Now that the 2022-23 NBA regular season is over, we’re turning our attention to how each team should approach the offseason, including the draft and free agency. It starts with the 10 teams that had been jockeying for lottery position and the best opportunity to select Victor Wembanyama.
We’re breaking down the potential moves for each franchise, including a look at the state of each roster, finances, priorities for each front office, extension candidates to watch, team needs and future draft assets.
Teams will continue to be added as they are eliminated from the postseason.
R — restricted free agent; T — team option; P — player option
Note: The NBA draft lottery will determine the top four picks in the 2023 draft. Pick Nos. 5 to 14 will be determined by reverse order of finish of the remaining lottery teams. The listed picks below reflect the order of regular-season finish and could change based on the lottery results.
ELIMINATED IN PLAY-IN TOURNAMENT
2022-23 record: 40-42
Draft picks in June: Nos. 11/12, 37/38 (via WAS), 48/49/50 (via MIA)
Note: There is a tie with Chicago that will be broken after the play-in.
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 1.8%
Free agents: Dario Saric, Lindy Waters III (T), Jared Butler (R) and Olivier Sarr (R)
State of the roster: Before the start of training camp, general manager Sam Presti gave his viewpoint on the upcoming season.
“We just want long-term overall improvement,” he said. “That doesn’t mean every season is going to be the same way. There’s going to be a lag or where sometimes things go faster. Progress is dictated by where you start and where you finish.”
The Thunder started as the second-youngest team in NBA history and one that was projected to win no more than 27 games. They finished with 14 more wins than 2021-22 and saw significant growth within their roster. The offseason presents another opportunity for this team to take that next step internally. It starts with the draft, where the Thunder have another lottery pick. Oklahoma City showed an aggressiveness last June to package assets to improve the roster. The Thunder traded three protected first-round picks to New York for the 11th pick in the draft (the rights to Ousmane Dieng). The roster returns 14 players, including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, Josh Giddey, Luguentz Dort and last year’s No. 2 pick, Chet Holmgren, who missed the entire 2022-23 season with a foot injury. Out of the group of 14 players under contract, seven are on rookie first-round contracts, and no player outside of Gilgeous-Alexander is set to earn more than $20 million. As a result, Oklahoma City could enter the offseason with close to $30 million in cap space.
Offseason finances: The Thunder have two paths to choose from this offseason. The first is to play the cap space game. Including their first-round pick and $7.6 million in non-guaranteed salary (Isaiah Joe, Aaron Wiggins, Lindy Waters III and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl), the Thunder are projected to have $30.5 million in room. Oklahoma City also could choose the option to remain over the cap. Staying over would see the Thunder retain their four trade exceptions ($4.3 million, $4.2 million, $3.5 million and $943,000), along with their $12.3 million midlevel and $4.5 million biannual exception. The Thunder took the over-the-cap approach in 2021-22 despite having just $78.8 million in guaranteed salary ($33.5 million below the cap) before free agency began. The difference, however, is that Oklahoma City had two large trade exceptions of $12.1 million and $9.5 million to take up the cap space.
Top front-office priority: Patience. Like any young team that tastes success, the question always turns to what is next. The answer in Oklahoma City is to stick with the principles that have led to building a sustainable roster. The Thunder could have around $30 million in cap space, and there is always the temptation to add outside of their own players. They also have a treasure chest of draft assets and young players to target an All-Star who might be made available. However, the timeline is different from 2017 when they acquired All-Star Paul George in a blockbuster trade. The Thunder are still very much in the middle stages of development and analyzing their own roster. Until there is a more body of work to see who fits, Oklahoma City should be in a holding pattern..
Extension candidate to watch: The Thunder have three players — Saric, Aleksej Pokusevski and Robinson-Earl — eligible to sign an extension. Before injuring his left leg in December, Pokusevski was averaging 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in 20.6 minutes.
Team needs: Besides another year of development and a healthy Holmgren, shooting is needed. The Thunder are at their best when Gilgeous-Alexander is driving to the basket. The guard is one of two players averaging five-plus assists opportunities on kickout passes leading to a 3. Despite Joe ranking in the top 10 in catch-and-shoot 3s, Oklahoma City still managed to shoot only 36%.
Future draft assets: The Thunder have 27 future draft picks at their disposal — 14 firsts and 13 seconds.
Below is the first-round breakdown:
All six of their own
Two unprotected from LA Clippers (2024 and 2026)
Two top-four protected from Houston (2024 and 2026)
Top-10 protected from Utah (2024, top-10 protected in 2025, top-eight in 2026)
Top-14 protected from Miami (2025, unprotected in 2026)
Top-six protected from Philadelphia (2025, top-four protected in 2026 and 2027)
Top-five protected from Denver (2027, 2028 and 2029)
Swap rights: Clippers (2023 and 2025)
Swap rights: Houston (2025, top-10 protected)
2022-23 record: 40-42
Draft picks in June: None
Note: The Bulls retain their first if it falls in the top four. There is a 93% chance the pick is conveyed to Orlando.
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 1.7%
Free agents: Nikola Vucevic, Ayo Dosunmu (R), Andre Drummond (P), Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr. (P), Coby White (R), Patrick Beverley and Terry Taylor (R)
State of the roster: Despite losing in the play-in this year and first round last year, Chicago’s outlook is not doom and gloom. The Bulls went 14-9 after the All-Star break, ranking first in defensive efficiency (it finished fifth for the entire season). After Beverley joined the team, the Bulls outscored opponents by 69 points when Beverley, Alex Caruso, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Vucevic shared the floor. Was the 23-game sample enough to keep this roster intact? And if not, should Chicago pivot away from its core players, Vucevic, LaVine and DeRozan? LaVine has four years and $178 million remaining on his contract, and DeRozan is a free agent in 2024. Vucevic is part of a group of eight free agents that includes guards Beverley, White and Dosunmu.
Offseason finances: Vucevic’s $33 million free agent hold has the Bulls over the $134 million cap despite only $118 million in guaranteed contracts. If Vucevic does not return, the Bulls will likely be over the cap because of their other committed free agent holds (White and Dosunmu) and exceptions. The Bulls could create cap flexibility but only if their own free agents are not retained and they petition the NBA for salary relief on the remaining $43 million owed to Lonzo Ball. The NBA would then have to determine if Ball’s knee injury is career ending.
