Starting Five Predictions for Every NBA Team Next Season

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistMay 7, 2013

Starting Five Predictions for Every NBA Team Next Season

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    Predicting the 2013-14 starting five for each of the 30 NBA teams is an impossible task, but why should we let that stop us? 

    Impossible is only a state of mind. 

    Even still, there's a lot to consider. You have to think about player, team and early termination options, whether or not trades will occur, how the draft will proceed and then where each major free agent will land. 

    There's a lot of roster turmoil each offseason, but I've attempted to sort it all out. 

    Don't hesitate to let me know what you'd do differently with your favorite team. Just remember to keep money in the back of your mind. We'd all like to sign Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Josh Smith before trading for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, but that's just not at all realistic. 

    Note: Unless otherwise indicated, all contract information comes from and 

Atlanta Hawks

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    Starting Five: Jeff Teague, John Jenkins, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Al Horford

    Danny Ferry has positioned the Atlanta Hawks so that they have plenty of cap space during the upcoming offseason. Ideally, the team will somehow manage to land both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, but that seems like more of a pipe dream at the moment. 

    Even without worrying about CP3 and Dwight, the Hawks have plenty of decisions to make.

    Do they bring back Jeff Teague, who's a restricted free agent? Certainly, as building around him and Al Horford is only too logical. 

    How about Kyle Korver and Josh Smith, both of whom are unrestricted free agents? Smith seems to have worn out his welcome in Atlanta, but Korver should be welcomed back with open arms. 

    Then there's still a lot of money left over, especially if John Jenkins steps into the starting lineup at the beginning of his sophomore season. Spending it on Paul Millsap, who's an unrestricted free agent, would create a dynamic and versatile frontcourt. 

    This may not be the plan Ferry set out with, but it's a good holdover plan as the team starts to stockpile young assets. 

Boston Celtics

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    Starting Five: Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, Kevin Garnett

    This might come as a surprise, but there aren't going to be many changes in the Boston Celtics' rotation at the beginning of the 2013-14 season. 

    Avery Bradley will step into the starting lineup as a Rajon Rondo replacement, although he'll be supplanted by the All-Star floor general as soon as a certain ACL is fully healed. 

    As for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, it's simply impossible to imagine them wearing any color other than green at this point. I literally can't picture Pierce in a different uniform, and he doesn't look ready to retire. 

    Jeff Green also needs to start at this point, even if it's at the 4. He's too talented to sit on the bench for long portions of the game, as he's proved time and time again during the end of the regular season and the beginning of the postseason. 

Brooklyn Nets

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    Starting Five: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, Brook Lopez

    There aren't many reasons to change this lineup. 

    Gerald Wallace is the weak link, but the Brooklyn Nets have so much money committed to both him and Joe Johnson that it's hard to imagine them making any big moves. There simply isn't enough financial flexibility for the newly re-signed Billy King. 

    Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Johnson aren't going anywhere, and Reggie Evans is a solid role player stepping into the starting five out of necessity. 

    Unless there's a blockbuster trade, this lineup isn't going to change. The biggest move will come on the bench, seeing as King must decide whether or not to sign Andray Blatche, who becomes an unrestricted free agent after the NBA Finals end. 

Charlotte Bobcats

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    Starting Five: Kemba Walker, Ben McLemore, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Byron Mullens, Bismack Biyombo

    While the Charlotte Bobcats would certainly love to make a big splash in the free-agency pool, they don't have enough to offer. I'm not talking about money, but rather allure. 

    Who wants to go play for the Bobcats? And silence fills the room...

    Charlotte could potentially lose both Gerald Henderson and Byron Mullens, as the duo enters restricted free agency this offseason. It's tough to see Mullens getting a huge offer, but Henderson is young and talented enough that the Bobcats won't be too motivated to match every offer. 

    Plus, they'll be able to use their top draft pick on a stud shooting guard: Ben McLemore. It's no secret I'm a big fan of the former Kansas Jayhawk, and the Bobcats could certainly use another scoring threat in the lineup. 

    Assuming the ping-pong balls fall as expected and Charlotte selects McLemore with the No. 2 pick after the Orlando Magic take Nerlens Noel off the board, the 2-guard is talented enough to immediately step into the starting lineup. 

