First of all let me say that if you are of the ilk that thinks we just need to add a player or two and keep building chemistry to sneak into the playoffs next year...I agree, but you won't like these trades, because they are not offered as ways to "Make the playoffs next year". They are with the understanding that:
1. We should have much higher standards and we should demand long stretches of playoff wins, year in and year out. This may take some loosing which should have started in earnest 3 years ago instead of clawing at mediocrity.
2. Cap space is important, but as a small market team, until we have a legitimate young core, that is really just one star player away from being a lock for 3 or 4 title runs, we will have to settle for 2nd tier FAs and we will have to pay them like 1st tier free agents to get them to come here. Our cap space is better spent getting back draft picks and young players and absorbing other team’s mistakes (not trading mistakes like we did with GS).
3. This draft is deep. It probably won’t be as good as ’96 or ’03, but it might be close. The best part is that it’s not just a bunch of tweener forwards and combo guards like usual. There are several legit PFs and Cs along with a handful of late 1st round PGs with upside.
4. The Pacers will not make money this year or next year by drafting Patrick Patterson or Gordon Hayward or Cole Aldrich and standing pat with 35 wins. They may have to lose more money this year to gain more in the future. This will probably be the sticking point, but it’s probably our only hope and there’s a chance that every penny they spend on an overpaid vet that helped us acquire a pick can be recouped by the play of promising young guys or even a resurgent vet.
So here’s my redo of the 76ers and Hornets trades (the 76ers trade I got from the rumors floating around and I’ve loved Collison’s game since his freshman year, but I was glad to see B-Huse suggest similar deals).
16th pick (or 23rd and 45th if Minny won’t part with the 4th and 16th to move up to get Turner)
Then we pull off this trade with New Orleans (If they’d just send Okafor and Collison to get rid of Emeka, I ‘d take it, but I think we’ll have to give up our pick, which I won’t do or take back Posey’s terrible deal to get Collison).
(and perhaps the 45th pick from Minny if we have to)
This gives Philly cap space and a way out of Brand’s deal along with a serviceable vet w/ an expiring deal (they can trade at deadline and bring back something or just use the cap space in 2011). They also get a late 2nd round pick and a decent, but unimpressive young PF in Psycho-T (with team option for 2011-2013).
This gives Minny the guy they really wanted in the draft (Evan Turner) without giving up all their other picks.
This saves NO $3mil. this year getting them close to being under the Luxury threshold for 2010-2011). They keep their lottery pick and David West. They get good value out of Collison by getting enough cap space to make some good moves. Unlike Indy, with Chris Paul, David West (or whoever they bring back by trading him), their 11th pick, Thronton and tons of cap, they can actually attract a free agent next summer without grossly overpaying.
Finally, the Pacers get tons of youth. We could take Cousins (His down fall is pasion for the game, that can be reined in...then again...that was sort of Artest's problem, but he was also certifiable) or Favors with the 4th pick. We can take BPA with the 10th b/c we address our gaping problems in the paint with the 4th (though I’d probably still take Whiteside or Udoh at 10 if we draft Favors and I’d take Patterson or Udoh if we draft Cousins…but we’d have more flexibility to take Henry if he’s there or reach for Bradley, Hayward or Babbitt or something like that). We could go for BPA with the 23rd and the 40th and the 45th if we keep it. We get Collison to run the point. This dude is legit. He’s probably no hall of famer, but I bet he’ll be as good as Mark Jackson (maybe not quite as good distributor, but very good playmaker and better scorer), probably making him the best PG we’ve had (Tinsley’s potential aside). We get to keep Murphy for future movement (later in the off-season, trade deadline, or Sign-and-trade). We also get Okafor. He’s a bit overpaid, and we’ll have an immense log jam at the 4 and 5, but that is the best place to have one (for future trades). He’s not an all-star, but he could be close and will be at least an up-grade over Foster as our PF/C backup combo while others develop.
