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Here are the five teams who need to be successful in free agency

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Free agency is finally upon us and teams across the league can now begin working their magic by trying to lure the best players available on the market with a mixture of both cash and promises. 

This period is the busiest in the NBA calendar and can make a significant difference to a team's hopes of being successful. For many of the 30 teams, their objectives for the season hinge on free agency and who they can acquire. 

With the salary cap due to rise to approximately $94 million, this particular free agency could see the largest contracts ever dished out in one summer. 

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The players who will hit this open market will benefit hugely from the salary increase, so it therefore comes as no surprise that there have been opt-outs left, right and centre.

For the 2016-17 campaign, there are some teams who need to make full use of free agency more than others and be successful in their pursuit of a marquee player.

Here are five franchises who need to benefit significantly from this year's free agency class:

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

The Purple and Gold are one of the biggest organisations in the NBA and have been languishing in mediocrity for far too long. After a franchise-worst season, where they ended with a 17-65 record, things have to change in L.A. and their best hope will be to attract a proven player in free agency. 

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers

After Kobe Bryant's retirement, the Lakers have opened up at least $56m in cap space to spend on multiple players. But who can they attract?

Of course, in an ideal world, the team would love to bring in the best player available in Kevin Durant, but their hopes of acquiring the superstar appear very slim indeed. KD scheduled meetings with six teams and the Lakers were not one of them, which tells its own story. 

But after drafting the talented Brandon Ingram at small forward, the Pacific Division outfit can concentrate on bringing in a center which has always been their priority. 

With the likes of Hassan Whiteside and Al Horford available, they need to attract somebody of this calibre to possibly mount a playoff push next season.

Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat - Game Five

DALLAS MAVERICKS

Free agency has rarely been kind to the Mavericks. The saga involving DeAndre Jordan is still fresh in the memory of the Dallas faithful and so, unsurprisingly, the fans won't be getting their hopes up. But, the truth of the matter is, the Mavs need to make moves to improve their roster.

With Dirk Nowitzki set to re-sign with the Texas-based team, they can't continue to rely on him as the franchise player at the age of 38. The German took a pay-cut with his last deal to help the team attract some star names and due to his undeniable loyalty to the Mavericks, he's likely to do so again. 

Therefore, it's down to owner Mark Cuban and the front office to surround him with the necessary talent to become a serious threat in the Western Conference again. Reports state that they have secured meetings with Miami Heat's Whiteside and point guard Mike Conley, which is a good start. 

NEW YORK KNICKS

The Knicks would probably swap their problems for those being suffered currently by the Lakers and the Mavs. At least those two teams have seen championship winning campaigns in the last six years, New York hasn't seen one since 1973. They haven't even made the postseason in the last three campaigns. 

Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks

The pressure is now on president Phil Jackson to justify the huge salary he's earning to make the acquisitions he was brought in to do. Last week, the Zen Master completed his biggest trade yet by bringing in All-Star point guard Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls. 

Though that move is encouraging, fans in The Big Apple are still not satisfied. Like the Lakers, they too have failed to secure a meeting with Durant and will have to settle for another name to add to to the roster.

Due to the addition of Rose, the name of Joakim Noah has cropped up in regards to a potential move to Madison Square Garden. Dwight Howard is another player who they should consider as a defensive anchor and should be a priority as, quite frankly, Carmelo Anthony and D.Rose won't be playing much D.

BOSTON CELTICS

The Celtics are on this list for entirely different reasons. They can fail to bring in a player during this free agency and still have a good season. 

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics - Game Six

But the C's are an ambitious franchise and are not satisfied with being good. It's no secret that their main goal for this offseason is to attract a marquee player that help them make that transition from good to great. 

They tried, and failed, to lure Jimmy Butler from the Bulls on draft night after offering their number three draft pick and other assets, so their only hope appears to be in the free agency market. 

Unlike the Lakers and Knicks, they have been scheduled a meeting with Durant and will need to produce an extraordinary pitch to woo the seven-time All-Star to Massachusetts. 

With a talented young team and a brilliant young coach in Brad Stevens, the foundations are there for Boston to contend in the coming years, but they need that star quality to make it happen. 

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics - Game Six

HOUSTON ROCKETS

The Rockets scraped into the playoffs last year, but that didn't gloss over the dreadful campaign they endured. After firing Kevin McHale just 11 games into the season, things went from bad to worse in Clutch City. 

With free agent Dwight Howard opting out of his contract and certain to find a new home, the Rockets are one star player short. That leaves James Harden as the only big name on the Houston roster and if they fail to replace Dwight and/or add more pieces this summer, the Texas-based outfit could be in for a rocky year. 

It will be down to general manager Daryl Morey to give new coach Mike D'Antoni the tools he needs to build a successful unit that can somehow try and hit the dizzy heights the team reached in 2014/15 when they made the Conference Finals.

Topics:
NBA
Western Conference
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
New York Knicks
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Boston Celtics

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