After the draft, it is always fun to look at which teams have the least amount of things to worry about entering the season. This list is ranked is 1-5, 1 being the clearest situation in the NBA as of now.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
All of these players are locked up through at least the 2017-2018 season: Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, JR Smith, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, and Iman Shumpert.
This is sort of a double-edged sword for Cleveland. On one hand, they have little to worry about come free agency in July. However, this means that they have such little room to improve, already locked into paying 26 million dollars above the projected salary cap of 99 million dollars. Nonetheless, Cleveland has a very clear situation with almost nothing up in the air.
It is rare for a 55 win team in the West to be 3 million dollars under the salary cap. It is also rare for that same great team to return its 5 best players in James Harden, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, and Lou Williams.
Although this is a better situation than Cleveland considering the Rockets will have about 12 million dollars in cap space on July 1st (the start of free agency), the Rockets remain the third best team in their conference. The Cavaliers snagged the top spot off this list with their sheer dominance over the East the past three years.
4 of their 5 starters are locked in through at least next season. This isn’t your average starting 5, either. John Wall and Bradley Beal’s brilliant skill makes a terrific pair with the inside physicality of Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris.
This team is just behind Cleveland and Houston in terms of both skill level and talent locked in for next year, so they sit at the third spot. Also, this team has nowhere to go but up, as they are among the few teams to go from a non-playoff team to a top 4 seed by basically just hiring a new coach in Scott Brooks.
They have two top 20 NBA talents in Karl Anthony-Towns and Jimmy Butler. They also have stellar talent in Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio. They land themselves here entering free agency because their biggest impending free agent is Brandon Rush, a role player.
This team has a heck of a lot of young talent that is already top tier. On top of that, this team has not reached their full potential yet. That sentence should scare the entire Western Conference.
Although this team is incredibly young and has the keys of the franchise in the hands of four players under the age of 24, they have a huge amount of potential. They also have lots of talent that are under contract for three or four more years.
The final thing that gets them on this list is that even though they are not quite great yet, it is always comforting that the only thing up in the air in free agency is getting better. At least the 76ers will not take a massive hit in a month, something that the Clippers and Warriors will be worrying about.