The problems here are nearly as obvious as the potential. We forgo cap space for two more years (which as I've said, is worthless on the open market for a team like Indy without a promising youthful core in place). We take a bath this year on Luxury tax. Even if we buy out Posey, we’ll have to find a deal for Murphy bringing back a couple million less in salary to even get w/ in $5mil. of the 2010-11 luxury threshold. So we basically pay $10mil. to acquire the 4th pick and 23rd pick, and Collison (plus whatever monetary loss we consider for Brand and Okafor). I actually think we could buy out Brand for about 70% of his remaining salary. I think if we alleviate that roster spot and need for minutes, we can look at it like this:
------We pay $5mil. in luxury tax, (we won’t be over the tax at all in 2011-12 unless it’s like $60mil. or less). We buy out Posey for $10mil. and Brand for $35-$40mil. (I think Brand still has enough to go find a team willing to offer him $4+mil. a year for 2-3 years which mostly off-sets his losses to get paid to sit on our bench so I bet he agrees to a little over $35mil.). I think Okafor is actually worth 80% or more of his salary right now, though that ratio may diminish as he gets about a million dollar raise the following 3 years.
However, we dump the wasted money of Foster (if we draft well even without trading he shouldn’t get more than 10-15mpg and who knows if he’ll even be able to play), if Ford was going to play it was only out of necessity so we can assume we’ll get his money’s worth out of Collison, and Mike was probably going to earn no more than half his salary this year.
So my super fuzzy mathematic projection tells me this. $5mil. in luxury tax, $36mil. for Brand, and $10mil. for Posey, that’s an extra $51mil in costs (huge)….however, we dump about $20mil. in wasted money on Dunleavy, Foster and Ford (based on my fuzzy math of their estimated over extended sallary minus their on court value). So that’s $31mil. extra cost for these proposed deals. I bet, even if we have .350 record like we did most of last year, we’ll add $10-15mil. in ticket sales for all the exciting youth we’ll have. SOOoooo. I think we ultimately pay a couple million a year more than we should for Okafor, we pay about $13mil. or so in luxury+buyouts (minus dumping of wasted current Pacers and increased ticket sales just for 2010-11). So that is $15mil. total additional losses this upcoming year. But, the key is that loss turns into 5 or 6 cheap, young, (2 or 3 uber talented) players that we otherwise would watch other teams blossom with. And that will pay for it self and then some over the next 2-3 years.
Management won’t view it the same way and with the pending CBA, they’d have better insight into the risks I can’t anticipate, but man, this lineup could totally dominate in a couple years and we would have the cap to re-sign those we need and even bring in a solid vet in a few years when our needs are more settled.
2011-2012 lineup (baring lockout)…and this wouldn’t even include 2011 draft pick or what we might get for Murphy or others in trade/upgrades.
C- Okafor, Hibbert, Whiteside(or Udoh)
PF- Cousins(or Favors), Udoh(or Whiteside), Okafor
SF- Danny Granger, Damian James (or Stanley Robinson, or perhaps Hayward or Babbit or George or whoever), D.Jones
SG-Rush, D.Jones, somebody we got at 23 instead of Damian James, or a 2nd rounder or even our 2011 1st rounder (here's the weak spot, but we could totally upgrade this position with all the pieces we have and SG/SF is the easiest position to fill).
PG- Collison, Price, (maybe Armon Johnson or Grevis Vasquez from the 2nd round…nice to have a big backup PG somewhere in the rotation), or 2011 first rounder or top notch veteran backup combo gaurd we acquire through trade or whatever.
Soooo much potential. I know this is all silly, but I’d love to see that kind of aggressive, risky movement by the Pacers and I think the deals are fair for other teams assuming Hornets aren't looking to move Paul instead of Collison and Philly would give up the 2nd pick to dump Brand and pick up just a couple role players and tons of cap (that's the one that I doubt, but I might throw in a well protected future 1st rounder with all the youth we'd be getting to get Philly to agree).