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Offseason Overview: how the Southeast Division looks after the draft and free agency

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Orlando Magic v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Ah, the Southeast Division, the NBA’s unwanted stepchild. A division where one must ask which team is the least bad rather than which team is the best. Last season, 4 of the 5 teams in the Southeast finished below .500, with the Orlando Magic being the division’s sole representative in the 2019 NBA playoffs.

Not pretty! But every season is a clean slate, right? Let’s take a look at what these teams have done to improve their situation (or not so much).

*Vegas over/unders are an aggregate of three sources: DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet.

**Players involved in sign-and-trades are listed under “Key Free Agency Additions/Losses” while players traded under an existing contract are listed under “Acquired/Departed via Offseason Trades”.

***Re-signings will go unmentioned as our focus here is to highlight how teams have changed year-to-year. However, there will be cap sheets posted with each team, so each roster will be available below.


Atlanta Hawks

2018-19 Record: 29-53 (12th in Eastern Conference)

2019-20 Vegas Over/Under: 32.5

2019-20 CARMELO Projection: 28-54 (12th in Eastern Conference)

Key Free Agency Additions

  • Jabari Parker (1+1 player option/$13,000,000)

Key Free Agency Losses

  • Dewayne Dedmon (signed with SAC)
  • Vince Carter (unsigned)
  • Justin Anderson (unsigned)

Acquired via Offseason Trades

  • Allen Crabbe (from BKN)
  • Chandler Parsons (from MEM)
  • Evan Turner (from POR)

Departed via Offseason Trade

  • Omari Spellman (to GSW)
  • Kent Bazemore (to POR)
  • Taurean Prince (to BKN)

Drafted

  • DeAndre Hunter (F, Virginia, 4th overall)
  • Cam Reddish (G/F, Duke, 10th overall)
  • Bruno Fernando (C, Maryland, 34th overall)

Projected Starting Lineup for 2019-20

PG: Trae Young
SG: Kevin Huerter
SF: Allen Crabbe
PF: Jabari Parker(/DeAndre Hunter?)
C: John Collins

Cap Sheet per Early Bird Rights

Verdict: With a collection of youth and past-their-prime veterans, the Atlanta Hawks don’t figure to be very good next season. Not only are they likely to compete for lottery positioning, they probably want to. Despite promising young players like Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, John Collins and DeAndre Hunter, the Hawks could still use another promising prospect from the 2020 NBA Draft as they look to build a core that can contend by the time Young hits his prime. All that said, the Hawks should be a fun team to watch next season considering Trae’s electric scoring ability, Collins’ above-the-rim style of play and interesting rookies in Hunter and Cam Reddish.

Charlotte Hornets

2018-19 Record: 39-43 (9th in Eastern Conference)

2019-20 Vegas Over/Under: 23.5

2019-20 CARMELO Projection: 26-56 (13th in Eastern Conference)

Key Free Agency Additions

  • Terry Rozier (sign-and-trade from BOS; 3 years/$56,700,000)

Key Free Agency Losses

  • Kemba Walker (sign-and-trade to BOS)
  • Jeremy Lamb (signed with IND)
  • Tony Parker (retired)

Acquired via Offseason Trade

  • None

Departed via Offseason Trade

  • None

Drafted

  • PJ Washington (F, Kentucky, 12th overall)
  • Cody Martin (G/F, Nevada, 36th overall)
  • Jalen McDaniels (F, San Diego State, 52nd overall)

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Nicolas Batum
SF: Miles Bridges
PF: Marvin Williams
C: Cody Zeller

Cap Sheet per Early Bird Rights

Verdict: You’d be hard pressed to find a single person who would argue the Hornets are a better team now than they were at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. The projected starting lineup above is disturbingly bland. Charlotte is likely to find themselves at the bottom of the league standings along with the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers, but at least with the latter two there’s some excitement (young guys with upside). The Hornets are primed to be one of the least compelling teams in the entire league with a roster chock full of mediocre or regressing veterans and without any dreamy upside youth.

