenty of room between them and the tax. They can still buy out the contract of Hedo Turkoglu and end up saving about $6 million off the cap in the process. If they do that, they'll be under the salary cap by a couple million dollars. If they decide to roll with Turkoglu as an honorary member of the Magic, then they really don't need to do anything else.

The Magic have 15 players under contract right now. Because of the versatility of a lot of their forwards, they have a bevy of options at the 3 and the 4 this season and don't really need to add anything else. Much like the Bobcats, the Magic are just looking to keep flexibility and momentum with the rebuilding process going without adding on long-term money that could kill all that.

Current Depth Chart

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $1.83 million under the luxury tax
Free Agents:
A.J. Price (Non-Bird rights), Cartier Martin (Non-Bird rights), Jason Collins (Non-Bird rights), Leandro Barbosa (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
Third backup point guard, backup center
Salary Exceptions Remaining:
None
What do they need next?

The Washington Wizards are essentially done at this point with their roster construction. They have room for one more player, but don't really have the definite need to add a 15th player to the roster. With John Wall and Eric Maynor's respective injury history, they could use a third backup point guard, but Garrett Temple is more than capable of filling in for a few brief minutes here and there. They have a need for a third center, but Nene is an acceptable option in a pinch.

The Wizards don't need to do anything other than keep their players healthy heading into the season and give Randy Wittman all of the weapons they can possibly throw into his rotation.

Current Depth Chart

Central

CHICAGO BULLS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $7.29 million over the luxury tax, $3.29 million over the luxury tax apron
Free Agents:
Daequan Cook (Non-Bird rights), Vladimir Radmanovic (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
Versatile wing, third center

What do they need next?

The Bulls need to sign veteran minimum guys to round of the final positions of the roster if they're going to add anybody. They could trade someone like Luol Deng for multiple pieces, but that would shake a core that two years ago they believed could win an NBA title. With Deng's expiring contract, it's not necessary to kill the dream of seeing whether or not this team can truly contend with a healthy Derrick Rose back in the lineup.

Chicago needs help in two places: 1) they could use one more wing and 2) another center wouldn't be the worst thing for their depth inside. Would the Bulls be able to convince Ronnie Brewer to come back to town even if it's just for the veteran's minimum? What about bringing about Mickael Pietrus? Would he take a discount to join such a good team?

Current Depth Chart

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Estimated Cap Room: $6.17 million. They're roughly $300,000 under the salary floor but have yet to sign both first round picks
Free Agents:
Daniel Gibson
Position Needs:
Third point guard, backup shooting guard, backup center

What do they need next?

Going after guards like re-signing Daniel Gibson or throwing their room exception at Gary Neal seems like the play here to me. The Cavaliers could add someone that can add depth at the shooting guard position while still being able to play a little point guard when called upon. Those guys can also provide the team with another outside threat that would space the floor well as they try to give Andrew Bynum some room.

Even adding a throwaway big man like Johan Petro would give the Cavs some value because it would be another big body to throw out there to foul opposing big men if needed. Assuming they sign Anthony Bennett and Sergey Karasev to their rookie deals, the Cavs still need to add at least one more player and possibly two to round out the roster.

Current Depth Chart

DETROIT PISTONS

Estimated Cap Room: $730,000 under the cap
Free Agents:
Corey Maggette
Position Needs:
Backup shooting guard (?)

What do they need next?

The Detroit Pistons are technically set for next season, considering they appear to have 15 players under contract. With the additions of Josh Smith and Luigi Datome, the Pistons have added a lot of depth to the forward positions. I'd like to see them play a 3-man frontcourt of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, and Josh Smith, but I'm not convinced they go that direction right away. There is a little bit of a need for finding a third shooting guard behind Rodney Stuckey and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but Chauncey Billups can handle those duties if needed. It looks like the Pistons are all set for next season and just need to start working on their identity on the court.

Current Depth Chart

INDIANA PACERS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $2.69 million under the luxury tax
Free Agents:
Ben Hansbrough (Non-Bird rights), Sam Young (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
Backup forward

What do they need next?

The Pacers look set for the 2013-14 season, but if you want to get picky with their roster then you could say a 15th player should be added and it should be a backup forward. You'd probably be wiser to skew more toward having them pick up a third string power forward than another wing player, but really they don't need much on this roster other than what they currently have.

Current Depth Chart

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Estimated Cap Room: $8 million when factoring in cap holds
Free Agents:
Brandon Jennings (RFA), Marquis Daniels (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
Starting point guard, depth on the wings

What do they need next?

