Who each Eastern Conference team would protect in an expansion draft

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With rumours flying around about a potential expansion in the NBA following the completion of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, we thought it would be interesting to predict what that could mean for the league, much like the world of NBA 2K has in recent years.

An expansion draft would ensue that if more teams were added, they would get to choose from a pool of players the other teams in their conference released.

So, here is who we believe would be held onto by each franchise in the Eastern Conference. Remember, each team can only secure eight players. Here is the Western Conference edition

Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Channing Frye, Mike Dunleavy, Jordan McRae

This roster is built on the assumption that J.R. Smith does not return. If he does, youngster Jordan McRae might be in trouble, but then again, McRae's potential may be worth investing in. LeBron wouldn't like that decision, though.

Toronto Raptors

Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, DeMarre Carroll, Jonas Valancuinas, Jared Sullinger, Cory Joseph, Jacob Poetl, Patrick Patterson

Miami Heat

Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Dion Waiters, Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson, Udonis Haslem, James Johnson

Atlanta Hawks

Dennis Schroeder, Kent Bazemore, Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap, Kris Humphries, Thabo Sefolosha, Tiago Splitter, Kyle Korver

Tim Hardaway is the big name to miss out in Atlanta (big-ish) and with Thabo Sefolosha's and Kent Bazemore's ability to play at the two, there was no need to bring Hardaway aboard.

Charlotte Hornets

Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Nicolas Batum, Marco Belinelli, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, Frank Kaminsky

Some tough decisions were made for the Hornets, particularly in the big man department. 23-year-old Frank Kaminsky got the nod ahead of Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes, the former of which has been an All-Star during his NBA career. Despite both having stints in L.A, Hibbert was non-descript last season to be polite. Better to roll the dice with potential on this occasion.

Indiana Pacers

Jeff Teague, Monta Ellis, Paul Geroge, Thaddeus Young, Myles Turner, Al Jefferson, C.J Miles, Georges Niang

Boston Celtics

Isiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Al Horford, Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Tyler Zeller, Gerald Green

Detroit Pistons

Reggie Jackson, Ish Smith, Andre Drummond, Marcus Morris, Stanley Johnson, Boban Marjonovic, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tobias Harris

Chicago Bulls

Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Robin Lopez, Denzel Valentine, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott, Tony Snell

The growing Bobby Portis is the odd one out in the Windy City and it was a straight battle between the Arkansas product or Tony Snell. The latter has shown more in his short career on the hardwood, and his durability next to Mirotic or McDermott is appealling.

Washington Wizards

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, Marcus Thornton, Otto Porter, Jason Smith, Trey Burke

Orlando Magic

Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Bismack Biyonbo, Serge Ibaka, Mario Herzonja, Nikola Vucevic, Jodie Meeks

For the Magic, it's a straight shot between Jeff Green and Jodie Meeks. With Gordon, Ibaka, Biyombo and Vucevic already clogging up the front court, Meeks bring more value at the two-spot. If he can get over his injuries, he can bring points from the bench.

Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michael Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, Greg Monroe, Jabari Parker, Miles Plumlee, Michael Beasley, Matthew Dellavedova

2016 10th overall draft pick Thon Maker and Jason 'Jet' Terry are the unlucky pair with the Buck's restructure. Although Maker is a center with a ton of athletic upside, the Bucks can play Monroe or Plumlee at that spot. With the Greek Freak Antetokounmpo likely to clock minutes in the backcourt, there was no room for the three-point prowess of 39-year-old Terry, either.

New York Knicks

Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, Brandon Jennings, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Joakim Noah, Marshall Plumlee, Justin Holiday

Brooklyn Nets

Jeremy Lin, Brook Lopez, Luis Scola, Bojan Bogdanovic, Randy Foye, Chris McCulloch, Anthony Bennett, Sean Kilpatrick

Philadelphia 76ers

Jerryd Bayless, Dario Saric, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Hollis Thompson, Nik Stauskas

The crowded frontcourt of the Sixers is problematic on the court, but, as the saying goes: "An asset is an asset." Gerald Henderson has to feel the cold shoulder in the City of Brotherly Love, but there is no point in the Sixers getting too attached to their guards - recent results indicate why.

LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Miami Heat
Southeast Division
Dwyane Wade
Chicago Bulls

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