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RivalryCheck

Rivalry Check is an ongoing series in which we preview 10 of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

New Faces: The Indiana Pacers didn't make too huge of a splash this offseason, only some minor tweaks here and there. The selected forward Solomon Hill out of Arizona with the No. 23 back in the NBA Draft. It was among one of the many unpredictable moves during this year's draft, with Hill being off many analyst's radar.

In need of a backup point guard, the Pacers signed C.J. Watson, formerly of the Brooklyn Nets. Last season, Watson averaged 6.8 points and 2 assists as Deron William's backup. The team also added Donald Sloan, who last year averaged 4.1 points and 1.9 assists with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Tags: c.j. watson, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Copeland, d.j. augustin, Danny Granger, Deron Williams, donald sloan, gerald green, iman shumpert, j.r. smith, jeff pendergraph, Knicks, luis scola, metta world peace, miles plumee, orlando johnson, paul george, RivalryCheck, roy hibbert, sam young, solomon hill, tyler hansbrough, tyson chandler, Sam Spiegelman
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Rivalry Check is an ongoing series in which we preview 10 of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

New Faces: Does Derrick Rose count as a new face? The Bulls had a quiet off-season, so for the purposes of this post, I'll consider him as one. Rose missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in the Bulls' first game of the 2012 playoffs against the 76ers. All reports indicate that he's at 100% and that he improved upon his jump-shooting abilities while he was injured, which is a scary combination with a talent like Rose. For now, let us wait and see how he moves in the preseason games before we make any judgements on what we can expect from him.

As for the Bulls' other actual roster transactions, they made one the first moves of the off-season by signing Mike Dunleavy to a 2-year, $6.5 million deal. The 6'9" forward shot a career high 42.8% from beyond the arch for the Bucks last season. Former Knick Nazr Mohammed re-upped for 1-year, $1.4 million to back up Joakim Noah.

Tags: Knicks, RivalryCheck
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Rivalry Check is an ongoing series in which we preview 10 of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

New Faces:?There are plenty of new ?faces in the Raptors locker room, but they are pretty familiar to fans in New York. Toronto traded Andrea Bargnani to acquire 3-point specialist Steve Novak, veteran big man Marcus Camby, Quentin Richardson and a handful of draft picks, but only Novak remains on the roster.

The Raptors also brought in D.J. Augustin and Tyler Hansbrough -- no marquee moves but ones that add some depth to their young nucleus.

Tags: andrea bargnani, d.j. augustin, demar derozan, dwane casey, dwight buycks, iman shumpert, john lucas III, jonas valanciunas, Knicks, kyle lowry, linas kleiza, Marcus CAmby, Quentin Richardson, RivalryCheck, rudy gay, sebastian telfair, steve novak, tyler handsbrough, Sam Spiegelman
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Rivalry Check is an ongoing series in which we preview 10 of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

New Faces: ?I guess anytime a former No. 1 pick lands on your team you have reason to be excited (unless it's Bargnani and you're me), but?Greg Oden -- the Heat's only marquee addition -- has done just about nothing in his injury-plagued career on which to hang high hopes. Color me uninspired by this signing. Until, of course, he becomes the monster he was always expected to be...

Departures: ?When you are the back-to-back champs, the goal is to keep as many of the same guys around for a three-peat run and the Heat did just that. They retained almost all of their free agents (Chris Andersen,?Ray Allen,?Mario Chalmers,?James Jones and?Rashard Lewis) in an effort to run the same rotations as last year. The only key loss for the Heat was?Mike Miller who, despite playing a big role in the team's playoff run, was mired in mediocrity and on the bench for the enormous majority of the season -- so pardon me for not thinking the sky is falling in Miami because they no longer have this guy's services.

Tags: Knicks, RivalryCheck
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Rivalry Check is an ongoing series in which we preview 10 of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

New Faces: Lawrence Frank spent the last two seasons as the Pistons head coach, and was fired for going 54-94 despite not having too much talent to work with. Maurice Cheeks, the 15-year NBA vet and former head coach of the Blazers and 76ers, was hired to replace him.

The Pistons got to work on their team once the Dwightmare was over, signing athletic big man Josh Smith to a 4-year, $54 million deal. Former Knick Chauncey Billups signed a 2-year, $5 million deal to re-become the face of the franchise. Billups will have to get right to work on his "on the floor coach" position, chiefly mentoring Brandon Jennings. Detroit received Jennings in a sign-and trade, good for 3 years and $24 million. The Pistons also re-signed Will Bynum for a 2-year, $5.7 million deal to sure up the back-up point guard duties. The Pistons' most intriguing free agent move was the signing of Gigi Datome, a sharpshooting forward who was MVP of the Italian League last season, to a 2-year, $3.5 million deal.

