NBA offseason recap: Andrew Bynum, Josh Smith among big Central Division additions

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Central could be especially competitive next season after every team made improvements this summer, with the Cavaliers adding the No. 1 pick in the draft and a center who could be great if he's healthy.

It was an especially competitive summer in the Central Division, with no squads making blockbusters, but every team making moves.

The Cleveland Cavaliers found out they'd have a fun offseason before the playoffs were even over. By the luck of the draw, they earned their second No. 1 pick in three seasons and third in 11 years, making the surprise choice to add Anthony Bennett out of UNLV. With Bennett and Kyrie Irving, the future is bright, and with oft-injured star Andrew Bynum in the fold, they've immediately launched a squad that could compete right away -- and has potential to grow.

The biggest move of the offseason in the division might have been the Pistons' addition of Josh Smith, a transaction that keeps them an NBA team but doesn't necessarily put them in the playoff bracket.

Meanwhile, the Bulls and Pacers doubled down on rosters that have already been successful: both added shooters, but both hope for more. The Bulls will get Derrick Rose back after a year off due to injury, and the Pacers hope for a slight improvement on a year that ended one game short of the NBA Finals.

Here's a look at every move teams in the Central Division made this offseason:

Chicago Bulls

Returning players under contract: Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, Nazr Mohammed, Kirk Hinrich, Marquis Teague

Added Lost

Tony Snell

Erik Murphy

Free Agents

Mike Dunleavy

Nate Robinson

Marco Belinelli


Waivers Richard Hamilton

Unwilling to spend despite being the most profitable team in the NBA, it's hard to imagine the Chicago Bulls doing much better in free agency. They lost two key players from last season's injury-plagued squad in Robinson and Belinelli, but the return of MVP Derrick Rose easily outweighs any losses suffered. The team only made one real free agent move this summer, getting Dunleavy for $3 million annually, but that deal's a no-brainer given his versatility and underrated shooting. With ownership refusing to spend like other big-market teams, it wasn't necessarily a bad offseason for Chicago management, but making consistent improvement going forward will continue to be difficult on a tight budget.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Returning players under contract: Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, C.J Miles

Added Lost

Anthony Bennett

Sergey Karasev

Free Agents

Andrew Bynum

Jarrett Jack

Earl Clark

Wayne Ellington

Marreese Speights

Omri Casspi

Shaun Livingston



Kevin Jones

Chris Quinn

A lot of teams shook things up this summer, but nobody's offseason brings up as many possibilities as Cleveland's. This team could potentially make a surge towards the No. 6 seed in the East, but much of that depends on Bynum's surgically repaired knees. Should his problems continue, it's likely the Cavaliers will be back in the lottery next season despite making some major moves. Their offseason doesn't merely involve the former All-Star center, as Jack, Clark, top pick Bennett and fellow first-rounder Karasev could all contribute, but ultimately we'll remember it based on what Bynum does. That is, unless Bennett proves to be the bee's knees.

Detroit Pistons

Returning players under contract: Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, Kyle Singler, Jonas Jerebko, Vyacheslav Kravtsov, Charlie Villanueva, Khris Middleton

Added Lost


Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Tony Mitchell

Free Agents

Josh Smith

Chauncey Billups

Will Bynum

Luigi Datome

Jose Calderon

Corey Maggette

Jason Maxiell



Kim English

Entering the summer with loads of cap space, some Pistons fans likely had flashbacks to the disastrous summer of 2009, but GM Joe Dumars took a radically different route this time. Rather than spread the team's money to a couple of solid free agents, as he did with Villanueva and Ben Gordon four years ago, Dumars went big by bringing in Smith from Atlanta to round out the team's frontcourt. It's still admittedly unclear how the spacing will work on a team that lacks quality shooting, but the Pistons are taking a novel approach, and it could lead to some victories after a few years of pretty bad basketball.

Indiana Pacers

Returning players under contract: Paul George, Roy Hibbert, Danny Granger, George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Ian Mahinmi, Orlando Johnson

Added Lost


Solomon Hill

Free Agents

David West

Chris Copeland

C.J. Watson

Donald Sloan

D.J. Augustin

Tyler Hansbrough

Jeff Pendergraph


Luis Scola

Gerald Green

Miles Plumlee


After forcing the Miami Heat to Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pacers simply sought to rebuild their bench this summer. With the return of small forward Danny Granger being the big addition to next season's roster, Indiana's moves this offseason were mostly designed to fill the gaps between an already impressive core. With the re-signing of West, the Pacers will be able to trot out one of the best six-man rotations in the league, as either Granger or Stephenson will presumably be the top reserve. Either way, adding Copeland, Watson and Scola gives the team some serious improvement over Green, Augustin and Hansbrough, so an already great Pacers team should be even better in 2013-14.

Milwaukee Bucks

Returning players under contract: Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson, Ekpe Udoh, Ish Smith

Added Lost


Giannis Antetokounmpo

Nate Wolters

Free Agents

Carlos Delfino

O.J. Mayo

Zaza Pachulia

Gary Neal

Samuel Dalembert

Marquis Daniels

Mike Dunleavy Jr.

Monta Ellis

J.J. Redick

Joel Przybilla


Luke Ridnour

Luc Mbah a Moute


Drew Gooden

Gustavo Ayon

Fending off the title-or-tank philosophy that's permeated the league, the Bucks made a number of moves this offseason to build around a young core of big men. Instead of simply letting go of key players to gain some ping pong balls for the much anticipated 2014 draft, Milwaukee added some solid role players and positioned itself as a playoff possibility. It's an unusual approach as teams increasingly refuse to settle for lower playoff seeds. However, after failing to build a legitimate contender around guards like Ellis and Brandon Jennings, it's probably time Milwaukee tries something new -- though the Jennings situation has yet to be settled. This offseason could end up yielding another three years of mediocrity, but Sanders, Henson and Ilyasova have the ability to change that forecast.

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