Top front-office priority: The first priority is for the front office and coaching staff to analyze their close games and come up with a plan moving forward. The Bulls were 15-23 in clutch-time games (25-16 last season) and 7-14 in games decided by five points or fewer. LaVine shot 6-33 (18.2%) on 3-pointers in clutch time. That ranked last among 29 players with at least 25 3-point attempts in the final five minutes and the score within five points. The second priority will be Vucevic’s free agency. Vucevic, one of the more durable centers, turns 33 in October. He has played three straight seasons of 70-plus games, including 82 this year. His 225 games played ranks eighth among all centers. Vucevic had a career-high 57.6% effective field goal percentage and averaged at least 10 rebounds for a fifth straight season. If Vucevic leaves in free agency, the Bulls’ lone resource to replace him would be the midlevel exception. Backup center Andre Drummond has until June 29 to opt in to his $3.4 million contract.
Extension candidate to watch: If the Bulls are all-in with the current roster, then DeRozan becomes a priority for an extension. DeRozan has averaged at least 20 points per game in each of the past 10 seasons. He is eligible to sign up to a four-year, $179 million extension. Patrick Williams is eligible to sign up to a five-year extension. After missing 65 games last season because of a wrist injury, Williams played in all 82 games this year. He averaged a career-high 10.2 points and shot greater than 46.5% from the field for a third consecutive season.
Other extension candidates: Marko Simonovic (as of July 12), Lonzo Ball (as of July 8) and Alex Caruso (as of July 8)
Team needs: Point guard and 3-point shooting. Chicago has the right to match offer sheets with Dosunmu and White, while a portion of its midlevel exception is available to sign Beverley. Chicago ranked last in 3-point attempts this season, the only team to average below 30 per game.
Future draft assets: If the Bulls send Orlando their first this year, they will then send San Antonio a 2025 top-10 protected first. The pick is top-eight protected in 2026, 2027 and 2028 if not conveyed in any of the prior seasons. In the scenario that Chicago retains its first, the Bulls will send Orlando a 2024 top-three protected first. It will turn into second-round picks in 2026 and 2027 if not conveyed. Chicago would then send a 2026 top-10, 2027 top-eight or 2028 top-eight protected first to the Spurs. The Bulls have a 2024 top-14 protected first from the Blazers. The pick is lottery protected until 2028. The earliest Chicago can trade its own first is two years after the conditions to the Spurs have been met. The Bulls can trade the pick owed from Portland at any time. Their lone second-round pick available to trade is in 2029.
2022-23 record: 42-40
Draft picks in June: No. 14
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 2.4%
Free agents: Herbert Jones (T), Naji Marshall (T), Willy Hernangomez (T), Josh Richardson and Jaxson Hayes (R)
State of the roster: What we learned over the past season is that there are two different teams in New Orleans. There is the team that is a legitimate threat to come out of the Western Conference when Zion Williamson is on the floor. Before Williamson injured his hamstring on Jan. 2, New Orleans ranked No. 8 in offensive efficiency and was 10 games over .500. Then there was the play-in team when Williamson was injured. With Williamson not on the court, New Orleans went 19-27 and ranked No. 26 in offensive efficiency. While the health of Williamson casts a negative light, there are positives moving forward. New Orleans once again will have a lottery pick to keep or use in a trade. Its roster is top-heavy, with 66% of salary committed to Williamson, CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram, but the front office has a strong track record of drafting and finding undrafted free agents. Over the past two offseasons, the Pelicans have acquired Trey Murphy III, Herbert Jones, Jose Alvarado and Naji Marshall. The four players will earn a combined $9 million next season.
Offseason finances: Year One of Williamson’s $194 million extension has New Orleans $1.3 million above the luxury tax when including its lottery pick. To get under the tax, the Pelicans have the option of waiving Garrett Temple and signing a minimum free agent as a replacement. Temple’s $5.4 million contract does not become guaranteed until June 30. The Pelicans also have until June 29 to decide on the team options of Jones, Marshall, Willy Hernangomez.
Top front-office priority: Continued buy-in from ownership. New Orleans is facing the luxury tax for the first time in franchise history, and it would be easy for ownership to cut costs on a roster that hasn’t finished better than ninth in the Williamson era. However, while their core players of Ingram, McCollum and Williamson have played just 10 games together and shared the floor only 172 minutes, New Orleans outscored their opponents by 60 points in those minutes.
Extension candidate to watch: Half the roster is extension eligible, but the focus is on Jones, who is eligible to sign a four-year, $71 million extension starting on July 16. A former second-round pick, Jones has started 94% of the games he has played since last season, averaging 9.7 points and 3.9 rebounds. Jones ranked in the top 10 in deflections and charges drawn. Per Cleaning the Glass, the former second-rounder ranked in the 98th percentile at his position in steals. The Pelicans were plus-9.6 when he was on the court. He would become a restricted free agent if a new contract is not reached before June 30, 2024.
Other extension candidates: Kira Lewis Jr. (rookie), Marshall through June 30 and next season (if team option is exercised), Temple (as of July 8), Hernangomez (as of July 16), Jonas Valanciunas (as of Oct. 20) and Ingram (as of July 14)
Team needs: Rim protector and shooting. Per Second Spectrum, the Pelicans ranked last in field goal percentage allowed at the rim this season. They ranked second to last in the prior two seasons. There has to be a priority to generate offense from deep. The Pelicans ranked 29th in 3-point attempts this season and 24th in percentage of points from 3-pointers.
Draft assets: The Pelicans have their first in the next six years. They have one second-round pick available to trade. Below is the breakdown of first-round picks acquired in multiple trades.
Unprotected from Lakers (2024 but can defer to 2025)
Unprotected from Milwaukee (2027)
Swap rights: Milwaukee (2024 and 2026)
*Note: The Pelicans also have the Bucks’ 2025 first-round pick, but only if it lands in the top four, otherwise it goes to New York.
2022-23 record: 41-41
Draft picks in June: No. 13
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 1.0%
Free agents: Fred VanVleet (P), Gary Trent Jr. (P), Jakob Poeltl, Otto Porter Jr. (P), Will Barton, Jeff Dowtin Jr. (R), Ron Harper Jr. (R) and Dalano Banton (R)
State of the roster: Time is up for the Raptors. Unlike the trade deadline, when Toronto kept the current roster intact (it did add Jakob Poeltl), there are now decisions to be made. It starts with the future of Nick Nurse. The Raptors coach told Tim Bontemps in late March that he will “take a few weeks to see where I’m at” when the season ends. Nurse has one year left, and Toronto is faced with the decision to extend a new contract, let him enter 2023-24 as a lame duck coach or go in a different direction. The future of Nurse will determine what direction the front office takes with the roster. There are contractual decisions with their top six players, outside of Scottie Barnes. Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. have player options and are likely to become free agents in July. They will join Poeltl, who is an unrestricted free agent. Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby are extension eligible and can become free agents in 2024. If Toronto keeps all five players then extends Barnes next offseason, total salaries could exceed $170 million in 2025-26. The lineup of VanVleet, Barnes, Anunoby, Siakam and Poeltl averaged 18.8 minutes together and outscored opponents by 63 points.
