The Knicks had been expecting all along that Hernangomez, their second-round pick from 2015, would be ready to join the team in advance of the 2016-17 season, and his arrival was made even more likely after the team dealt starting center Robin Lopez away to the Bulls on Wednesday. While the Knicks are expected to replace Lopez in the lineup with a veteran center available in free agency, the 22-year-old Hernangomez could still find himself as a rotation player in his first season. He excelled while playing in Europe's top league last season for Spanish club Real Madrid, averaging 6.1 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 65 percent from the field.
Drummond cemented himself as one of the game's top centers last season with the Pistons, averaging 16.2 points (on 52.1% shooting from the field), 14.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks across 32.9 minutes per game. Though he received an invite to play for the U.S. and may have been a candidate to start at center for the squad, Drummond decided he was better served taking the summer off to work out on his own. He'll be well rested in advance of the Pistons' training camp in the fall and could take his game to greater heights as he enters his age-23 campaign.
With several NBA stars declining invitations to Rio, Team USA will comprised of many new faces, which would include Jordan, who has yet to play in the Olympics Games. The 27-year-old could figure to be in the starting rotation for Team USA alongside DeMarcus Cousins, who is the only confirmed big man on the roster at this point. Sources report that Pistons' center Andre Drummond has removed his name from consideration, prompting the need for Jordan on the roster.
Noah was relegated to the bench in the beginning of the season, then had to be shut down with a shoulder injury. He was terrible offensively, but still managed to contribute on the glass in limited minutes. Noah is a free agent this summer and while the Bulls have said they are open to bringing Noah back, that now appears unlikely with the addition of Robin Lopez.
With Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah set to become free agents this offseason and both players expected to head to new locales, Lopez should slot in as the Bulls' starting center on the heels of a respectable first season with the Knicks. While playing all 82 games in 2015-16, Lopez averaged 10.3 points (on 53.9% shooting from the field), 7.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He'll give the Bulls the sort of physical presence down low that they were missing for much of last season while Noah was injured, but shouldn't be expected to notice much further growth in his offensive game as he enters his age-28 season.
Howard largely struggled this past season, seeing his lowest offensive numbers since his rookie season with 13.7 points per game. Howard and James Harden appeared to clash both on and off the hardwood, so it seems unlikely he'll return to Houston despite both parties leaving the option open. With that being said, Howard's defensive capabilities remain one of the better options in the league, meaning the 30-year-old center should receive a ton of attention on the open market.
Embiid has spent the last year rehabbing a fractured navicular bone in his right foot, and after taking part in multiple non-contact workouts over the last several weeks, the Sixers will turn him loose a little. The center, who has yet to make his NBA debut since being drafted No. 3 overall in 2014, won't suit up for the Sixers' entry in the Las Vegas Summer League, but he's expected to travel with the team. The organization appears optimistic that Embiid will be a full participant in training camp this fall.
Milutinov, the 26th overall draft pick in 2015, played overseas with Olympiacos of Greece last season and remains under contract with the European club for two more seasons. That contract likely means Milutinov is still at least a couple years away from joining the Spurs' roster, but by partaking in summer league play, the team should have a chance to get an up-close glimpse at what he can do. Spurs GM R.C. Buford has compared the 21-year-old to former NBA center Rasho Nesterovic, who was the starter at center during San Antonio's title-winning 2004-05 team.
Varejao was able to beat Kevin Love on a drive to earn a trip to the free-throw line, but beyond that, he didn't make much of an imprint on the game. Known for his usual high energy on the defensive end, Varejao failed to collect a single rebound and was whistled for three fouls over the course of the evening. Varejao's minimal impact combined with an ugly showing from Festus Ezeli in his 11 minutes prompted coach Steve Kerr to lean heavily on his small-ball lineups for much of the evening.
Ezeli entered the starting lineup for Game 7 as coach Steve Kerr looked to use a natural center in place of the injured Andrew Bogut (knee), but Ezeli's awful play resulted in Kerr leaning quite heavily on small-ball lineups. While he served as a quality backup for much of the first half of the season, Ezeli struggled to make an impact after returning to action in early April from an arthroscopic knee procedure that cost him over two months. Over his 29 games following his return (including playoffs), Ezeli averaged just 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds over 9.0 minutes per game.