Having already looked at 2012 free agent spending by teams in the Central and Southeast, we're using Hoops Rumors' Free Agent Tracker to move on to the Eastern Conference's biggest-spending division: the Atlantic. All five Atlantic clubs spent more in free agency this summer than any team in the Southeast.
Once again, these figures only take into account free agent signings, so salary absorbed in trades or money used to sign draft picks isn't included in this list. Additionally, not all of this salary is necessarily guaranteed, which we'll try to note as we go along. Here are this summer's Atlantic Division free agent costs, sorted by player salary:
Brooklyn Nets: $243.053MM (Keith Bogans, Reggie Evans, Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez, Jerry Stackhouse, Mirza Teletovic, Gerald Wallace, C.J. Watson, Deron Williams)
No team threw more money around this offseason than the Nets, whose $98MM+ commitment to Williams dwarfed every other contract signed this summer. Besides spending about $200MM on D-Will, Wallace, and Lopez alone, the Nets handed out deals for Evans, Humphries, and Teletovic worth more than the minimum, and took on Joe Johnson's remaining $89MM via trade. As the team makes its move to Brooklyn, no one can accuse the Nets of being thrifty.
Boston Celtics: $133.606MM (Brandon Bass, Dionte Christmas, Jason Collins, Keyon Dooling, Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Jamar Smith, Jason Terry, Chris Wilcox)
This total figure for the Celtics is based on a reported four-year, $36MM agreement with Jeff Green, but that deal has, somewhat bizarrely, yet to be finalized. Still, even without that deal, Boston has committed almost $100MM to new deals, including $15MM+ each to Bass, Garnett, Lee, and Terry. With a handful of minimum-salary contracts and partially-guaranteed deals rounding out their commitments, a little money figures to be reduced from the Celtics' offseason bill, but it was still a significant spending free for the club.
New York Knicks: $61.976MM (Ronnie Brewer, Marcus Camby, Chris Copeland, Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Steve Novak, Pablo Prigioni, Chris Smith, J.R. Smith, James White)
Without retaining Jeremy Lin or having any cap space available, the Knicks still managed to do their share of spending over the last few weeks. Novak and the elder Smith were retained with some form of Bird Rights, while Felton and Camby were acquired via sign-and-trades, allowing the team to use its mini mid-level exception on Kidd. New York managed to include just a partial guarantee on Camby's third year, and players like Copeland, White, and Chris Smith didn't receive full guarantees either. Still, the deals for Felton, Kidd, and Novak are all fully guaranteed, significant expenditures for a franchise that balked at Lin's price tag.
Philadelphia 76ers: $32.797MM (Lavoy Allen, Kwame Brown, Spencer Hawes, Royal Ivey, Maalik Wayns, Nick Young)
Prior to acquiring Andrew Bynum, the Sixers' offseason was a curious one. The club amnestied Elton Brand to make room to add free agents, but as the list above shows, that cap room was used primarily on Young and Brown, not exactly the kinds of impact additions you'd expect when you clear an $18MM+ salary from the books.
Toronto Raptors: $26.837MM (Landry Fields, Aaron Gray, John Lucas III)
The Raptors cleared cap room in the hopes of signing Steve Nash, but ended up missing out on the Canadian star, leaving them to spend on other players instead. While Fields at $6MM+ annually was probably an overpay, I like the rest of the Raptors' moves, which included using that aforementioned cap space to absorb Kyle Lowry's salary in a trade with Houston.