With training camps starting, here are complete roster breakdowns for all 30 NBA teams, along with the top storylines, decisions and questions to watch over the next three weeks.
Plus, at the bottom of this story we include an explanation about how two-way and Exhibit 10 contracts will work this season.
Key: 2 (Two-way) | N (Non-guaranteed) | E (Exhibit 10) | I (Injured) | S (Suspended) | P (Partial)
What to watch: The role and health of Jeremy Lin
Like a veteran NFL quarterback mentoring a young rookie, Lin will be expected to guide rookie point guard Trae Young. This partnership will depend on Lin's health and willingness to accept the role in a contract year.
If Lin resembles the player we saw in Charlotte during the 2015-16 season, Atlanta will have an invaluable insurance policy as Young develops -- similar to what Kemba Walker had with the Hornets.
What to watch: Willingness to sacrifice for the team
In Boston, there is only one goal this season: Win a championship. It will come down to how Brad Stevens and his coaching staff manage not just the product on the court but the expectations within the locker room.
With the emergence of Jayson Tatum and with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward now healthy, Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris move back to the bench. Both players are in the final year of their contracts and are looking for substantial pay increases next summer.
What to watch: Is D'Angelo Russell ready to take that next step?
There is no fourth-year player who faces as much pressure as Russell. Not only is the point guard likely entering a contract year, his play is also critical to Brooklyn being able to draw free agents next summer. His game could also determine the future of backup Spencer Dinwiddie, who is in the final year of his contract and extension-eligible in early December.
The opportunity is there for the 22-year-old Russell to become the face of the franchise. The question now comes down to if Russell can stay healthy (he missed 33 games last year) and be trusted to be the lead guard for the foreseeable future.
What to watch: The daily temperature of Kemba Walker
What does the future hold for the All-Star point guard?
Entering the final year of his contract, Walker has made clear his desire to remain in Charlotte. The guard has also made it known that winning will be an important factor in his decision. The Hornets have appeared in the playoffs twice since Walker was drafted in 2011 and rank No. 22 in ESPN's preseason BPI ratings, with a 36 percent chance of reaching the playoffs.
What to watch: Experimentation with different lineups
Can Jabari Parker play small forward next to Chicago's power forward of the future, Lauri Markkanen? With three weeks before the first game of the season, head coach Fred Hoiberg begins the process of experimenting with different lineups.
Besides Parker, Chicago has to implement a healthy Zach LaVine and also rookie Wendell Carter Jr. How both perform during preseason will be an early indication of the future for Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday. Both players will be free agents in 2019.
What to watch: When does Collin Sexton become the entrenched starter?
Besides identifying a second scorer next to Kevin Love, the training camp focus in Cleveland is not if Sexton will become the starting point guard but when.
A top-eight pick in June, Sexton is the bridge to the post- LeBron James era. Similar to the Lin and Young relationship in Atlanta, veteran point guard George Hill will need to serve as a mentor to Sexton, with the understanding that he will eventually be replaced by the rookie in the starting lineup. If Sexton has a strong preseason, that time might come sooner rather than later.
What to watch: Tempering the expectation level for Luka Doncic
The last we saw Doncic, he was leading European powerhouse Real Madrid to a Euroleague championship in late June. Despite not playing in summer league, league observers have penciled in Doncic as one of the favorites for Rookie of the Year.
While his body of work in Europe certainly warrants the early accolades, remember that the learning curve for rookie point guards can be humbling. Also factor in some expected growing pains with Doncic and last year's lottery pick (and starting point guard) Dennis Smith Jr. in Dallas' backcourt.
After both players experienced a 2017-18 filled with injuries and setbacks, the Nuggets are optimistic that Thomas can become the reliable backup they lacked last season and that Porter can regain the form that had him projected to be a top-three pick before the college basketball season began.
Still, expect the Nuggets to take a cautious approach with both. Drafting Porter was more about the future, not this season. And although Thomas is in a contract year, he learned in Cleveland (and Boston) that returning from an injury too soon will hurt him both on the court and financially.
