- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN New York Writer
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With these moves, Pierce has already said that he feels like the Nets can compete with "the best of them" in the Eastern Conference.
Let’s take a look at what the other teams in the East accomplished this offseason:
The two-time defending champions were mostly quiet. Not that you need to make any noise when you already have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Miami re-signed Chris Anderson, while electing to amnesty Mike Miller. As long as James is the best player in the world, and he is, the Heat are still the favorites. Wade’s health is probably Miami’s biggest question mark at this point.
The Pacers gave the Heat all they could handle in the conference finals, taking Miami to Game 7. Coming off a tremendous playoff run, Indiana added ex-Net C.J. Watson and ex-Knick Chris Copeland, while re-signing David West. The Pacers did lose Tyler Hansbrough, but will be just fine with Danny Granger healthy. Indiana’s projected starting five is George Hill, emerging star Paul George, Granger, West and Roy Hibbert, with Watson, Lance Stephenson, Copeland and Ian Mahinmi coming off the bench. Pretty darn good.
The Bulls didn’t need Derrick Rose to advance to the second round of the playoffs last season, but they’ll be happy to get their superstar point guard back. It will be interesting to see what level Rose will be at this season. Marco Belinelli left for San Antonio, but Chicago replaced him with capable perimeter shooter Mike Dunleavy. Richard Hamilton was amnestied. First-rounder Tony Snell might figure into the rotation. Spark plug Nate Robinson likely won’t be back. Regardless of his roster, Tom Thibodeau is one of the best coaches in the NBA at getting the most out of what he has to work with.
The Knicks still have Carmelo Anthony, so that’s good. It’s his supporting cast that may be the issue. J.R. Smith is back for at least another two years, but he’s out 3-4 months after undergoing knee surgery. Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace were brought in, though they come with their own question marks. Pablo Prigioni was re-signed at a bargain price, while the Knicks drafted Tim Hardaway Jr. to have more help on the wing. Copeland was the only key contributor they lost. Anthony can opt out after this season. Tyson Chander, as nice a player as he is, and Amar'e Stoudemire are both clogging the cap. The Knicks are going to be an intriguing squad for sure, though they appear to be a second-tier team in the East.
Just when you thought the Hawks were rebuilding after losing Josh Smith to Detroit, they went out and retooled, adding Paul Millsap on a very reasonable contract and matching Milwaukee’s offer sheet for Jeff Teague. Atlanta kept 3-point bomber Kyle Korver and drafted German point guard Dennis Schroeder, who many have already been raving about. They could end up being just as good as they were last season.
The Cavaliers had an extremely busy offseason, taking Anthony Bennett first overall and then adding Andrew Bynum, Earl Clark and Jarrett Jack to the mix. You can definitely put them on the teams-to-watch list. They’ve surrounded Kyrie Irving with some nice pieces and may be a playoff team. Will LeBron be joining them in 2014?
The Brooklyn Nets acquired Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Terry and Shaun Livingston this offseason, adding to an already impressive core.