Chicago Bulls

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    Starting Five: Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah

    It's safe to assume that Derrick Rose will be ready to play when the 2013-14 season kicks off, right? 

    And with the former MVP in the lineup, this starting five looks absolutely deadly. 

    Jimmy Butler has taken massive strides during his second season out of Marquette, and with him in the rotation, the Chicago Bulls look like they've finally solved their long-time shooting guard problems. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah are obvious choices for the five-man unit as well. 

    Of all the positions, power forward is the most interesting. 

    With Carlos Boozer owed $15.3 million next season and then another $16.8 million in 2014-15, this offseason seems like the logical time to bite the bullet and use the amnesty clause. Taj Gibson isn't just going to wait around in a bench role forever. 

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Starting Five: Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Josh Smith, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao

    Of all the moves made in this article, Josh Smith going to the Cleveland Cavaliers is the boldest. 

    The Cavs have a lot of money, though, and they could use an upgrade at small forward. Smith is a natural power forward, but he has the ball skills to play out on the perimeter and provide spacing with Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao taking up the middle. 

    Cleveland has $32,594,120 committed for the 2013-14 season, according to, and it doesn't have any major pieces that need to be re-signed. There's money to splurge on a max player like Smoove, and that should be enough to lure him away from the Atlanta Hawks. 

    If this roster actually comes to fruition, it looks an awful lot like a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. I could easily see this squad earning a No. 6 seed with the potential to move higher as Dion Waiters and Thompson continue blossoming. 

Dallas Mavericks

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    Starting Five: D.J. Augustin, Tyreke Evans, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Al Jefferson

    Get ready to be inundated with stories and rumors that connect Mark Cuban with either Chris Paul or Dwight Howard. Or both. 

    Much as the league's most outspoken owner would like to believe that he can land either one of these marquee free agents, though, it's not going to happen. The Dallas Mavericks will have to settle for secondary options at the two most important positions. 

    Fortunately, there's a terrific one at center. Al Jefferson is one of the premier big men in the Association, even if he doesn't always get a lot of attention. He and Dirk Nowitzki would form a terrifying one-two frontcourt punch. 

    D.J. Augustin isn't exactly a high-quality starter anymore, but he can be a solid second option in the backcourt beside Tyreke Evans. 

    There's a lot of movement going on here, but Dallas also has a lot of money to spend. 

Denver Nuggets

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    Starting Five: Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos

    Danilo Gallinari won't be healthy for the start of the season, hence the necessity to put Wilson Chandler in the starting lineup. As soon as the Italian forward is healthy, he'll immediately be put back into the top role at his position. 

    Other than that, the only thing of note is Andre Iguodala remaining on the Denver Nuggets. 

    The swingman has an early termination option, and he could be tempted to use it. Doing so would allow him to cash in one year sooner and earn a larger long-term contract. If he waits another season, his age will be more of a factor and the money will likely decrease. 

    However, Iggy is smart enough to recognize that Denver is in a good spot. Gallinari's injury and Stephen Curry's brilliance brought the Nuggets' postseason to a premature ending, but this team is loaded with potential going forward. 

Detroit Pistons

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    Starting Five: Jose Calderon, Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond

    It'll be fun to see what this group of Detroit Pistons can do when playing together for a full season. Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe should all continue to develop rather well. Especially Drummond. 

    Re-signing Calderon might not be the most glamorous option Detroit can choose, but it's a smart one. The Spanish point guard is an incredibly intelligent player and a skilled facilitator who can speed along the offensive development of his teammates. 

    He's an unrestricted free agent, but Detroit has the financial means to bring him back for a few more seasons. 

    Without a ton of mid-level point guards available, it's the best choice. 

Golden State Warriors

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    Starting Five: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, David Lee, Andrew Bogut

    There's no reason for the Golden State Warriors to change anything. 

    The Dubs' focus should be on retaining their bench. Carl Landry has a player option and Jarrett Jack is an unrestricted free agent, and both players have proven absolutely vital to the winning efforts. 