What to watch: Former first-round pick Henry Ellenson
To say that Ellenson is at a crossroads in just his third season would be an understatement. Seldom used in his first two seasons, the power forward now has a clean slate with new head coach Dwane Casey and an opportunity to provide backup minutes to Blake Griffin.
With an Oct. 31 deadline to exercise Ellenson's fourth-year team option ($2.85 million), Detroit will have five weeks to evaluate the big man. If the Pistons decline the option, it will be more about roster flexibility than cap space. The Pistons will be over the salary cap when free agency begins next July barring a big move.
What to watch: Blocking out the summer-of-2019 noise
Control the present and don't let the future become a distraction -- that should be the slogan in the Warriors' practice facility this season.
Besides trying to win a third consecutive championship, Golden State has two free agents -- Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, plus possibly DeMarcus Cousins if he returns to All-Star form -- that sit atop the wish list of teams with cap space in 2019. The Warriors will also be faced with a record-high luxury tax penalty in 2019-20.
Thompson and Durant could be inundated this season with questions about the future, especially when visiting big market teams with cap space (Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, etc.). Will it be a non-story or turn into a distraction during a long season?
What to watch: The depth at point guard
There is no question that Chris Paul plays like an All-Star when he's on the court. The troubling part for Houston is that he has missed 43 games over the past two seasons with knee, groin and hamstring injuries. His absence was felt in the Western Conference finals, when starters James Harden and Eric Gordon were asked to make up for CP3.
Now heading into training camp, Houston has added Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Knight at the point. Carter-Williams has struggled with consistency, while Knight missed last season with a torn ACL and will likely miss training camp after having the same knee cleaned up.
What to watch: Managing expectations
The Pacers went from a team that was projected to miss the playoffs to winning 48 games and nearly making the second round. Now with many of the same faces and an improved bench, they're expected to compete with the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
Now come roadblocks for Nate McMillan and his staff to manage:
1. Seven players in contract years.
2. Managing the minutes of a deep bench.
3. The mentality of Myles Turner if a contract extension is not reached by the October deadline.
What to watch: Competition for the final roster spot
Although Patrick Beverley has a non-guaranteed contract, the point guard is a virtual lock to be on the roster for the first game of the season and possibly as the starter.
With Beverley not in danger of being released (though keep an eye on him in trade talks), L.A. has one roster spot open with a choice between Jawun Evans, Sindarius Thornwell and Tyrone Wallace. Both Evans and Thornwell have guaranteed contracts and Wallace has $300K in guaranteed money. All three players have non-guaranteed contracts for 2019-20.
What to watch: The balancing act of youth vs. veterans
Out of L.A.'s 14 players with guaranteed contracts, eight have been drafted within the past three years and six were signed as free agents this summer. Despite the additions of LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers rank as the fourth-youngest team in the NBA.
The addition of James certainly has the Lakers in win-now mode, but keep in mind that head coach Luke Walton will be tested early with two questions:
1. Which players can he trust when the game is close?
2. How patient will he be with the younger players? It's important not to lose sight of player development.
What to watch: A full training camp under J.B. Bickerstaff
After an injury-plagued 15-48 season during which Bickerstaff inherited the team following David Fizdale's firing, the former assistant coach begins his first training camp as head coach with eight players returning, including a healthy Mike Conley, veteran additions Shelvin Mack, Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi, and heralded rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. The revolving door at small forward seems to be closed with Kyle Anderson in town.
One under-the-radar addition for Memphis is the coaching staff that Bickerstaff has assembled. Memphis has four assistants -- Jerry Stackhouse, Nick Van Exel, Greg Buckner and Vitaly Potapenko -- who have played in the NBA.
To be kind, Hassan Whiteside has been inconsistent in his first two seasons since signing a $98 million contract. The center has the makings of an All-Star, but he's disappointed on the court, especially last season when his minutes decreased to 25.3 per game.
If the Heat are going to get off the treadmill of mediocrity, Whiteside's play -- plus his relationship with the coaching staff -- will be key.
Coming off a left ankle injury and in Year 2 of a $47 million contract, the concerns with Waiters are all about health. In the past two seasons, he has missed 76 games and plays a position at which the team is overloaded. He has still not been cleared to play.
What to watch: The impact of head coach Mike Budenholzer
Has Milwaukee had a roster problem or a coaching problem? The evidence over the past four years is that this roster is average at best, topping out at 44 wins and first-round exits.
While you could make the case that injuries derailed the Bucks from competing with the top teams in the Eastern Conference, in reality they've seemingly failed to put the right pieces around Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.
The answer to that question should become more clear if Milwaukee doesn't make a leap under former Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer.
What to watch: The future of Jimmy Butler
After requesting a trade one week prior to training camp, the All-Star was granted permission to miss media day and will not be on the floor for the first practice. While nobody should be surprised that Butler wants out, the timing and the reluctance of the Timberwolves' front office to entertain trade offers puts a cloud over the organization.
Because Butler is in the last year of his contract, Minnesota has little leverage. The Timberwolves are also at a disadvantage because the three teams Butler would consider extending with -- the Nets, Knicks and Clippers -- have cap space next summer to sign him outright without risking draft picks or young players now.
As one team executive told ESPN, "The Timberwolves will be lucky to get 50 cents on the dollar in return for Butler."
What to watch: Can Jahlil Okafor regain his old form?
We tend to forget, based on his first three seasons in the NBA, that Jahlil Okafor is only 22.
After being a top-three pick and earning All-Rookie his first year, Okafor is now fighting for one of the final roster spots with the Pelicans. Despite Okafor's youth, the reality is that the Pelicans represent his best and likely last chance to stay in the league.
What to watch: Joakim Noah
While the Knicks are still planning to waive Noah, it will not be because the veteran is giving back a significant amount of money like Luol Deng did with the Lakers. Noah will likely retain the full $37.8 million owed to him, with the last year ($19.3 million) stretched over three seasons starting in 2019-20 ($6.4 million annually). If Noah gives anything back, it will likely be the amount of the veterans minimum this season ($2.4 million).
Though Noah likely would have been waived before the start of free agency next July or traded with a first-round pick attached, New York has made it clear that the focus this season is about player development under new head coach David Fizdale.
However, that $6 million cap hit carries concerns. What happens if the Knicks strike out in free agency and the Noah savings have no significance? Instead of having $19.3 million come off the books, New York will be stuck with dead salary through 2021-22.
What to watch: The second unit
The trade to acquire Dennis Schroder has already paid off for the Thunder with Russell Westbrook missing at least the entire preseason. While Westbrook should not miss significant time, OKC is playing a waiting game with Andre Roberson. Since last season, Roberson has undergone two knee surgeries, including the most recent one in late May. Like last year, his void will need to be filled by committee with the likes of Alex Abrines, Terrance Ferguson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.
The timing of Roberson's full return could dictate if the Thunder are a top-four team in the Western Conference or one just competing for one of the final playoff spots.
What to watch: Starting point guard
Will the trade to acquire Jerian Grant in July be enough to offset Orlando's PG questions? The Magic have a former first-round pick in Grant already on his third team in three seasons, a journeyman in D.J. Augustin, who is more of a backup, and a shooting guard disguised as a point in Isaiah Briscoe.
In the past three seasons, Grant and Augustin have a combined 116 starts with neither averaging more than 24 minutes MPG. Expect the two to split the minutes at point guard this season.
What to watch: The makeover of the bench
Gone are Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova. In are Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. The newcomers add to an unbalanced 76ers bench that has six point guards (including both two-way players). Like in the playoffs, expect to see plenty of McConnell this season playing off the ball. Philadelphia does have first-round pick Zhaire Smith, but the wing was lost in early August with a broken foot.
Of course, the X-factor is what Philadelphia can get from former top pick Markelle Fultz. If Fultz reverts back to the player we saw in college, a suspect bench will become a strength.
What to watch: The unknown at point guard
The starting backcourt that new head coach Igor Kokoskov envisioned for the first day of training camp likely was not Shaquille Harrison and Troy Daniels.
The Suns were already depleted in the backcourt before Devin Booker had hand surgery that will sideline him until late October, and now they face the reality of a point guard situation that features Harrison, rookies Elie Okobo and De'Anthony Melton, plus veteran Isaiah Canaan.
