Power moves for East teams

Projections along with what each club must do to reach next level of success

Updated: July 3, 2013, 12:26 PM ET
By Bradford Doolittle | ESPN Insider

Jams/WadeDerick E. Hingle/USA TODAY SportsLeBron James and Dwyane Wade are back-to-back champs. Can they make it three in a row?

The offseason strategies of the 30 teams across the NBA are coming into focus as the rosters churn on what seems like an hourly basis. Every summer, there are teams that seem to be "going for it" when the "it" in question might be a .500 record. Other teams seem more patient than they ought to be, because it appears one or two key moves could vault them into the championship picture.

I assume that the end goal of every NBA organization is to win a championship. That might seem obvious, but too often teams make moves that run contrary to that assumption. Building a title-caliber roster is usually a multiyear process, so the success or failure of any one season can be judged on other criteria. However, you need to be able to step back and look at the big-picture steps a franchise is taking to see how they could eventually lead to title contention.

With most rosters getting at least a mild makeover, it's a good time to assess where each team currently sits, what its approach appears to be and where it's all heading. To do this, I employed the ATH-based projection system of NBAPET, my collection of integrated spreadsheets that serves as a projection, evaluation and tracking model.

In a nutshell, the system uses ATH ratings to generate baseline projections for each player, then integrates the baseline forecasts into 30 team forecasts. Since there are only 1,230 wins to go around, every move affects every other team. So every time a transaction occurs and I update the rosters and balance the minutes, the projected standings change at least a little.

Before you get too excited about the specific team projections, you should be aware that I've left all unrestricted free agents off any roster until they've reached an agreement with their current or new team. Teams that already have their 2013-14 rotation more or less set are going to have a big advantage over teams with a lot of flux.

The projections will change on a daily basis, sometimes significantly. What you read here is an early snapshot of where teams stand at this moment of the offseason and the path each team is taking.

For each team, I've listed whether they appear to be in one of three modes: win now, developing or tearing down. I've also noted where I think they should be. Also, note that I've included all moves that have been confirmed by ESPN, but obviously nothing is official until the league's moratorium ends on July 10.

Click here for the Western Conference. Otherwise, let's take a look at the Eastern Conference, listed in alphabetical order.

Atlanta Hawks

Current projection: 28-54 (26th in NBA) | Playoff/Title odds: 0%/0% | 5-year WARP: 99.0 (11th)
What their approach appears to be: Developing
What their approach should be: Developing
Plan of action: The Hawks probably held onto their second-round-upside core for too long, but GM Danny Ferry pushed Atlanta off that treadmill by unloading Joe Johnson on Brooklyn last summer. Now he's doing his due diligence by meeting with hometown hero Dwight Howard, but with that acquisition unlikely and Chris Paul off the board, Ferry would do well to bank his cap space for next season's talent-rich summer.

What Ferry must avoid is latching onto next-level free agents in order to save face after missing the home run signing. It's a good time to develop Dennis Schroeder, Lucas Nogueira and John Jenkins. The question is whether franchise stalwart Al Horford would be willing to wait out a full-on rebuild. The Hawks would have no shortage of suitors if he were made available.

Power move: With Howard and Paul off the table, Ferry lets Smith walk and deals Horford to Cleveland for Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller.