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Atlantic Division Offseason Roster Changes

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Atlantic Division Offseason Roster Moves

Atlantic Division Offseason Roster Moves
Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

In the 2011-2012 NBA season the Atlantic Division sent 3 teams to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics were the 4-seed. The New York Knicks were the 7-seed. The Philadelphia 76ers were the 8-seed. The Raps were #11, and the (then New Jersey) Nets were #12. This season I like all 5 Atlantic teams to be very real playoff contenders.

Here is last seasons final standings: Boston Celtics 39-27 (8-6 vs Atlantic foes)... New York Knicks - 36-30 (8-6 vs Atlantic)... Philadelphia 76ers - 35-31 (7-6 vs Atlantic)... Toronto Raptors - 23-43 (7-8 vs Atlantic)... Brooklyn Nets - 22-44 (5-9 in Atlantic)

In this slide-show articles we will look at the roster changes for the C's, 76ers, Knicks, Nets.

Big names (and talent) like Jason Terry, Andrew Bynum, and Joe Johnson entered the Atlantic this offseason, as did veterans like Jason Kidd, Darko Milicic, Jason Richardson, and Marcus Camby.

Veterans like Ray Allen, Andre Iguodala, and Elton Brand all find themselves out of the Atlantic now.

There is even a Rasheed Wallace sighting in the Atlantic.

We will see that some teams are also welcoming back key pieces from injury, and some teams added some nice pieces/depth through the draft too.

In the Raptors 17 year history they have been in the former Central Division, and now the Atlantic. The Raps have finished in 1st place just 1 time (yikes). Raps are the last non-Celtics team to win this division. The Celtics are the 5-time defending Atlantic champs. The general consensus seems to be that these Celtics will take a step backwards in 2012-13. I cannot agree as I think the C's will be very deep and very good this season.

Thank you for your read! Please pass it on to fellow Raps fans, and follow me on twitter @Raptors_Rap www.rantsports.com/nba/author/craigballard/ for all my Raptors articles.

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Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics
Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Boston Celtics

GM Danny Ainge made a ton of roster moves this offseason, and the C's also get a pair of guys back from injury. This team really struggled with bench contributions last season, but that was surely addressed this past summer.

The Celtics rid themselves of numerous adequate players like E'Twaun Moore, JaJaun Johnson, Ryan Hollins, Sasha Pavlovic, Michael Pietrus, and Greg Stiemsma.

Ray Allen took his talents to South Beach in a move that has Celtics fans and players furious. Personally I did not get the move at all. He is more important to the Celtics, and the Heat were their rivals. Jesus Shuttleworth plays the same position as Dwyane Wade so come crunch time he is likely on the bench. I was confused by Allen moving teams, and like a lot of fans I was disappointed.

Marquis Daniels and Keyon Dooling are guys who were given numerous opportunities to produce for the C's, but they were disappointing for the most part.

In the draft the C's added some really nice depth. Despite not selecting prior to pick #21 they still were able to add 3 big-men.

Jared Sullinger was very good at Ohio State. Pre-draft scuttlebutt began to circulate that he had issues with his back which is surely a reason he fell to #21. If his back holds up then this was a steal for Boston. A healthy Sullinger can score and rebound at the NBA level.

Fab Melo out of Syracuse University was a nice pick too. The Celts were forced to trade Kendrick Perkins a few years back and Melo is the type of player that can replace him as the last line of defense for the Celtics. Melo provides major consequences at the rim. He will have a chance to fit right in beside Kevin Garnett and give the Celtics the nasty/physical presence they covet at the center spot.

Melo's Syracuse teammate Kris Joseph also was added in the draft. Good Canadian boy who will be a team-first addition and will provide depth for Doc Rivers and the Celtics.

In free-agency the Celtics get an A+. Jason Terry and Courtney Lee were each brought in, and the duo should absolutely be able to replace Allen's production at the SG position. Both are veterans, but both actually bring younger/fresher legs (and scoring) to the team.

Darko Milicic and Jason Collins were brought in for big-man depth. Both are veterans who will boost the bench. Both are at the stage of their careers where they are willing to do whatever it takes to contribute to a winner.

The Celtics happily get Jeff Green (aortic aneurysm) and Chris Wilcox (heart irregularity) back to the team too. Green is a wonderful scorer off the bench. He is a guy that will keep the offense flowing during times where Rivers is resting some starters. Wilcox is an energy guy who could also contribute to the 12-13 Celtics.

I loved the offseason the Celtics had. I feel like the 5-time defending Atlantic champs got better.

craigballard77@myself.com ... @Raptors_Rap

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New York Knicks

New York Knicks
Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

Very recently the thought was that Jeremy Lin, Tony Douglass, and Landry Fields were the future of the Knicks as far as guard play. Baron Davis and Mike Bibby were going to provide veteran play at the guard positions. All 5 of those guys are now elsewhere.