What to watch: The lingering hangover from the first-round exit
The last we saw of the Trail Blazers, they were walking off the court in New Orleans after suffering a sweep to Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.
Now heading into training camp with a roster that ranks second youngest and that saw minimal additions because of luxury tax restrictions, Portland will face the challenges of returning to the playoffs in a deep conference.
While preseason is still an extended honeymoon from the offseason, keep an eye on whether there are lingering effects from the disappointing end to last season.
What to watch: Harry Giles
The Kings rightfully have been maligned for their recent draft history. However, good things are ahead with 2017 first-round pick Harry Giles.
After a redshirt year to rehab both knees that limited him at Duke, Giles enters camp as a likely favorite to crack the Kings' rotation that is top-heavy with big men. Of course, that is if his play is comparable to his performances this summer and he can avoid health setbacks.
The play of Giles in preseason could also impact the future of Willie Cauley-Stein. With Sacramento at an impasse on extension talks with Cauley-Stein, the Kings could discover a less expensive option with Giles.
What to watch: Rudy Gay
Last season we were watching to see if Gay could recover from an Achilles injury. Now the question is his ability to fill the void at small forward with Kawhi Leonard no longer on the roster
Can Gay find the same pre-injury production he had in Memphis and Sacramento? Last year he appeared in only 57 games with a career low in MPG (21.6)
What to watch: The health of Kawhi Leonard
If Leonard returns to All-NBA form, Toronto will contend with the likes of Boston and Philadelphia for a trip to the NBA Finals. If he does not, questions about his future will linger over the organization heading into the February trade deadline, and the Raptors could be forced into a massive rebuild.
After Leonard missed 73 games last season with a right thigh injury, expect the Raptors' training staff to take a conservative approach with Kawhi during the preseason.
What to watch: A full training camp of Dante Exum
Consider the three-year, $29 million Exum contract an investment for the future. After all, it is hard to justify the $9 million per year salary for a player who has missed 158 games in his first four seasons.
Now that Exum is healthy, Utah is looking for him to fill two roles -- as a reliable backup to Ricky Rubio and as a possible replacement with Rubio in the last year of his contract.
What to watch: Jordan McRae
It is rare for a player on a two-way contract to be a major preseason storyline. With Jodie Meeks suspended for Washington's first 19 games, expect McRae to have an opportunity to be a part of the Wizards' rotation for the first month of the season.
While losing Meeks, the Wizards do benefit financially. The suspension allows Washington to carry an extra roster spot, and McRae's two-way deal doesn't carry a cap hit.
Exhibit 10s and two-ways
More than 50 players have signed an Exhibit 10, a contract that was introduced in the 2017 collective bargaining agreement (CBA). It's a win-win for the team and player.
On an Exhibit 10, a player such as the Hawks' Thomas Robinson will receive a bonus up to $50,000 -- on top of his G League salary -- if he signs a contract with the team's affiliate upon being waived from the parent club. To receive the bonus, a player must remain with his G League team for a minimum of 60 days. This bonus does not count as salary toward the tax.
Teams such as Denver, New Orleans and Portland cannot sign a player to an Exhibit 10 because they do not have a G League affiliate. If the Pelicans had a G League team, there would have been no need to guarantee Garlon Green and Kenrich Williams $50K each.
When injuries decimated the Clippers' depth last season, Tyrone Wallace and CJ Williams were activated on two-way deals and received extended playing time. In the past, L.A. would have had to sign a player to a 10-day contract, which would have added salary to a team that was right at the luxury tax.
A team like the Nets can call up Alan Williams to serve on their active or inactive roster for up to 45 days during the regular season. On top of his $77,250 G League salary, Williams would also earn a prorated minimum per-day salary of $4,737 during a call-up. Once the 45 days expire, Williams would either have to be sent back to the G League or have his contract converted to a minimum salary. Converting the contract would require the Nets to use an open roster spot.
One advantage: A player who practices or participates in a game before the start of G League training camp or after the final game of the regular season will not have that time count toward the allotted 45 days. The rule allows a player to accrue an extra 24 days.