    That's a discussion for another time and place, though. The starting lineup will remain intact, as all five members are signed for the 2013-14 season (and beyond in some cases). Unless something strange happens and Draymond Green jumps Harrison Barnes, there just isn't much to talk about here. 

Houston Rockets

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    Starting Five: Jeremy Lin, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Thomas Robinson, Omer Asik

    Daryl Morey is never satisfied. 

    He's landed James Harden, but now he's going to be after another star. Josh Smith and Dwight Howard might as well have bullseyes firmly affixed to the back of their jerseys at the moment. 

    Morey will miss his shot, though. Twice. 

    Houston will eventually upgrade part of its starting lineup, but this isn't the offseason they'll do so. The power forward class is a top-heavy one, but Smith has more appealing options, and neither Paul Millsap nor David West fits with the team very well. 

    That leaves Houston looking to its own roster for a starting power forward. Given a full offseason of work with the team, it's Thomas Robinson who will emerge ahead of Greg Smith and Donatas Motiejunas. 

    Remember, we're less than a year from when Robinson was picked at No. 5 by the Sacramento Kings. 

Indiana Pacers

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    Starting Five: George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, David West, Roy Hibbert

    Why does anything need to change for the Indiana Pacers? They're clearly in great shape, especially if Roy Hibbert can remember how to shoot for the duration of a season. 

    David West's impending free agency could throw a wrench in Indiana's plans, but the veteran power forward isn't going to command enough money that a return is impossible. And with less than $50 million on the books for 2013-14, the Pacers can certainly give him the contract his heart desires. 

    Paul George developed into the best player on the roster during the 2012-13 campaign, but West's two-way dominance was crucial. Indiana can't easily replace him, and he should be lining up for the Pacers once more. 

    That also forces Danny Granger to the bench, where he can function as a sixth man supreme once fully healthy. While there remains a slight possibility that the team's former leading scorer could supplant Lance Stephenson, it's far more likely that he becomes the sparkplug off the bench. 

Los Angeles Clippers

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    Starting Five: Chris Paul, Ben Gordon, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan

    I seriously toyed with moving Chris Paul to another team—namely either the Dallas Mavericks or Atlanta Hawks—but I can't shake the gut feeling that he returns to the Los Angeles Clippers. This is especially true on the heels of Arash Markazi's report

    On Monday, Clippers vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks said he was "very confident" the All-Star point guard would eventually re-sign with the team.

    Sacks met with Paul on Saturday during the team's exit interview and believes that he will be back, but was cautious about getting into details with Paul becoming an unrestricted free agent and not being able to sign an extension until July 1.

    With Paul in the fold, the priority shifts a spot in the lineup. Shooting guard is a tricky spot for the Clippers, especially because they won't have much money left after inking CP3 to a long-term deal. 

    Ben Gordon is a nice solution, as he offers a cheap scoring punch and would be willing to play the part of the veteran and take a discount for a shot at a title. The unrestricted free agent (assuming he declines his player option) last played with the Charlotte Bobcats, so the allure of wins could be too much to pass up.

    There's also the tricky issue of Eric Bledsoe if Paul re-signs. Bledsoe is under contract though the 2013-14 season, when he becomes a restricted free agent, and the dynamic floor general is too talented to rot away on the bench. 

    He'll likely be moved at some point during the regular season, but not before the first game is played. The Clippers can afford to wait and see what's out there first. 

Los Angeles Lakers

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    Starting Five: Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard

    The Los Angeles Lakers should be thrilled with this starting five, even if it's not awfully different than the one used during the ill-fated 2012-13 campaign. Plus, Kobe Bryant will take over for Jodie Meeks as soon as he's healthy. 

    Obviously, the big news with this team centers around Dwight Howard. And how do you read the big man at the moment?

    Does he want money? Championships? To have fun? To play with friends? To stop being pressured by Kobe?

    No one knows. I'm not even convinced that Dwight does, which makes the temptation of the biggest contract quite tough to pass up.

    Other moves of note here include Metta World Peace declining to opt out of his contract, Pau Gasol remaining on the roster and no other massive free-agent signings. L.A. could pursue a big name like Josh Smith, but only if Dwight left and the Lakers amnestied Gasol.