Tags: Knicks, RivalryCheck
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Rivalry Check is an ongoing series in which we preview 10 of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

New Faces:?It was certainly not a busy offseason in the nation's capital, as the Wizards have added only a few role players to surround their core talent. Among the new additions is former New York Knicks forward Al Harrington, who after missing almost all of last season will attempt to add some depth to the frontcourt.

Earlier in the offseason, the Wizards addressed their backcourt. The team added veteran point guard Eric Maynor to back up John Wall. Maynor fell out of the rotation in Oklahoma City, but at times was a valuable backup for the Thunder.

Tags: al harrington, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Singleton, Emeka Okafor, eric maynor, glenn rice jr., j.r. smith, Jan Vesely, jason collins, john wall, Kevin Seraphin., Knicks, Nene Hilario, otto porter, Raymond Felton, RivalryCheck, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker, Sam Spiegelman
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Rivalry Check is an ongoing series in which we preview 10 of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

New Faces:?The Cavaliers became re-acquainted with Mike Brown as their head coach after letting Byron Scott go. Scott had a young, talented roster that needed time to develop, but he wasn't given that time. The Cavs had a little more luck on the night of the draft lottery, getting the 1st pick only two years after getting the number 1 pick and using it on Kyrie Irving.

They used the number one pick to select forward Anthony Bennett from UNLV, which surprised everyone. They also drafted PG/SG Sergey Karasev out of Russia with the 19th pick and SG Carrick Felix out of Arizona State with the 33rd pick. As for the free agent market, they quietly waited until the Dwightmare was over to go about their business. Their biggest move was signing Andrew Bynum, who was able to get a two-year, $25 million deal (only $6 million of the first season is guaranteed if Bynum is waived before January 7th). Jarrett Jack signed a four-year, $25 million deal a season after leading the Warriors second unit. And Earl Clark signed a two-year, $9 million deal after a breakout season playing for the Lakers and former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni.

Tags: Knicks, RivalryCheck
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Rivalry Check is an ongoing series in which we preview 10 of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

New Faces:?Once last year's trade deadline came and went, the Hawks knew that Josh Smith, their best player (with no slight to Al Horford) was likely headed out of town. ?Acting to replace him and ensure that his team did not become a rebuilding project, GM Danny Ferry made one of the better off-season signings across the league when he stole Paul Milsap -- arguably a better player than Smith considering all the nights Smith kills you with shot selection and effort -- for a fraction of the price. ?After settling on Milsap to fill Smith's void, the Hawks also added?Knick-fan-hopeful Elton Brand and drafted Dennis?Schr?der with the 17th pick in the draft. ?Jared Cunningham, DeMarre Carroll, Pero Antic and Gustavo Ayon round out the players who will be rocking ATL jerseys for the first time this upcoming season.

Departures: Josh Smith was the main loss for this team, but they also shed some important role players who have helped them remain a playoff team over the last couple years in?Zaza Pachulia and DeShawn Stevenson. ?Partly due to the re-signing of budding point guard Josh Teague, the team let Devin Harris walk as well.

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Rivalry Check is an ongoing series in which we preview 10 of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

New Faces: Realizing you are beginning a rebuilding cycle is one of the toughest pills for a fan base to swallow. On June 27, 2013, that reality began to sink in for the city of Boston. Arriving in the trade with division rivals the Brooklyn Nets were a number of high profile, veteran NBA players. The arrival of MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and Keith Bogans changes the landscape for a Celtics team that had become very comfortable with their yearly playoff birth.

The other big addition is their new coach. A member of the Butler coaching staff since 2001, he spent the last seven years as the teams head coach. A very calm and collected leader, he shows very little fire on the sidelines but could be a good fit for the Celtics as they rebuild from the ground up.

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Rivalry Check is an ongoing series in which we preview 10 of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

New Faces: The Brooklyn Nets spent the entire off-season shaking up the Eastern Conference. In a blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics, Billy King acquired two future Hall of Famers in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and journeyman guard Jason Terry. The trade is a move that screams the "win now" mentality, as the teams average age creeps higher and higher. Another new face is actually one of Nets legend. Jason Kidd becoming the coach for the new look Nets is as interesting a move as any. With no coaching experience, he was a floor general as a player so it will be interesting to see what type of immediate impact he has.

Departures: The flip side to the trade with the Celtics are the players now wearing green and white. The trade kept the core of the team intact, with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez all staying in Brooklyn. Just about everyone outside of those three has since departed for Boston. MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and Keith Bogans are no longer Brooklyn Nets, creating a void on the teams bench.

Tags: Knicks, RivalryCheck
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