For multiple teams in the Southeast, the 2017 offseason was more about retaining their own players than going out and making a major splash via trade or free agency. That was especially true for the reigning division champs in Washington.
Not only did the Wizards match Brooklyn’s four-year, maximum salary offer sheet for Otto Porter — the club also completed another four-year, maximum salary extension, locking up John Wall far beyond the remaining two years on his current contract. Washington also made other minor changes to its roster, adding Jodie Meeks and Tim Frazier, but the team’s major moves involved keeping its current core intact.
The same can be said about the Heat, who pursued Gordon Hayward, but missed out and quickly shifted their focus back to their own free agents, finalizing new long-term contracts with James Johnson and Dion Waiters. Miami also made the biggest investment in the division on an outside free agent, striking a four-year, $45.6MM deal with Kelly Olynyk, which could be worth even more via incentives.
The Hawks brought back Ersan Ilyasova and Mike Muscala on new deals, but opted not to re-sign their top free agent, letting Paul Millsap go to Denver. The move was one of several made by Atlanta that will re-shape the roster for 2017/18. Dewayne Dedmon, Miles Plumlee, and Marco Belinelli are among the newly-added Hawks, while Tim Hardaway, Dwight Howard, Thabo Sefolosha, and Mike Dunleavy are a few of the players who left Atlanta this summer.
The Hornets were on the other end of a major trade with Atlanta, landing Howard in exchange for Belinelli and Plumlee. The cap-strapped Hornets didn’t have a lot of flexibility to make upgrades, but the additions of Howard, Malik Monk, and Michael Carter-Williams are intriguing moves for a club that underperformed in 2016/17.
Meanwhile, the Magic didn’t make any big-money investments in free agency, but landed Jonathon Simmons, Shelvin Mack, Arron Afflalo, and Marreese Speights on affordable deals, and added a tantalizing athlete in Jonathan Isaac in the draft.
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