    The Lakers would be better off biding their time and waiting for a stronger class. 

Memphis Grizzlies

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    Starting Five: Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Tayshaun Prince, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol

    At this point, you may have noted that many of the contenders aren't changing up their starting fives much. Why should they? 

    The Memphis Grizzlies have control over all relevant players on their roster, save Jerryd Bayless (player option) and Tony Allen (unrestricted free agent). Given the defensive nature of this squad, it makes sense to re-sign one of the league's best perimeter defenders. 

    Allen won't be all that expensive, and if he does slip away, Quincy Pondexter can start to fill his shoes. 

    Memphis is one of the few teams that can sit back and relax during the offseason, knowing that it's in fine shape without making many major moves. 

Miami Heat

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    Starting Five: Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Shane Battier, LeBron James, Chris Bosh

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. 

    The Miami Heat don't need to focus on upgrading any part of their starting lineup. Even Shane Battier is fine where he is, despite the continued assaults of Father Time. Miami simply doesn't have the money necessary to upgrade at the 3. 

    Mario Chalmers has a team option, and the Heat should clearly bring him back. He's not an elite point guard, but he's a significant upgrade over Norris Cole. Plus, there's not enough money to pursue a better option than Chalmers. 

    For a paltry $4 million, the former Kansas standout is a cost-effective option. 

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Starting Five: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders

    For the third team in a row, we have no changes in the starting lineup. However, it's a bit trickier for the Milwaukee Bucks to get back where they started. 

    Brandon Jennings is a restricted free agent, and Monta Ellis has a player option. Let's deal with the point guard first. 

    We're about to see a similar situation to the one that unfolded with Eric Gordon and the New Orleans Hornets. Jennings will want to go elsewhere, but Milwaukee ultimately holds the trump card. If the Bucks want him back, he'll be back. 

    And based on his potential and previous production, he'll be back. 

    As for Ellis, he's smart enough to realize that he isn't going to get $11 million elsewhere. He's also young enough to wait for a new contract and play out the one that's in his best interest right now. 

    Milwaukee isn't going to be a happy team next season, but it's going to be one that looks eerily similar to the 2012-13 version. 

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Starting Five: Ricky Rubio, Alexey Shved, Andrei Kirilenko, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic

    Although I'm not a Minnesota Timberwolves fan (note: that by no means indicates that I root against the team), I desperately hope this team gets put together how it should have been for the 2012-13 campaign. 

    If it weren't for injuries to Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic—who am I kidding, the whole team—this easily could have been a playoff-caliber squad. 

    Fortunately, we'll get a chance to prove that. 

    It's hard to see AK47 turning down a player option worth over $10 million now that he's 32 years old with a decade of experience in the Association, and the Timberwolves can match the inevitably high offer that Pek receives. 

    Move Alexey Shved into the starting lineup, and you suddenly have a strong contender for a seed in the 2014 Western Conference playoffs. 

New Orleans Pelicans

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    Starting Five: Greivis Vasquez, Eric Gordon, Earl Clark, Anthony Davis, Robin Lopez

    The New Orleans Pelicans—yes, we finally get to start referring to them as such—don't have many holes to fill during the 2013 offseason. Instead, they can focus on upgrading at small forward, since Al-Farouq Aminu is the only free agent of note. 

    Unfortunately for the Pelicans, you don't want to be looking for a small forward this year. The options are mediocre at best. 

    Instead of going for a home run, New Orleans will end up signing a mid-level 3 with some potential: Earl Clark. The Louisville product looked terrific at times for the Los Angeles Lakers, and he won't command a high salary. 

    New Orleans can increase the athleticism of the starting five with Clark while improving the defense as well. 

New York Knicks

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    Starting Five: Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler

    According to, the New York Knicks are already set to pay $76,404,547 in salary during the 2013-14 season. Only the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat are in more dire financial shape. 

    That's going to prevent the Madison Square Garden inhabitants from making any free-agency splashes. They'll have to be content with five starters already on the roster. 

    A more pressing concern is figuring out what to do with J.R. Smith. I'd be shocked if he didn't opt out of his contract, seeing as he's only set to earn less than $3 million next season. That's not exactly enough for a Sixth Man of the Year winner. 

    However, I'd be equally shocked if Smith didn't just re-up with the Knicks. That's something they do indeed have the financial means to accomplish, but it's just a further nail in the coffin when it comes to upgrading the starting lineup.

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Starting Five: Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins

    Although Russell Westbrook's knee prevents us from seeing what type of juggernaut the Oklahoma City Thunder could have become in this year's postseason, it won't keep us from a similar sight in 2013-14. 

    The Thunder have to worry about re-signing Kevin Martin and Ronnie Brewer, both of whom are restricted free agents, in order to conserve their backcourt depth, but there shouldn't be concerns about the starting five. 

    Kendrick Perkins isn't exactly the best option at center, but he knows his role and sticks to it. There's something to be said for that. 

    Plus, OKC doesn't have the money to go out and acquire an obvious upgrade. Even if they did, that upgrade would likely start the season behind Perkins before ascending into the starting role. 

Orlando Magic

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    Starting Five: Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Moe Harkless, Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic

    If the Orlando Magic hadn't wanted to lose games at the end of the year in order to increase their odds at the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, something tells me that they would have been much more competitive. 

    Orlando really found something in Tobias Harris, making that J.J. Redick trade with the Milwaukee Bucks look awfully good. Moe Harkless improved as the year progressed, and Nikola Vucevic is now firmly entrenched as the starting center. 

    The odds dictate that Orlando will land the No. 1 pick now, but there's not a single player out there who could supplant any of the incumbent starters. Nerlens Noel, even if healthy, would sit behind Vucevic, and he's the likely selection. 

    Without any free-agency prospects or types of options to worry about with the five aforementioned starters, Orlando appears set for the next season. Now we'll get to see what happens when the quintet tries to win games. 

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Starting Five: Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Carlos Boozer, Andrew Bynum

    Between the jump-shooting prowess of Carlos Boozer and the back-to-the-basket skills of Andrew Bynum, this would be a deadly frontcourt. That's especially true with Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young all attacking from the perimeter. 

    That said, there's the process of signing both Boozer and Bynum to worry about. 

    Re-signing Bynum wouldn't be the most popular decision in the City of Brotherly Love, as there's a rather large contingent still furious with the big man for sitting out the entire season and making headlines for the wrong reasons. However, it's a smart one, as Philly still needs a true two-way threat in the post. 

    Sorry, but Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown don't cut it. The Sixers have the advantage when it comes to retaining Bynum's services, and that has to be the No. 1 priority. 

    Even if Bynum returns, the Sixers should still have the money necessary to sign Carlos Boozer, assuming he gets amnestied by the Chicago Bulls. He'll be available for a severely discounted price, and it's an opportunity Philadelphia must jump upon. 

Phoenix Suns

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    Starting Five: Goran Dragic, O.J. Mayo, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat

    The Phoenix Suns will have to replace Wesley Johnson at shooting guard now that the 25-year-old is an unrestricted free agent. There's a serious need for some scoring in the desert, and O.J. Mayo is just the man to provide it. 

    The sharp-shooting 2-guard has a player option with the Dallas Mavericks, but he has the ability to earn much more than $4.2 million in 2013-14. His second half was ugly, but the first portion of the 2012-13 season still increased his earning potential enough that he should opt out. 

    Mayo's shooting would be exactly what this team needs, especially because he's a solid distributor when he needs to be. 

    At small forward, Marcus Morris could easily be replaced by P.J. Tucker. But come on, you know you want the twins to start next to each other. 

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Starting Five: Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kelly Olynyk

    The Portland Trail Blazers might want to go out and splurge on a big man who will prove to be an upgrade over J.J. Hickson, but that shouldn't be the priority. Hickson, now an unrestricted free agent, will be missed, but depth is vital above all else. 

    Portland's rotation was incredibly shallow, and the team suffered dramatically whenever a starter took a breather. Signing a few quality rotation players is more important than filling the void at center. 