Offseason finances: Including the player options of VanVleet, Trent, Otto Porter Jr. and their first-round pick, the Raptors enter the offseason with $150 million committed next year, some $12 million below the tax threshold. VanVleet has until June 15 to opt in to his contract, Porter has until June 20 and Trent has until June 29. If those three players and Poeltl return, Toronto will likely be a tax team in 2023-24. The Raptors do have flexibility with the non-guaranteed contracts of Thaddeus Young ($8 million) and Joe Wieskamp ($1.9 million). Both contracts become guaranteed on June 30. If VanVleet and Trent do not return, the Raptors are still technically at the cap because of the $17.8 million free agent hold of Poeltl.
Top front-office priority: Besides clarity at head coach, it starts with VanVleet. The former All-Star tabled discussions this year on a four-year, $114 million extension that would have paid him a $25.5 million salary in 2023-24. The extension is $10 million less than what Jalen Brunson signed for in New York last season. VanVleet has averaged the second-most minutes in the league over the past three seasons (only behind Siakam) and leads the NBA in miles covered per game over three seasons, per Second Spectrum. Considering that Toronto sent a lightly protected 2024 first-round pick to acquire him, Poeltl is a priority this offseason. His next contract should range from $15 million per season (Jusuf Nurkic) to as high as $20 million (Jarrett Allen).
Extension candidate to watch: The change in extension rules gives Toronto an extra $16 million it can offer Anunoby in a deal. A four-year, $116 million contract would start at $26.1 million and replace his $19.2 million player option in 2024-25. Anunoby averaged 17.3 points on 54.1% from the field and 44.2% on 3s after the All-Star break. Siakam is eligible to sign a four-year, $189.1 million max extension in July. If he earns All-NBA honors this season, he would then become supermax eligible. The extension would increase to five years and an extra $100 million.
Other extension candidates: Poeltl (through June 30), VanVleet (if player option is exercised), Trent (if player option is exercised), Precious Achiuwa (rookie) and Malachi Flynn (rookie)
Team needs: Shooting and the bench. The Raptors ranked 28th in 3-point percentage this season; Trent and Anunoby were the only players to shoot better than 37%. The Toronto bench ranked last in minutes and points per game.
Draft assets: The Raptors will send San Antonio a top-six protected first in 2024, 2025 or 2026. They are allowed to trade their 2023 first starting the night of the draft. The earliest future first they can trade is two years after the conditions to San Antonio have been met. They have two second-round picks available to trade.
ELIMINATED AFTER REGULAR SEASON
2022-23 record: 27-55
Draft picks in June: Nos. 4, 27 (via DEN), 34, 39 (via UTA), 42/43 (via OKC)
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 12.5%
Free agents: Miles Bridges (R), P.J. Washington (R), Svi Mykhailiuk, Kelly Oubre Jr., Dennis Smith Jr., Theo Maledon (R) and Xavier Sneed (R)
State of the roster: After losing back-to-back play-in games by an average of 28 points, the Hornets ripped off the bandage of mediocrity, though not intentionally. Their second-best player, restricted free agent Miles Bridges, was arrested in late June on felony domestic violence charges (he pled no contest in November and was sentenced to three years of probation). All-Star LaMelo Ball played a career-low 36 games and saw his season end early because of a broken right foot. The roster missed the sixth-most games because of injury (per Spotrac), culminating in the worst winning percentage in franchise history since the then-Bobcats went 7-59 in 2011-12. The roster improvement starts with the June draft, where Charlotte has five selections (including a 12.5% chance to get the No. 1 pick). They’ll also need clarity with their free agents, particularly Bridges and P.J. Washington. A question entering the offseason also revolves around who is in charge. As Adrian Wojnarowski reported, Charlotte owner Michael Jordan is in talks to sell a majority stake in the franchise. A change in ownership and also philosophy could alter the offseason budget.
Offseason finances: The Hornets have $91 million in guaranteed contracts entering the offseason, but because of the free agent holds for Bridges, Washington and their two first-round picks, they are over the cap. In the event that Bridges does not return, Charlotte could have up to $18 million in room. The last time the Hornets used cap space was in 2021 when they signed Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $120 million contract. Since taking over in 2018, the only free agents with NBA experience whom general manager Mitch Kupchak has signed are Hayward and Dennis Smith Jr. If Bridges and Washington do return, Charlotte likely has the flexibility to remain below the luxury tax and have access to the midlevel and biannual exceptions.
Top front-office priority: A change in ownership could dictate the futures of restricted free agents Bridges and Washington. Despite not playing this season, Bridges is still a restricted free agent if the Hornets tender him a $7.7 million qualifying offer before June 29. The forward was suspended for 30 games (20 of those games were credited as time served for missing the 2022-23 season) and will have to sit out the start of the season if he re-signs. Bridges averaged 21.2 points on 52% shooting and 40% from 3 after the All-Star break in 2021-22, and nobody is questioning his talent on the court. However, he has not played in a full season and pleaded no contest to felony domestic violence, which raises the question of whether a lucrative contract is deserved. Washington was the most durable player on the roster this season, missing only four games because of a foot injury in February. He averaged career highs in points (15.7) and minutes (32.7).
Extension candidate to watch: Ball is eligible for a five-year, $204 million rookie max extension but has played only 162 games in three seasons. If the conversation is focused on the impact Ball has on the court during the regular season while also taking into account his upside, he is worth it. He averaged a career-high 23.3 points and 8.4 assists per game this season. The Hornets were 13-23 with Ball on the court this season and 14-32 with him inactive. However, Ball has played in zero playoff games — neither had Zion Williamson before signing his max extension — was ineffective in Charlotte’s two play-in losses and has proved to be less than durable. Speaking of Williamson, Charlotte could take the same approach as New Orleans did and include a games-played clause that reduces the guaranteed amount and protects the organization.
Other extension candidates: Hayward and JT Thor
Team needs: Besides health, the bench is a priority. The Hornets reserves averaged 29.4 points, fourth fewest in the NBA, and ranked last in 3-point field percentage.
