2019 NBA free agency: Needs and potential fits for every Eastern Conference team

The 2019 NBA Draft has come and gone, which means it's almost time for the next big milestone on the NBA calendar: free agency

We're less than a week away now, with all the festivities set to get underway on Sunday, June 30 at 6 p.m. ET. That's a change from the past, when free agency used to start at midnight on July 1. The league moved the time up six hours this year to make everything a little easier for everyone. 

This should be a hectic summer, with dozens of players hitting free agency, including big name stars like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving, and plenty of teams with money to spend. 

Ahead of June 30, here's a look at the needs and potential fits for every team in the Eastern Conference. Click here for the Western Conference teams.  

Atlanta Hawks

Needs: Rim protection, back-up point guard, veteran leadership

Potential fits: Devin Harris, Dewayne Dedmon, Vince Carter

After their past two drafts, the Hawks appear to be on the right path in their rebuild, and don't figure to be big players in free agency this summer. A few small deals here and there, perhaps, but they'll have more flexibility next summer when a number of expiring contracts come off their books. 

Boston Celtics

Needs: Point guard, all the frontcourt help they can find

Potential fits: Terry Rozier, Malcolm Brogdon, Daniel Theis, Nikola Vucevic

The Celtics' summer plans got flipped on their heads with the failure to acquire Anthony Davis, coupled with the expected departure of both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. Now, they all of a sudden have plenty of cap space, and could make a splash. 

Brooklyn Nets

Needs: Two star free agents

Potential fits: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler

After years of irrelevance, the Nets finally made the playoffs last season, and now have big plans in free agency. They have the money to sign two max players this summer, and are targeting some of the biggest names in the league. 

Charlotte Hornets

Needs: Kemba Walker

Potential fits: Kemba Walker

For the Hornets, the only move that matters this summer is whether or not they re-sign Kemba Walker. They can give the All-NBA point guard more money than anyone else, but he may be swayed by the opportunity to join a contender. 

Chicago Bulls

Needs: Veteran point guard, wing depth, veteran big man

Potential fits: Patrick Beverley, Jeremy Lamb, Taj Gibson

You can never really be sure with the Bulls' front office, but it would be a surprise to see them try to make any serious moves this summer. They should look to add some veterans who can help on and off the court without taking too many opportunities from the young guys. 

Cleveland Cavaliers

Needs: Everything but point guard

Potential fits: Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot, Tyrone Wallace, Christian Wood

For as bad as they are, the Cavs are capped out, in part because they're still paying some of the role players they overpaid during the LeBron years, and in part because they took on bad contracts to get picks. Hard to see them doing anything notable this summer.

Detroit Pistons

Needs: Backup point guard, wing scoring, frontcourt depth

Potential fits: Ish Smith, Wayne Ellington, Gerald Green, Dante Cunningham

The Pistons are one of the few teams without cap space this summer, which is bad news considering they just barely snuck into the playoffs last season. They'll likely try to bring back Smith as their backup point guard and make some other small moves. 

Indiana Pacers

Needs: Point guard, wing scoring, frontcourt depth

Potential fits: Ricky Rubio, Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young

The Pacers will be one of the more interesting teams to watch, as half their rotation from last season is hitting free agency, and they already solved one of their biggest needs by trading for TJ Warren. Will they focus on bringing last season's team back? Or will they turn instead to some of the many free agents on the market?

Miami Heat

Needs: Shooting, wing scoring, frontcourt depth

Potential fits: James Ennis, Patrick McCaw, Nik Stauskas, Henry Ellenson

The Heat's cap sheet is a disaster, and they have their sights set on 2020 and beyond. If they're able to add any helpful players via minimum contracts that would be a successful summer in Miami. 

Milwaukee Bucks

Needs: Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez

Potential fits: Malcolm Brogdon, Khris MiddletonBrook Lopez

Yes, the needs and fits are one and the same for the Bucks, who are another team that are in for a wild summer. They're coming off their best season in two decades, but many key pieces of their rotation are up for free agency, and it will be tough to bring them all back -- especially if someone throws a huge offer sheet at Malcolm Brogdon.

New York Knicks

Needs: Star free agents

Potential fits: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Julius Randle, Harrison Barnes

The Knicks have spent months planning to pitch multiple star free agents on joining up at MSG next season, but most signs point to them once again being spurned. If that does happen, will they still be willing to splash a bunch of cash around on second and third tier free agents?

Orlando Magic

Needs: Back-up point guard, wing depth, stretch big

Potential fits: Jeremy Lin, Justin Holiday, Terrence Ross, Nikola Vucevic

The Magic have some difficult questions to answer this summer with both Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross hitting free agency. Each was an important part of helping the Magic get back to the playoffs, but are they worth locking up long-term? 

Philadelphia 76ers

Needs: Shooting, wing depth, back-up big 

Potential fits: Tobias Harris, Jimmy Butler, Jeremy Lamb, JaMychal Green, Ed Davis

After going all-in last season and falling just short to the eventual champions, will the Sixers just run things back and max Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler? Or would it be wiser to just pick one and use the remaining money on multiple players to improve their depth? It's going to be an interesting summer in Philly. 

Toronto Raptors

Needs: Kawhi Leonard

Potential fits: Kawhi Leonard

Yes, they have a few other key players up this summer in Marc Gasol and Danny Green, but re-signing the Finals MVP is the only move that truly matters. If they can get him to commit they'll be title contenders again; if they can't, they won't. 

Washington Wizards

Needs: Point guard, shooting, wing and frontcourt depth

Potential fits: Tomas Satoransky, Rodney McGruder, Maxi Kleber, Thomas Bryant

John Wall's unfortunate injury has left them in a really tough spot, both this summer and moving forward, and they could be in for all sorts of roster turnover this summer, with eight different players hitting free agency. Their main task will be avoiding handing out any reckless contracts that kneecap them moving forward. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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