The Heat finished with the league’s best record and won their second straight title last season, while the Bobcats and Magic were the two worst teams in the league. Yet somehow, those three clubs and the Wizards are the only ones in the Eastern Conference to bring back 10 or more players from last season.
Miami kept 12 of the 15 players it carried at the end of the regular season and in the postseason as it made its run to the championship. There was no reason to mess with a winning formula, and aside from the amnesty waiving of Mike Miller, Juwan Howard‘s transition from player to assistant coach, and the team’s decision to cut Jarvis Varnado last week, everyone’s back to try for a three-peat.
The Bobcats made a splash in free agency, signing Al Jefferson, but they elected to bring back 11 players from the roster that went 21-61 last season, re-signing Josh McRoberts, Gerald Henderson and Jannero Pargo while failing to make any offseason trades. The Magic largely stood pat, too, though one of the 10 players they kept from the end of last season isn’t really around anymore. The team has told Turkoglu to stay home while they attempt to trade him, and it’s clear he won’t put on a Magic uniform again, even though he remains on the roster.
The Bucks were the Eastern Conference’s least-stable team, gutting the squad that finished with a losing record but slipped into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed. Every other Eastern team had about the same level of stability, keeping between seven and nine players.
Here’s the complete list of players who remain on the Eastern Conference teams with which they finished last season. We’ll follow with the Western Conference soon:
- Heat (12): LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, Joel Anthony, Shane Battier, Ray Allen, James Jones, Rashard Lewis, Norris Cole, Chris Andersen
- Bobcats (11): Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Josh McRoberts, Gerald Henderson, Bismack Biyombo, Kemba Walker, Brendan Haywood, Jeff Adrien, Jeff Taylor, Jannero Pargo
- Magic (10): Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Glen Davis, Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Kyle O’Quinn, E’Twaun Moore, Doron Lamb
- Wizards (10): Nene, Trevor Ariza, John Wall, Bradley Beal, Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin, Martell Webster, Chris Singleton, Trevor Booker, Garrett Temple
- Bulls (9): Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Marquis Teague, Nazr Mohammed
- Raptors (9): Rudy Gay, Landry Fields, Amir Johnson, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan, Aaron Gray, Terrence Ross, Quincy Acy
- Knicks (8): Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Pablo Prigioni, Kenyon Martin
- Nets (8): Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Mirza Teletovic, Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche, Tornike Shengelia, Tyshawn Taylor
- Pacers (8): Roy Hibbert, Danny Granger, David West, George Hill, Ian Mahinmi, Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Orlando Johnson
- 76ers (7): Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes, Jason Richardson, Evan Turner, Lavoy Allen, Kwame Brown, Arnett Moultrie
- Hawks (7): Al Horford, Kyle Korver, Lou Williams, Jeff Teague, John Jenkins, Mike Scott, Shelvin Mack
- Celtics (7): Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, Jordan Crawford
- Cavaliers (7): Anderson Varejao, Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, C.J. Miles, Tyler Zeller
- Pistons (7): Rodney Stuckey, Charlie Villanueva, Jonas Jerebko, Will Bynum, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, Kyle Singler
- Bucks (4): Ersan Ilyasova, Ekpe Udoh, Larry Sanders, John Henson