Future draft assets: The Hornets will send San Antonio their own top-14 protected first in 2024 (it conveys in 2025 if not sent). They also have only four future second-round picks available.
2022-23 record: 38-44
Draft picks in June: No. 10
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 3%
Note: There is a 19% chance that the pick drops to No. 11 and 1.2% to No. 12 after the lottery. If that occurs, Dallas will send its first-round pick to New York.
Free agents: Kyrie Irving, Christian Wood, Frank Ntilikina, Markieff Morris, Justin Holiday, Theo Pinson, Dwight Powell and McKinley Wright IV (R)
State of the roster: Dallas went from conference finalist to counting ping-pong balls. Including All-Star Luka Doncic, Dallas has eight players under contract, and the focus will be on what to do with their own free agents, starting with Irving. The goal for the Mavericks is to fix a defense that ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency before the Irving trade and 26th after. However, the Mavericks have few options to improve the roster. They have their own first-round pick but only if it falls in the top-10 (the pick is conveyed to New York if it does not). Retaining the pick would give Dallas a young player to develop or to use in a trade (Dallas can trade the player it drafts once the pick is made).
Offseason finances: If Irving returns, the Mavericks will be over the salary cap and will have only veteran minimums and the midlevel exception available. They could explore trades with their own players under contract (Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, Davis Bertans). However, if the draft conditions to New York are not met, the earliest Dallas can trade a first is in 2027. They also have no second-round picks available. The Mavericks could create between $20 million and $30 million in cap space, but that would come at the expense of Irving, Wood, Powell and likely Reggie Bullock, whose $10.5 million contract becomes guaranteed June 28. There is also the sign-and-trade option with their own free agents that Dallas could also explore. The Mavericks would not be hard-capped in a sign-and-trade deal because they would be acquiring players (but not free agents) in a deal.
Top front-office priority: Irving is eligible to sign a five-year, $272 million contract, and while there is no doubt that he is a max player, there should be some concern over the length of a new deal. Irving has played fewer than 65 games in four straight seasons and considering that Doncic could become a free agent in 2026, the Mavericks should not commit more than three seasons. There is also the question on who Dallas is bidding against. The Lakers are likely not to have cap space and the teams that do — Indiana, San Antonio, Houston, Orlando — either have their point guard of the future or are in the middle stages of rebuilding. Irving could take less money elsewhere or a team that is currently over the cap could create flexibility. That would lead to a big decision for Dallas: Can the Mavericks afford to lose Jalen Brunson and Irving in consecutive offseasons for nothing?
Extension candidate to watch: Josh Green could join Doncic as the only Mavericks to receive a rookie extension since 2008. When he has played at least 15 minutes, Green averaged 9.4 points on 53% shooting and 40% on 3s. Dallas also has until June 30 to extend Christian Wood. The trio of Wood, Doncic and Irving have struggled this season. In 14 games and 45 minutes together, the Mavericks have a minus-38.2 net efficiency when all 3 are on the floor (99.0 offensive efficiency and 137.2 defensive efficiency).
Other extension candidates: Irving (thru June 30), Powell (thru June 30), Bullock, Bertans and Hardaway (as of July 9)
Team needs: It is all about fixing their interior defense. Since Feb. 11, the Mavericks rank 29th in field goal percentage allowed on layups and dunks and 28th in shot quality on these field goal attempts. Per Second Spectrum tracking, Dallas has been blown-by on 27.5% of drives defended since Feb. 11, the fifth-highest rate allowed.
Future draft assets: If the Mavericks retain their own 2023 first-round pick, they will then send New York a top-10-protected first in 2024 or 2025. If the first is not conveyed in either season, Dallas will send New York a 2025 second-round pick. Dallas also owes Brooklyn a 2029 unprotected first. The only first they can trade is in 2027. They have no second-round picks available to trade.
2022-23 record: 17-65
Draft picks in June: Nos. 1, 31
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 14%
Free agents: Alec Burks (T), Hamidou Diallo, Cory Joseph, Isaiah Livers (T), Rodney McGruder, Eugene Omoruyi (T), Buddy Boeheim (R) and Jared Rhoden
State of the roster: The Pistons have won 20, 23 and 17 games in the past three seasons. This season’s low win total — the second lowest in franchise history — came in part because 2021 No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham played only 12 games. As a result, Detroit was forced to use 29 different starting lineups and focused on developing its young players, primarily 2022 lottery picks Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren. As general manager Troy Weaver stated last season, the goal is to build a sustainable roster.
“I’m sure everyone would like us to fast-track it, but you only have one shot at this thing,” he said. “We’ll continue to follow the blueprint and we feel very confident we’ll come out on the other side of this thing the right way.”
The offseason starts with a search for the next head who continues to emphasize player development but also builds a culture of winning. Detroit once again has cap flexibility and will likely add a top-four pick to a roster that already includes Cunningham, Ivey, Duren, James Wiseman and Isaiah Stewart. Veterans Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks are coming off career seasons as well, and Detroit could elect to keep them or move them in a trade.
Offseason finances: The Pistons enter the offseason with a minimum of $30 million (including their lottery pick) in cap space. The near-max slot could increase to $40 million in the unlikely scenario they decline Burks’ $10.5 million team option. How Detroit maximizes its spending power is dependent on which playbook from the past three offseasons Weaver follows. In his first season, Detroit signed starters Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee to lucrative contracts. In 2021, the Pistons broke up their space to sign role players Trey Lyles, Kelly Olynyk, Hamidou Diallo, Frank Jackson and Cory Joseph. This past July, the Pistons used $20 million of their flexibility to acquire the contracts of Burks, Nerlens Noel and two second-round picks from New York.
Top front-office priority: Besides the coaching search, the night of the draft lottery should set in motion how the Pistons construct their roster this offseason. Would the overload of bigs (Stewart, Marvin Bagley III and perhaps Wiseman) become expendable if Detroit gets the No. 1 pick? What might happen to former lottery pick Killian Hayes (Scoot Henderson) or even Bogdanovic (Brandon Miller and Amen Thompson)? That leads to the next question: Is this roster good enough to compete for a play-in spot with a healthy Cunningham, another year of development and a lottery pick? And if not, is Detroit open for business in free agency or the trade market?
Extension candidate to watch: There were valid questions when the Pistons acquired Wiseman from the Warriors. Why would Detroit swap a young wing in Saddiq Bey for a center in Wiseman, especially with Duren, Stewart and Bagley on the roster? Wiseman also had durability concerns, having played just 63 games since 2019. But the two-month audition has paid off, at least in the short term. Wiseman has eight double-doubles, averaging a career high 12.8 points and 7.9 rebounds. But does this small sample warrant a new contract? Unlikely, unless Detroit and Wiseman agree to a team-friendly contract that is incentivized with games played.