First and foremost, the Bucks have to resolve this Brandon Jennings issue. Whether it's him accepting the qualifying offer or them hammering out a four-year deal that will pay him somewhere in the $8m-$10m range, the deal has to get done soon. There simply aren't the suitors he was hoping for and the Bucks need to figure out how to reach the salary floor if they somehow lose out on Jennings by the miracle of sign-and-trade.

Outside of Jennings, there is a serious anemia on the wings for Milwaukee. The Bucks could give decent contracts out to Corey Maggette or Linas Kleiza for one year so they avoid keeping those guys for too long. Or they could throw some nice coin at Gerald Henderson and see if it's too much for the Charlotte Bobcats to match. Either way, the Bucks need to cap off an offseason in which they paid big money to O.J. Mayo and lost J.J. Redick for second round picks. Signing Giannis Antetokounmpo would be wise so they can get him over here and learning against better competition early.

Current Depth Chart

Atlantic

BOSTON CELTICS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $1.4 million over the luxury tax
Free Agents:
Chris Wilcox (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
They just need to tank

What do they need next?

This Celtics team doesn't need anything. In fact, it looks like they'll need to cut one player to get down to 15 on the roster and Shavlik Randolph is the only player right now with a non-guaranteed deal. The next steps for the Celtics could be trying to find a take for Kris Humphries' expiring contract or trying to package Gerald Wallace and a young player to a contender looking for a solid wing defender. Regardless of what they do, they need to tank and they need to tank fast.

Current Depth Chart

BROOKLYN NETS

Estimated Cap Room: LOL
Free Agents:
Jerry Stackhouse (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
Backup shooting guard (?)

What do they need next?

This Brooklyn team is set and even if they could add more salary to their payroll right now, I'm not sure it's legal. I'm not talking legal in the sense of the Collective Bargaining Agreement; I just assume adding even more money to this endeavor would trigger an alarm with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Nets could use another backup shooting guard but they really have enough depth and versatility to be good for now.

Current Depth Chart

NEW YORK KNICKS

Estimated Cap Room: A little less laughable than asking about the Nets, but come on.
Free Agents:
Earl Barron (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
Interior depth

What do they need next?

The Knicks just added Kenyon Martin to their roster for a one-year, veteran's minimum deal, but they need more than that. Bringing back Earl Barron or signing Johan Petro or convincing Drew Gooden he needs to stick it to the Bucks for amnestying him by signing a veteran's minimum deal with the Knicks might be the only real options the Knicks have when trying to add depth inside. Other than that, the Knicks could possibly use a third point guard, unless they feel like a combination of Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway, Jr., or even point forward Carmelo Anthony can handle those duties.

Current Depth Chart

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Estimated Cap Room: $14.6 million under the cap
Free Agents:
Charles Jenkins (Non-Bird rights), Royal Ivey (Non-Bird rights), Damien Wilkins (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
They just need to tank

What do they need next?

The Sixers don't even have a head coach yet, so that might be priority No. 1, even though that doesn't exactly have much to do with filling out the roster. The Sixers are well below the salary floor at the moment, and while they could re-sign their three free agents above to bigger one-year deals to cover the floor, perhaps it's more likely they throw big money at one of the few remaining decent free agents. Mo Williams joining this team on a one-year, $10 million might sound absurd. Well, it is absurd. But the salary floor is something they have to find a way to meet.

Whatever they do, they need to sign point guards and they need to sign them to for one-year deals and nothing more. Get to the salary floor and give yourself room to operate next season.

Current Depth Chart

TORONTO RAPTORS

Estimated Cap Room: None. $2.7 million under the luxury tax
Free Agents:
Sebastian Telfair (Early Bird rights), Alan Anderson (Non-Bird rights), Mickael Pietrus (Non-Bird rights)
Position Needs:
Nothing really

What do they need next?

This Raptors team also seems set. Their versatile frontcourt with Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas, Steve Novak, Tyler Hansbrough, and Quincy Acy seems deep enough and mobile enough to give the Raptors plenty of options inside. On the wings, they're mostly going to go with a rotation of Rudy Gay, Terrence Ross, and DeMar DeRozan. The likelihood that there are spare minutes to go around on the wing for a 15th player that brings them closer to the cap seems low.

Perhaps, they could re-sign Alan Anderson for the bi-annual exception, but it really doesn't seem like a completely necessary move.

Current Depth Chart

View the Western Conference teams here.

* - Salary and cap information for this post happened with the help of Mark Deeks at Shamsports.com and Eric Pincus at Hoopsworld.

 
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