    That's especially true if the Blazers manage to draft Kelly Olynyk at No. 10 (assuming the lottery odds hold true). The same can be said if Cody Zeller falls out of the single-digits, but that scenario seems far more outlandish.

    The Gonzaga big man is already a polished 7-footer, and he could immediately step into the starting lineup. Portland would lose a great deal of athleticism, but it would also gain much more finesse and skill on the offensive end of the court.

Sacramento Kings

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    Starting Five: Isaiah Thomas, Gerald Henderson, John Salmons, Jason Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins

    The Sacramento Kings have the ability to match any offer Tyreke Evans receives, but it's time for that experiment to end. He may be a great player with plenty of unrealized potential, but Sacramento needs to let him go. 

    Instead of matching the inevitably exorbitant offer, the Kings should instead sign a cheaper, more underrated option and save cap space for a stronger draft class. That's where Gerald Henderson comes in. 

    Henderson may have toiled away in obscurity for the Charlotte Bobcats (and he's a restricted free agent, so there's always the possibility that he just returns), but he proved that he was quite valuable. And he's still young enough to be a part of the long-term plans. 

San Antonio Spurs

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    Starting Five: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter, Tim Duncan

    The San Antonio Spurs have a number of unrestricted free agents to worry about, but it's rather difficult to envision many of them leaving. 

    Can you picture Manu Ginobili in any other jersey? I certainly can't, nor do I want to. 

    The same can be said for Tiago Splitter. San Antonio has developed him and invested in his potential. Lately, it's paid off, and they aren't going to want their labor to manifest itself elsewhere. 

    Splitter won't demand a huge contract, which enables him to return to the Tim Duncan-led frontcourt. 

    DeJuan Blair and Boris Diaw are the guys who could realistically leave, but it's not like either one of them factors in to the starting-five discussion. And that's all we're concerned about here. 

Toronto Raptors

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    Starting Five: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Jason Maxiell, Jonas Valanciunas

    You might be wondering how the Toronto Raptors are going to have enough money left over to sign Jason Maxiell and fill the void at power forward. 

    I'll give you a hint. 

    It involves Andrea Bargnani and the amnesty clause. With the Italian big man off the books, Toronto has a bit more financial flexibility and the ability to make one relatively large move during the 2013 offseason. 

    The Raptors are set everywhere else, and Maxiell is a cost-effective option. 

    This team could surprise a lot of people. 

Utah Jazz

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    Starting Five: Mo Williams, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter

    The Utah Jazz have a lot of money to spend if they don't re-sign either Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap, but it's time for the young guns to take over. 

    Mo Williams is the unrestricted free agent that will be brought back, thanks to his comfort level in Salt Lake City. He's not a glamorous option, but he's an effective one. There's no doubt about that. 

    The biggest question mark is at shooting guard. If Monta Ellis does choose to opt out of his contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, Utah could be a great fit for him. However, as you've already noted, I don't think he'll turn down the $11 million. 

    There simply aren't many great 2-guards on the market this season, so we could see Burks get a look at shooting guard while Utah tries accumulating young assets in search of an eventual backcourt star. 

    As for the frontcourt, get ready for the Derrick Favors-Enes Kanter combination. It'll have ups and downs, but it'll be a fun ride. 

Washington Wizards

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    Starting Five: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Shabazz Muhammad, Nene Hilario, Emeka Okafor

    If Victor Oladipo or Shabazz Muhammad falls to the Washington Wizards at their eventual draft pick (No. 8 at the moment), they won't hesitate before snatching him up. I expect Oladipo to be off the board once the Phoenix Suns are through picking, and that leaves Shabazz for this spot. 

    The UCLA freshman is an NBA-ready talent, capable of immediately stepping into the starting lineup. You're going to see much more out of him than he displayed while with the Bruins. 

    There's absolutely no shot of anyone supplanting John Wall, Bradley Beal or Nene Hilario in the five-man unit, so that just leaves Emeka Okafor. He has an early termination option, but he's already told CSN Washington that he plans on a return to the team. 

    Washington was much better once John Wall regained his health, and it'd be an even stronger squad with Muhammad providing another scoring punch. In fact, it looks an awful lot like a playoff team.