Other extension candidates: Hayes, Stewart, Livers and Burks
Team needs: Let’s start with a healthy Cunningham. The point guard is an impact player when he’s on the court. In the second half of his rookie season, Cunningham became the sixth rookie since 1976-77 to average 21.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists.
Future draft assets: The Pistons owe New York a first that has protection in the next four years (top-18 in 2024, top-13 in 2025, top-11 in 2026 and top-nine in 2027). The Pistons have seven future second-round picks available.
2022-23 record: 22-60
Draft picks in June: Nos. 2/3, 18/19/20 (via LAC)
Note: The ties for the first-round picks will be broken after the play-in tournament.
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 14%
Free agents: Kenyon Martin Jr. (T), D.J. Augustin, Boban Marjanovic, Darius Days (R), Trevor Hudgins, Willie Cauley-Stein and Frank Kaminsky
State of the roster: The third-youngest roster in the NBA is at the crossroads of a rebuild that started in 2021. Yes, the Rockets have a 14% chance of drafting Victor Wembanyama. And yes, Houston could create close to $60 million in cap space to bring in free agents. But the reality is that since trading James Harden to Brooklyn, the Rockets have finished with 14, 20 and 21 wins in the past three seasons. The question facing the Rockets’ front office is whether there is a middle ground to improve the roster in free agency (or also in trades) while retaining future flexibility and not compromising the development of their young core? The answer to that question starts with the search for the next head coach. Including the two first-round picks in June, the Rockets have 13 players under contract, so Houston might need to start taking a quality-over-quantity approach.
Offseason finances: Houston enters the offseason with the most cap space, close to $60 million. The projected room includes Martin’s $1.9 million team option and Daishen Nix‘s $1.8 million non-guaranteed contract. The deadline to make a decision on both players is June 29. The Rockets have seven players on first-round contracts, and only Kevin Porter Jr. ($15.7M) has a salary higher than $10 million in 2023-24.
Top front-office priority: Addressing the backcourt. The root of the Rockets stagnated development starts with the pairing of Porter and Jalen Green. In the 1,700 minutes the two have played together, Houston has been outscored by 7.5 points per 100 possessions. The Rockets have a 110.9 offensive rating when both players are on the court, slightly above the team’s overall offensive efficiency, which ranks 27th. Porter is set to enter the first year of a four-year, $73 million extension signed in October, but only the first year of the contract is guaranteed.
Extension candidate to watch: Martin has outplayed the four-year, $6.1 million contract that he signed in 2020. The 2020 second-round pick averaged a career high 12.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in 27.4 minutes while not missing a game this season. He is currently eligible to sign a four-year, $58 million extension through June 30, but that would cut significantly into Houston’s cap space this summer. The Rockets could also decline the $1.9 million team option, allowing Martin to become a restricted free agent. After having the option declined, Martin would have a $5.2 million cap hold, and Houston could use its cap space in free agency before circling back to sign the forward. Houston could also pick up the option, which would make Martin an unrestricted free agent in 2024. Both sides would have until next June to negotiate an extension.
Team needs: A playmaker and veteran bench depth. The Rockets ranked last in points allowed off turnovers for a second consecutive season. The carelessness with the basketball resulted in a league high 17.2 fast-break points allowed. Per Second Spectrum, Houston also ranked last in points per possession allowed in transition and points per possession following a live ball turnover.
Future draft assets: Houston has two unprotected firsts from Brooklyn in 2024 and 2026, and the right to swap firsts with the Nets in 2025 and 2027. Houston also has eight future second-round picks available. However, Houston still owes picks to Oklahoma City because of the ill-fated Russell Westbrook trade. The Rockets will send Oklahoma City top-four-protected first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 (those become second-round picks if they do not convey). The Thunder also have swap rights with the Rockets (top-10 protected) in 2025.
2022-23 record: 35-47
Draft picks in June: Nos. 7/8, 25/26 (via CLE), 29 (via BOS), 32/33 (via HOU), 55/56 (via CLE)
Note: The ties for the first-round picks and Houston’s second-round pick will be broken after the play-in tournament.
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 6.8%
Free agents: Oshae Brissett, George Hill, James Johnson, Kendall Brown(R) and Gabe York(R)
State of the roster: Do not let 35 wins and missing the playoffs for a third consecutive season fool you. The future in Indiana is stable. The Pacers check the boxes on how to retool a roster without bottoming out in the standings. Let’s start with the draft, where the Pacers have four selections in the top 32 and have a 6.8% chance of landing the number one pick for the first time in franchise history. The deepest roster in the NBA (Indiana led the league in bench scoring with 43.8 PPG) returns 12 players including All-Star Tyrese Haliburton, who became the first player in NBA history to average 20 points and 10 assists and shoot 40% on 3-pointers in a single season. Haliburton’s impact is best defined by the stretch of games he missed after he was injured on Jan. 11. Before his left knee injury, Indiana was five games over .500 and ranked 14th in offensive efficiency. In the 11 games he missed, Indiana was 1-10 and ranked 27th in efficiency. Last year’s lottery pick, Bennedict Mathurin, finished the season averaging 16.7 points and became the first rookie to score 1,000 points off the bench since Ben Gordon in 2004-05. The Pacers have a clean cap ledger with Myles Turner and Buddy Hield as the only two players earning more than $19 million. Turner finished 5th in blocks and Hield ninth in 3-point percentage. The two have value on the court and in potential trades. And then there is the Pacers depth.
Offseason finances: Even after renegotiating and extending Turner’s contract, the Pacers project to have $25 million in cap space.
Top front-office priority: The direction Indiana takes with their four picks in June is priority one. Do the Pacers take a quality over quantity approach with their two late firsts and look to move up? The next priority will be balancing the roster. Although rosters can expand to 20 in the offseason, the Pacers will have 15 players (the regular-season limit) under contract if they keep all three firsts. Twelve out of the 15 players on the roster have been acquired either in the draft or trade and the Pacers do not have a history of spending in free agency. And finally, can Mathurin develop into a reliable No. 2 next to Haliburton? Mathurin will be entering his second season and started only 10 games as a rookie. Since the beginning of February, Mathurin has averaged 12.7 points on 45% shooting, including 29% on 3-pointers. That scoring average is down from 17.9 points from October to January. For the entire season, Mathurin shot 32.7% on jump shots, which ranks in the bottom-10 among 135 players to attempt 300 jumpers per Second Spectrum tracking. That percentage has been just 28.6% since Feb. 1.