Miami Heat

2018-19 Record: 39-43 (10th in Eastern Conference)

2019-20 Vegas Over/Under: 42.5

2019-20 CARMELO Projection: 44-38 (5th in Eastern Conference)

Key Free Agency Additions

  • Jimmy Butler (sign-and-trade from PHI; 3+1 player option/$140,790,600)

Key Free Agency Losses

  • Josh Richardson (sign-and-trade to PHI)
  • Dwayne Wade (retired)
  • Ryan Anderson (unsigned)

Acquired via Offseason Trade

  • Meyers Leonard (from POR)

Departed via Offseason Trade

  • Hassan Whiteside (to POR)

Drafted

  • Tyler Herro (G, Kentucky, 13th overall)
  • KZ Okpala (F, Stanford, 32nd overall)

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Goran Dragic
SG: Jimmy Butler
SF: Justise Winslow
PF: Kelly Olynyk
C: Bam Adebayo

Cap Sheet per Early Bird Rights

Verdict: Miami made a splash acquisition landing Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade. For Sixers fans, this is particularly interesting: it used to be that Joel Embiid clowning Hassan Whiteside made Sixers/Heat games compelling and while the antics of that beef will be missed, Jimmy Butler’s first return to South Philadelphia will be must-watch TV. On a grander scale, the Heat are no doubt a better team heading into 2019-20 (and they may not be done adding players yet). Butler likely helps to make Miami into at least a playoff seed after missing out on the fun last season. With Whiteside out of town, Bam Adebayo assumes the starting center position and finally gets an opportunity to show what he can really do. I liked Maimi’s draft too, adding Tyler Herro and KZ Okpala.

Orlando Magic

2018-19 Record: 42-40 (7th in Eastern Conference)

2019-20 Vegas Over/Under: 40.5

2019-20 CARMELO Projection: 42-40 (6th in Eastern Conference)

Key Free Agency Additions

  • Al-Farouq Aminu (3 years/$29,162,700)

Key Free Agency Losses

  • Isaiah Briscoe (unsigned)
  • Jerian Grant (unsigned)

Acquired via Offseason Trade

  • None

Departed via Offseason Trade

  • None

Drafted

  • Chuma Okeke (F, Auburn, 16th overall)

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: DJ Augustin
SG: Evan Fournier
SF: Aaron Gordon
PF: Jonathan Isaac
C: Nikola Vucevic

Cap Sheet per Early Bird Rights

Verdict: After a series of re-signings, the Orlando Magic are essentially running it back with the notable exceptions of adding Al-Farouq Aminu, who is a solid two-way veteran, and Chuma Okeke, who could end up being a draft steal if he can get and stay healthy. They re-signed Nikola Vucevic coming off a career year and in the midst of his prime. I’m still buying stock on Jonathan Isaac and it wouldn’t be shocking to see the third-year wing take a leap. Given their continuity and decent depth, anything less than a playoff appearance would be a disappointment for the Magic. But what might be a replay of the previous season as far as expectations could end up an exciting year if Markelle Fultz and Mo Bamba end up showing some of what got them drafted highly in the first place.

Washington Wizards

2018-19 Record: 32-50 (11th in Eastern Conference)

2019-20 Vegas Over/Under: 27.5

2019-20 CARMELO Projection: 32-50 (11th in Eastern Conference)

Key Free Agency Additions

  • Isaiah Thomas (1 year/$1,620,564)
  • Ish Smith (2 years/$12,000,000)

Key Free Agency Losses

  • Bobby Portis (signed with NYK)
  • Jabari Parker (signed with ATL)
  • Tomas Satoransky (signed with CHI)
  • Trevor Ariza (signed with SAC)
  • Jeff Green (signed with UTH)
  • Sam Dekker (unsigned)
  • Chasson Randle (unsgined)

Acquired via Offseason Trade

  • Moritz Wagner (from LAL)
  • Isaac Bonga (from LAL)
  • Jemerrio Jones (from LAL)
  • Davis Bertans (from SAS)
  • CJ Miles (from MEM)

Departed via Offseason Trade

  • None

Drafted

  • Rui Hachimura (F, Gonzaga, 9th overall)
  • Admiral Schofield (G/F, Tennessee, 42nd overall via PHI)

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Ish Smith
SG: Bradley Beal
SF: CJ Miles
PF: Davis Bertans
C: Thomas Bryant

Cap Sheet per Early Bird Rights

Verdict: The Washington Wizards produced a ton of roster turnover this summer, but not very much of it actually matters. Outside of Bradley Beal, the Wiz have a collection of average to below-average veterans and average to below-average prospects. After suffering an off-court Achilles injury last season, John Wall is unlikely to play significant time in 2019-20, if any time at all. Ted “We’ll never tank” Leonsis’ squad looks like a team that very much should tank, and whether they’ll take their medicine depends on their willingness to move Bradley Beal for assets (so far, they’ve indicated they are not willing to do so). Whatever path the Wizards take next season, they are likely to finish in the bottom third of the East.


I’d like to give a big thank you to Jeff Siegel at Early Bird Rights for not only allowing me to use his cap sheets in this post but for all the work he does in putting the sheets together in the first place. I encourage our readers to use Early Bird Rights for your cap and salary inquiries.