So what teams in the Eastern Conference did the most to improve for the 2015-16 season? The availability of cap space and the status of retaining one's own free agents factors into what teams are able to do. The countdown starts with teams that did the least to enhance its roster -- and depending on the team that could be a good thing.
No. 9, Celtics
Last season's record: 40-42. Finish: Seventh in East.
Key additions: In June, drafted PG Terry Rozier at 16th overall, SF R.J. Hunter 28th and PF Jordan Mickey at No. 33. Signed PF Amir Johnson as a free agent from the Toronto Raptors and brought in SF Perry Jones in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder who needed to dump salary. Also acquired PF David Lee in a trade with the Golden State Warriors.
The skinny: If coach Brad Stevens can get last year's team into the playoffs, even though the conference overall was weak, what can he do with this group? Johnson is a proven starter who has developed three-point range and their draft picks appear to be sound choices. Hunter is a bit undersized and needs to put on weight and more strength. Jones has yet to break out but has showed he can play and maybe the change of scenery helps. Fs Jonas Jerebko and Jae Crowder re-signed to stay. What the Celtics still don't have is a dominant player who can take over a game and win it when everything else is going badly.
Projected finish: Eighth. Even if they get off to a bad start trying to find their identity, they'll be in the mix at the end. Slipping a spot won't mean they've taken a step back. It'll mean the conference is much better despite their strides.
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LeBron James has begun assembling his team to take on the Monstars in Space Jam 2, and as you'd expect, the roster is full of star power.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, and Klay Thompson are expected to have key roles, along with WNBA players Diana Taurasi and Nneka Ogwumike. Several other NBA and WNBA players, including Nneka's sister Chiney Ogwumike, are expected to appear in the movie.
Fittingly, Davis will be teaming up with James in real life too, after the Lakers acquired the All-Star big man from the Pelicans.
Space Jam 2 is scheduled to hit theaters on July 16, 2021. The movie will be produced by Black Panther and Creed director Ryan Coogler, while Terence Nance will direct.
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A person with knowledge of the decision says the Memphis Grizzlies have traded veteran point guard Mike Conley, who has played the most games in franchise history, to the Utah Jazz.
The person says the Grizzlies swapped Conley for Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver and Grayson Allen. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because neither Memphis nor Utah has announced the trade.
ESPN.com first reported the deal, which it says also includes Utah's No. 23 pick overall in Thursday night's draft.
Conley was the final piece of the core that led the Grizzlies to seven consecutive playoff berths, including the 2013 Western Conference Finals. Zach Randolph and Tony Allen left in 2017 as free agents, and Memphis traded Marc Gasol to Toronto in February, splitting up a duo that had been the NBA's longest-tenured teammates. Gasol went on to help the Raptors win their first NBA title.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has since confirmed that Memphis will also be receiving a 2020 protected first-round pick, which will either convey as a late-lottery pick in 2020 and 2021 or become a lightly-protected pick from 2022-2024.
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