Extension candidate to watch: Haliburton is likely to join an elite company this offseason. Not since 2013, when Indiana signed Paul George, has a Pacer player signed a Designated Rookie Veteran extension. Haliburton is eligible to sign a five-year, $204 million contract, the largest in franchise history. The lone negotiation should be if there is All-NBA language and a player option. If Haliburton earned All-NBA in the 2023-24 season, the contract would increase from $204 to $245 million. Since the 2021 offseason, seven players have signed rookie max extensions with two players, Luka Doncic and Trae Young, having a player option. All seven players also had a variation of All-NBA escalator language in their contracts.
Other extension candidates: Aaron Nesmith (rookie), McConnell, Hield and Daniel Theis
Team needs: The power forward spot this season has been by committee. The Pacers have started seven different players this season, tied for the most in the NBA. The committee of seven ranked 24th in points (11.2) and 28th in field-goal percentage (43%).
Future draft assets: The Pacers are one of a handful of teams that control their own firsts in the next seven years. They have six second-round picks in the future.
2022-23 record: 34-48
Draft picks in June: Nos. 6, 11/12 (via CHI), 36
Note: The Magic will receive the Bulls’ first-round pick if it falls outside of the top four. There is a tie with Oklahoma City that will be determined after the play-in.
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 9%
Free agents: Moritz Wagner, Goga Bitadze (T), Michael Carter-Williams (T) and Admiral Schofield (T)
State of the roster: No Eastern Conference lottery team is set up better for the future than Orlando. The Magic improved their win total from 22 to 34 and have the roster resources to take another jump starting with the draft. For a second time in three years, Orlando has two lottery picks (the Bulls retain their first if it jumps into the top four) and have a 9% chance of selecting first. The NBA’s second-youngest roster — led by likely Rookie of the Year winner Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr. — has a sustainable foundation in place. Banchero averaged 20.0 points this season, the most by a rookie since Luka Doncic in 2018-19. He and Wagner are the third pair of teammates 21 or younger to average 18 points in a season. Carter averaged a career high 15.2 points and posted his fourth straight season of at least 8 rebounds per game. The Magic also have roster flexibility with 14 players under contract but only seven on guaranteed deals.
Offseason finances: The Magic once again have the option to be a cap space team or act as a team over. They have $60 million in guaranteed contracts and can spend in free agency or bring back a majority of the roster plus two potential lottery picks. To create up to $30 million in cap space, Orlando could release Gary Harris, Goga Bitadze, Michael-Carter Williams and Admiral Schofield. Harris’ $13 million contract becomes guaranteed on June 30. Bitadze, Carter-Williams and Schofield all have a June 29 team option. The cap space option does not require Orlando to waive the partially guaranteed contracts of Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac. Fultz’s contract and Bol Bol‘s become guaranteed on June 30. Isaac’s $17.4 million contract is partially protected for $7.6 million.
Top front-office priority: The draft is priority one, and there will be more clarity the night of the lottery on whether the Magic have one or two firsts, or are they selecting first for a second consecutive season. The second priority is determining if Orlando will use free agency to upgrade the shooting guard position or take a conservative approach, retaining future flexibility. Banchero, Carter, Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner are the only players on guaranteed contracts in 2024-25. Last offseason the Magic had the option to create room but elected to retain their own free agents, Harris, Bol Bol and Mo Bamba. The last time Orlando had cap space was in 2017, the first year under president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman.
Extension candidate to watch: Fultz and Cole Anthony. The question is how much the Magic value cap flexibility in the 2024 offseason. Fultz has not missed a game since Nov. 30 and averaged career highs in points, assists and field goal percentage. Anthony averaged 16 points and shot 40% on 3-pointers after March 1. Other extension candidates: Jonathan Isaac (as of 9/30) and Chuma Okeke (rookie).
Team needs: Wing depth and another year of Banchero’s development. Gary Harris shot 43.1% from 3 this season and has value not only on the court but in the locker room. However, Harris is on an expiring contract, and the Magic’s depth consists of Caleb Houstan, Kevon Harris and Admiral Schofield. Since the beginning of February, Banchero shot 19.4% on 3-pointers, the second worst among players with at least 50 attempts.
Future draft assets: The Magic have their own first in the next seven years. If the 2023 first from Chicago is not conveyed, Orlando would then receive a 2024 top-three protected first. They also have a top-five protected first in 2025 or 2026 from Denver. Orlando has 12 future seconds available.
2022-23 record: 33-49
Draft picks in June: Nos. 5, 23 (via NY), 43/44 (via ATL)
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 10.5%
Free agents: Jerami Grant, Matisse Thybulle (R), Cam Reddish (R), Kevin Knox II (T), Drew Eubanks, Justise Winslow, Ibou Badji (R), John Butler Jr. (R), Justin Minaya and Skylar Mays
State of the roster: Let’s start with the positives. Portland saw its win total from a year ago increase from 27 to 33. Damian Lillard continues to play at an All-NBA level. Lillard’s backcourt partner Anfernee Simons averaged a career high 21 points. Jerami Grant was one of eight players to average at least 20 points and shoot 40% on 3-pointers before the All-Star break. Nineteen-year-old Shaedon Sharpe has the upside to be a cornerstone player. In the final ten games of the season, Sharpe averaged 22.9 points. The Trail Blazers have two first-round picks in June, including a 7.5% chance of selecting No. 1.
Now for the concerns.
After starting the campaign 10-4, Portland finished the season 23-45. The 33 wins were Portland’s second fewest in the Lillard era. The Blazers’ defense continues to rank in the bottom five. Portland already has $86 million committed to Lillard, Simons and Jusuf Nurkic next season. The Trail Blazers means of adding to the roster consists of re-signing their own free agents and their three draft picks. Landing the top pick in the draft would drastically change their outlook and open up more flexibility on how the Blazers can improve. The hard question the Trail Blazers front office now has to ask is if the current roster fits the timeline of Damian Lillard? And if not, does a player like Simons or even Sharpe become expandable? Last offseason the Trail Blazers were willing to acquire a veteran in Grant, but at the cost of a future first, not a player.
