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Grading the Southeast Divisions Off-Season Moves

Photo: CNN

Miami Heat- The Miami Heat have been surrounded in talks about the possibility of acquiring Kevin Durant. This trade would be massive, yet it is unlikely we see Durant traded any time soon. However, the Heat have made other moves over this off-season. While they have not been as active as Heat fans may hope, they re-signed some core players and drafted Nikola Jovic. Jovic is a very interesting prospect; at only 19, Jovic was incredible overseas.

Standing at 6’ 10” with guard skills, he can become a star with the developmental skills of the Miami Heat. He is also a winner of the ABA League Top Prospect, an award given to fellow Adriatic League players like Dario Saric and Nikola Jokic. Victor Oladipo, Dwayne Dedmond and Caleb Martin were all signed to reasonable deals. The biggest loss of the offseason was losing PJ Tucker in free agency to the Philadelphia 76ers. A conference rival taking away one of your best defensive players is never going to sit right. The Heat have not made any moves to make themselves better from last year and barring any Durant news, other teams in the East are making a case for that first seed.

Grade: D

Atlanta Hawks- The Atlanta Hawks made a splash move in free agency by acquiring Dejounte Murray to pair with Trae Young. The Hawks traded Gallinari, 3 first rounders and a pick swap. This move creates one of the best backcourts in the NBA. Murray may be placed in the ball dominant role, meaning Trae will need to make the adjustment to play off ball — much like Stephen Curry does for the Warriors.

The Hawks also selected AJ Griffin, a player that at one time was thought to be a top 10 selection. He has a prototypical NBA body but has struggled with injuries and finding his role when in college. The looming question in Atlanta is what they do with John Collins. A constant presence in trade rumors and with a massive contract, it may be difficult to trade Collins for the price they want for him. They lost Huerter in free agency also, a key player for the Hawks who appeared in 74 games last season. The move for Dejounte has made them more interesting, but the team is not talented enough to compete with the top of the East. A step in the right direction.

Grade: B+

Charlotte Hornets- The Hornets have been extremely quiet during this offseason. Muted in part due to the conversations surrounding Miles Bridges. Bridges was in contract discussions with the Hornets until he was charged with felony domestic violence. He is being accused of assaulting his girlfriend in front of their children. A horrible crime that has brought these conversations to a close. The Hornets selected Mark Williams in the NBA Draft.

The talented Duke Center had his stock shoot up after the combine. Measured at 7 feet without shoes, and the longest wingspan in the draft at over 7 and a half feet. He is agile enough for their quick offense and can develop very well in the pick and roll with LaMelo Ball. Cody Martin and Kelly Oubre were also re-signed for reasonable contracts. However, losing their second-best player, the Hornets will continue to fight for play in spots.

Grade: D-

Washington Wizards- Wizards offseason objective… Re-sign Bradley Beal. The Wizards got this done, giving Bradley Beal the second largest deal in NBA history. Over 250 million for the Wizards’ star. As opposed to going for a complete rebuild, the Wizards hold on to their asset instead of losing him for nothing. The Wizards also signed Monte Morris and Will Barton, both previously of the Denver Nuggets. This provides much added guard depth.

This depth is in addition to their 10th overall pick in the draft, Johnny Davis. Davis averaged 19.7 points this past season at Wisconsin and was selected to be part of their young core to develop around Beal. To those who look at Beal’s contract and do not see how he has attained that value are missing the big picture. The Wizards’ best player for nearly 10 years is not someone you can just let walk for free. Washington has also never been a free agent hotspot, so paying your stars extra to retain them is important. While the Wizards got slightly better on paper and kept their star player, they will still be battling for a play in spot.

Grade: B-

Orlando Magic- The Magic were very quietly re-signing their players for great deals and using their draft picks to build toward their future. With the first selection of the NBA Draft, the Magic selected Paolo Banchero from Duke University. He has shown the scoring and playmaking chops to become an elite scorer in the NBA and be the face of the Orlando Magic. Something the Magic have not had in a while, a true face of the franchise.

The Magic also selected Caleb Houston, a three and D player who showed his shooting prowess over summer league competition. He joins the Wagner brothers as fellow Wolverines on the team. The Magic were also able to re-sign Mo Bamba for two years, 21 million. Bamba was solid in a starting role and at only 24, his contract is very interesting as a trade asset, as well as good value for a young player. Gary Harris also re-signed with the Magic, a very good player to a team friendly contract. He may not be in the Magic’s future plans, but his value and price make him a great option in a future trade. The Magic picked up a potential superstar for their team, as well as reinvesting in their youth and not taking on any bad contracts.

Grade: A-

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