7-year veteran Ronnie Brewer is in. Ex-Knick and 7 year veteran Raymond Felton returns to the big apple. Veteran Jason Kidd left the Dallas Mavericks to join the Knicks. For a team who was going with a youth movement in the back-court we see that changed quickly with the young guys OUT and the veterans IN. The Knicks have been a nightmare for a while now and they wanted to go with veteran players to try to get Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudamire help.

As far as the big-men go we saw the Knicks lose very little (Jared Jeffries, Josh Harrellson, and Dan Gadzuric) and ex-Knicks Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas made their return to add depth.

Speaking of big-man depth how about Rasheed Wallace returning to the NBA as a Knick. This team was already going to be interesting, and Wallace surely adds to that.

New head coach (permanent now, interim tag is gone) Mike Woodson has several new faces to work with. Felton's play will be crucial for the Knicks. Kidd is interesting, and Camby means even when Tyson Chandler needs a breather the Knicks will still have a fantastic shot blocker patrolling the paint.

Thank you for your read! Please pass it on to fellow Raps fans, and follow me on twitter @Raptors_Rap www.rantsports.com/nba/author/craigballard/ for all my Raptors articles.

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Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Philadelphia 76ers had a very interesting offseason. Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks got all the pub this offseason, but Tony DiLeo and his staff were busy too.

Excellent bench performers like Jodie Meeks (former starter too...left via free agency) and Louis Williams (free agency) are gone. Also gone are guys who were starting regularly for Doug Collins like Elton Brand (amnesty clause) Andre Iguodala (trade) and Nikola Vucevic (trade). That is 5 guys who were getting a lot of playing time for Philly.

The 76ers traded for Andrew Bynum. The big fella is down for a while, but the Sixers anticipate being able to re-sign the 7-footer this coming offseason and they are thrilled to have added such a talent (at least potential talent). Bynum (when engaged) is fantastic on offense and defense.

Veteran shooting guards Jason Richardson (trade) and Nick Young (free-agent) should provide Philly with strong play from that position. Both can hit jumpers when Bynum passes out of the double-team.

Small forward Dorell Wright was traded for, and he too is a guy who can hit jumpers for Philly.

Young and Bynum could start for the 76ers, while J-Rich and Wright will provide shooting off the bench.

craigballard77@myself.com ..... @Raptors_Rap

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Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets
Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets had a massive offseason. They were able to shed a ton of dead weight like Jordan Farmar, Gerald Green, Sundiata Gaines, Anthony Morrow, Damian Jones, DeShawn Stevenson, and Sheldon Williams. Not a legit starter in the bunch.

The team was able to re-sign Deron Williams which of course was a big coop for them. D-Will wanted to re-sign after the team acquired SG Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks. These 2 are a very interesting back-court dripping with potential.

Kris Humphries was re-signed, and Brook Lopez returns from injury.

The bench got major upgrades. Andray Blatche is a guy who had a forgettable 2011-12 season, but prior to that he had increased his stats in 5 straight seasons. Impressive. A change of scenery was necessary for Blatche, and a coach like Avery Johnson could well get him back on track.

The Nets also went to the veteran-well to fill out their roster. Josh Childress, Keith Bogans, Reggie Evans, Jerry Stackhouse, and C.J. Watson are all new Nets in 2012-13.

This is the first season for the Nets in Brooklyn so their excitement-level was already going to be way up there, but these additions should also get the fan-base excited.

We remember that Gerald Wallace was also added to this team (as a starter) late last season and he combines with Lopez, Humphries, D-Will, and Johnson for a very good looking starting-5.

craigballard77@myself.com ..... @Raptors_Rap

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Atlantic Division

Atlantic Division
Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

There are several Atlantic teams who made really nice offseason moves. This division already had 3 playoff teams, and the Nets look good now too.

The Raptors were no slouch this offseason. They added 2 lottery picks in Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross. They also added Landry Fields and Kyle Lowry.

Andrea Bargnani returns from injury.

John Lucas III could be an interesting addition. He had his best NBA season last season and could be a depth guy for Dwane Casey.

There was not a lot of talent that left Canada. Jerryd Bayless, Soloman Alabi, James Johnson, and Gary Forbes are now all ex-Raptors.

The Raps are young, but they appear hungry and Casey has them moving in the right direction (especially on the defensive end). Despite last season being a short one the Raps still finished 16 games out of 1st place. It would be a disaster if that happens this season as the roster moves should absolutely improve this team long-term, but even in the short-term.

Bryan Colangelo has provided Casey with a roster that is more to his liking and fits more of what he wants to do.

I feel like all Atlantic teams shed some dead weight and all of them added some great pieces this past summer. I loved the Celtics moves. Knicks are interesting. Nets could get back to relevance for the first time in ages, and the 76ers were already an up-and-coming team and they add Bynum.

The Raps added youth and depth on the wing, as well as guys who will commit to defense for Casey.

Interesting moves-a-plenty in the Atlantic.

Thank you for your read! Please pass it on to fellow Raps fans, and follow me on twitter @Raptors_Rap www.rantsports.com/nba/author/craigballard/ for all my Raptors articles.