Offseason finances: $43 million. That is number Portland will have an eye on this offseason if the Blazers wish to stay below the luxury tax and still re-sign Grant, Reddish and Thybulle. Portland has $121.6 million in salary committed, including the $6.5 million for Knox, Jabari Walker and Trendon Watford and the two first-round picks. The Trail Blazers have until June 29 to exercise the $3 million team option on Knox and June 30 to guarantee Watford’s $1.8 million contract. As of now, $400K of Walker’s $1.7 million contract is guaranteed, and that increases to a full guarantee if he is not waived by July 20.
Top front-office priority: It starts with the defense. How does Portland expect to compete for a top-six playoff spot and even a championship if it continues to rank in the bottom defensively? Portland has ranked in the bottom-five in defensive efficiency in each of the past four seasons. The Blazers ranked last after the trade deadline even after the addition of Thybulle, a two-time all-defensive team selection.
Extension candidate to watch: June 30 is the last day Grant can sign a four-year, $113 million extension before becoming a free agent. Grant averaged 18.8 points on 38% shooting from 3 after the All-Star break. He has seen his percentage drop significantly from 62% on layups and dunks prior to All-Star break to 49% in the past two months per Second Spectrum. The first year of Grant’s extension would be $25 million, and there are six teams projected to have more cap space than that this summer. Portland would not have any cap space even if it loses Grant.
Team needs: Besides improvements defensively, a prime focus is addressing the bench. The Trail Blazers ranked last in points per game from their reserves this season. A big reason is the heavy burden on their starting lineup. The bench played the second-fewest minutes per game this season, ahead of only the Toronto Raptors.
Future draft assets: Because they failed to make the playoffs, Portland will continue to owe Chicago a top-14 protected first starting in 2024. The pick is lottery protected in the next three seasons (2025, 2026, 2027) if not conveyed in any prior year. The Trail Blazers are allowed to trade their 2023 lottery pick the night of the draft. There are no restrictions when the first they are owed from New York can be traded. Portland has four future seconds available.
2022-23 record: 22-60
Draft picks in June: Nos. 2/3, 32/33, 43/44 (via TOR)
Note: There is a tie with Houston that will be broken after the play-in.
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 14%
Free agents: Tre Jones (R), Keita Bates-Diop, Romeo Langford (R), Sandro Mamukelashvili (R), Gorgui Dieng, Dominick Barlow (R) and Julian Champagnie (R)
State of the roster: The Spurs finished with 22 wins, which is not a sign of stability. However, the retooling of the roster that started when DeMar DeRozan was moved to Chicago and continued with Dejounte Murray being traded to Atlanta has laid the groundwork of a foundation. The Spurs have a core of young players led by Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan and Malaki Branham. Johnson averaged career-highs across the board, including 22 points per game (26.1 PPG after Christmas). He also recorded seven 30-point games this season after having three in his first three NBA seasons. More importantly, San Antonio has 31 draft picks (12 firsts and 19 seconds) in the next seven years, including a 14% chance of selecting first this season. The last time the Spurs selected No. 1? It was 1997, when Hall of Famer Tim Duncan was picked.
Offseason finances: The Spurs once again have cap space. If their free-agent holds are wiped clean — except for restricted free agent Tre Jones — San Antonio projects to have $35 million. Their flexibility increases to $41 million if Zach Collins, who has a non-guaranteed $7.7 million contract is waived before June 23, when his deal becomes fully guaranteed. Collins averaged a career-high 11.6 points and 6.4 rebounds this season. After starting last offseason with $33 million in room, the Spurs currently have $22 million in space to use prior to June 30. They finished the season $11.6 million below the minimum salary floor.
Top front-office priority: Player development continues to be a priority. San Antonio enters the offseason with six players under the age of 23, and that number could jump to nine after the draft. The Spurs will also decide if they look to improve the roster via free agency or trades, or if they continue picking up draft assets while taking on unwanted contracts. The trades to acquire Devonte’ Graham and Khem Birch netted San Antonio a first-round pick and six seconds. They also received a future second from Miami for taking back Dewayne Dedmon‘s contract.
Extension candidate to watch: Vassell could join Johnson, Murray and Derrick White as former first-round picks extended since the 2019-20 season. The 22-year-old averaged career highs in points (18.5) and 3-point percentage (38.7%). Vassell ranked in the top-10 in catch-and-shoot 3-point field goal percentage among 150 players to attempt 150 of these shots, per Second Spectrum tracking. Vassell is not a max player but should see an extension that starts in the $17 million range. Also keep an eye on Jones, who is eligible to sign a four-year extension until June 30, after which he’ll become a restricted free agent. Jones averaged a career-high 12.9 points and 6.6 assists this season. The Spurs had a 13.9% turnover percentage when Jones was on the floor. That rises to 16.0% when he is off.
Other extension candidates: Birch, Graham and Collins (as of 7/11)
Team needs: Besides player development, the focus is on improving the offense. The Spurs ranked 29th in offensive efficiency this season, only ahead of Charlotte. This is the first time that San Antonio ranked in the bottom-two in offense under Gregg Popovich.
Future draft assets: Outside of Oklahoma City and Utah, there is no team set up better in the future with draft assets than San Antonio. Besides their own first in the next seven years, the Spurs have an additional five first-rounders. They also have 14 second-round picks available. Below is the breakdown:
Incoming first-round picks:
Two unprotected from Atlanta (2025 and 2027)
Protected first from Charlotte (top-14 protected in 2024 and 2025)
Protected first from Toronto (top-six in 2024, 2025 or 2026)
Top-10 protected from Chicago (2025, top-eight protected in 2026 and 2027)
Swap rights: Atlanta (2026)
Swap rights: Boston (2028, top-one protected)
2022-23 record: 37-45
Draft picks in June: Nos. 9, 16 (via MIN), 28 (via PHI)
Note: The pick from Minnesota could be in the lottery if the Timberwolves lose in the play-in tournament.
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 4.5%
Free agents: Udoka Azubuike, Jordan Clarkson (P), Rudy Gay (P), Talen Horton-Tucker (P), Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones (P) and Johnny Juzang (R)
State of the roster: The Jazz have established the blueprint for how to rebuild a roster and still remain competitive. Utah went from a luxury tax team with limited draft assets and a first-round playoff ceiling to a franchise that now has draft equity, financial and roster flexibility and a foundation of young players. Now Utah must show patience and not accelerate a rebuild that saw four of its five starters traded last offseason. The Jazz are one of only two teams (Indiana is the other) to have three-first round selections and have a 4.5% chance of landing the top spot. They have never drafted first in franchise history. No player on the roster is earning more than $18 million. Their two foundation players, Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler, earn a combined $20 million next season.
