After Wednesday's regular-season finale, 16 NBA teams are looking forward to the playoffs. Unfortunately, the rest are now considering what will happen in the offseason.
Some of the eliminated squads have been looking towards the summer for months, preparing for free agency and the draft to improve for the future. Others are just getting started but still have big plans for ways to improve the team.
No matter what the plans are, everyone wants to find a way to get better in the long term. These organizations have different outlooks but are looking at a number of possible options to help accomplish this goal going forward.
The Timberwolves have a lot of choices to make this offseason, beginning with head coach Rick Adelman. The Associated Press (via ESPN) breaks down the upcoming process:
Adelman's contract has a mutual option included for the final season, meaning either side can opt out of the deal. Adelman will turn 68 in June and the contract calls for a decision to be made no later than two weeks after the season ends.
Adelman and Wolves president Flip Saunders have said they will sit down to discuss things after the season is over.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The organization has to find a way to hold on to its best player in Kevin Love before he opts out in the summer of 2015. The squad can sign him to an extension in January, but that will likely not come unless the franchise makes some big improvements.
According to Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press, the team has the willingness to bring in a top player but not necessarily the ability:
The Wolves will be after a "two-way" wing player, meaning someone who can make an impact on both ends of the court.
All they have available for a free agent is a mid-level exception worth about $5 million, meaning a player of Luol Deng's caliber is likely out of the question. He is expected to command upwards of $13 million on the open market.
The Wolves also could explore a trade to improve their defense, but owner Glen Taylor said it probably wouldn't be a "big" one.
As a result, you can expect Minnesota to be relatively quiet this offseason before the draft, where the team will hope to grab an elite player in the lottery. Although this is a deep class, there might not be too many great options when the Timberwolves are on the board.
Therefore, holding onto the current players and hoping for improvements might be the best course of action.
No one likes losing, but Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert especially does not. A source apparently told Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio: "Inside the organization is like a time-bomb waiting to go off."
Many front-office personnel could end up leaving, but the more interesting story to follow is what happens with the current roster. Amico reports that there could be some changes but adds that the backcourt could stay:
Sources said the Cavs wouldn't hesitate to trade anyone in the right deal. In fact, the general consensus is the team will go out of its way to make a significant trade this summer. ...
The front office, coaches and players have all warmed up to guard Dion Waiters as part of the future, sources said. While the Cavs hope to make a deal to improve the club, the priority is to make Waiters and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving work as the long-term starting backcourt.
This seemed unlikely earlier in the year with Dion Waiters struggling. However, the two early draft picks have played well lately and could certainly represent a corps for a winning club.
Even Anthony Bennett showed some promise after a terrible start to the season. If he can live up to his potential as the most recent No. 1 overall pick, the Cavaliers could end up having a talented group of youngsters.
Still, it seems that Cleveland is intent on making a big deal just to bring in someone. This is only a smart decision if it can avoid giving up any of its young talent. Otherwise, it will just be mortgaging the future for what will probably just be a small boost.
New York Knicks
A year after finishing with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks could not even make the playoffs and are now looking at a possible dramatic rebuilding process.
The key to the future will be Carmelo Anthony, who is a free agent this summer. He reportedly has still not made a decision about where he will play next season, but Al Iannazzone of Newsday breaks it down:
Anthony said that money doesn't matter as much as playing for a title contender. The Knicks aren't so constituted and may not be next season, depending on what team president Phil Jackson does with the roster.
The Bulls are a ready-made contender and could free up money to pay Anthony a max deal. ...
The Rockets, the No. 4 seed out West, reportedly also have an interest in Anthony, but it would require a sign-and-trade to get him to Houston.
If Anthony does leave, the Knicks will be left without a lot of talent. This could lead to a poor 2014-15 season in an effort to rebuild a year later.
Chandler could easily be used as Jackson’s No. 1 trade chip this summer with his expiring contract and his ability still to play at a high level. Scouts, however, say Chandler saw his first sign of slippage after breaking his leg in the season’s fourth game and missing six weeks.
Playing in the New York market makes it difficult to rebuild. Fans are less patient to watch a losing team and want to see immediate success. Unfortunately, the window for winning with the current group might have already closed.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.