Offseason finances: Utah has a projected $30 million in cap space when accounting for the three first-round picks, the player options of Horton-Tucker, Clarkson, Gay and Jones and the partially guaranteed contract of Kelly Olynyk. Jones has until June 23 to opt-in to his $2.6 million contract. Clarkson ($14.3 million), Horton-Tucker ($11 million) and Gay ($6.5 million) have until June 28. Olynyk’s contract is guaranteed for $3 million and becomes fully guaranteed for $12.2 million on June 28.
Top front-office priority: It sounds minor, but a nice gesture would be fully guaranteeing Markkanen’s contract in 2024-25. The contract is currently only guaranteed for $6 million and doesn’t become fully guaranteed for $18 million until after the 2024 draft. Next is to continue building their draft assets by utilizing cap space. And finally, the Jazz should find common ground on a new contract for Clarkson. The former Sixth Man of the Year started all 61 games he played this season, averaging career-highs in points (20.8), field goal attempts (16.9) and assists (4.4).
Extension candidate to watch: In a perfect world Utah and Markkanen would agree to an extension for an additional three seasons on Aug. 6 (the first day he is eligible). Markkanen has 16 30-point games this season and has outplayed the four-year, $67.5 million contract that he signed in 2021 with Cleveland. Because the extension rules under the new collective bargaining agreement allows only a 140% increase off his 2024-25 salary, a three-year, $82 million extension is likely a non-starter for Markkanen.
Other extension candidates: Clarkson (thru 6/30 and next season if player option exercised), Gay (if player option is exercised), Olynyk and Horton-Tucker (if player option is exercised)
Team needs: This depends on if Utah is comfortable with a point guard committee led by Horton-Tucker and Kris Dunn. Horton-Tucker started every game after the All-Star break, averaging 14.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists. He ranked in the top-10 in possessions per game when he brought the ball up per Second Spectrum. Horton-Tucker is eligible to sign a four-year, $60.9 million extension before June 30.
Future draft assets: Before we go into the bevy of future assets, keep an eye on Philadelphia’s first this year that was acquired as part of the Royce O’Neale trade with Brooklyn. Because they have only one future second round pick available, the Jazz could look to move the late first for multiple seconds in the future. As for the draft assets, the Jazz are loaded. Besides the three first in June, Utah has 13 first-round picks, including eight that were acquired in various trades. They do owe a first-round pick to Oklahoma City. It is top-10 protected in 2024 and 2025 and top-eight protected in 2026 (it becomes a 2028 second-round pick if it hasn’t been conveyed by then).
Below is the complete breakdown of Utah’s first-round assets:
Three unprotected from Minnesota (2023, 2025, 2027)
Three unprotected from Cleveland (2025, 2027, 2029)
Top-four protected from L.A. Lakers (2027)
Top-five protected from Minnesota (2029)
Swap rights: Minnesota or Cleveland (2026) and Cleveland (2028)
2022-23 record: 35-47
Draft picks in June: Nos. 7/8, 41/42 (via CHI) and 57 (via BOS)
Note: There is a tie with Indiana that will be broken after the play-in
Odds for the No. 1 pick: 6.8%
Free agents: Kyle Kuzma (P), Kristaps Porzingis (P), Kendrick Nunn, Taj Gibson and Jay Huff (R)
State of the roster: There are hard questions that need to be asked in Washington. After committing $251 million last offseason to Bradley Beal, the Wizards are in the lottery for the fourth time in five years. Can Washington find an impact player if it doesn’t move up into the top four? Beyond the draft, there are questions facing the existing roster. Is the body of work when Beal, Kuzma and Porzingis are on the court together enough to keep this roster intact? In two seasons, the three have played 740 minutes together and have a net efficiency of plus-3.3. Kuzma has a $13 million player option he is likely to decline, while Porzingis faces a decision on his $36 million option. If Kuzma and Porzingis return, the Wizards are likely committing at least $100 million next season to the trio. Can the Wizards be a top-six team in the East with Beal as their best player? Beal shot a career-high 51% from the field, including 37% on 3-pointers. The Wizards were 13-14 in clutch-time games with Beal on the court and 2-11 without him. Durability remains a concern for the Wizards. After playing all 82 games in 2017-18 and 2018-19, Beal has missed 96 games the past four seasons.
Offseason finances: If Kuzma and Porzingis opt in by the June 21 deadline, the Wizards will be $8 million below the luxury tax when accounting for their first-round pick.
Top front-office priority: It starts with Porzingis and then Kuzma. Porzingis played 65 games, his most since 2016-17, averaging career highs in shooting (49.4%), 3-pointer shooting (38.2%) and points (23.0). After the All-Star break, Porzingis shot 74% on drives, the best among all players with 25-plus attempts. It would make sense from both sides for Porzingis to decline his $36 million player option and sign a new long-term contract that starts at $27 million in the first year. The trade-off for the lower first-year salary would be rewarding Porzingis, who has a lengthy injury history, with financial security in the future. Kuzma averaged a career-high 21.2 points but also on a career-high 17.8 shots per game. Per Second Spectrum tracking, he ranked 59th in field goal percentage on jump shots among 61 players with 500-plus attempts.
Extension candidate to watch: The Wizards track record of extending former first-round picks is close to non-existent. Since 2013, the only player to sign a rookie extension is John Wall. If there is a player to break the drought it is 2020 lottery pick Deni Avdija. The 22-year-old has stagnated on offense the past three seasons: 6.3, 8.3 and 9 points per game. He did have a career-high 25 points in a late March win vs. Boston. Avdija is one of the top rebounding forwards and has developed into a strong defender. Per Cleaning the Glass, Avdija ranked in the 97th percentile in defensive rebounding. Porzingis is also eligible thru June 30 to sign a four-year, $180 million extension. The salary in the first season cannot be lower than his $36 million player option.
Other extension candidates: Kuzma (through June 30 and next season if player option is exercised), Monte Morris and Isaiah Todd
Team needs: It depends if the Wizards want more scoring from the point guard position. Monte Morris and Delon Wright both ranked in the top 10 in assist-to-turnover ratio among players with 100-plus assists. However, the Washington point guards ranked 29th in points per game, ahead of only the Bulls. The Wizards also ranked 21st in second-chance points allowed.
Future draft assets: The Wizards owe New York a first-round pick that is top-12 protected in 2024, top-10 protected in 2025 and top-eight protected in 2026. It will turn into second-round picks in 2026 and 2027 if not conveyed. The earliest Washington can trade a first-round pick is two years after the conditions to New York have been met. The Wizards have four second-round picks available.