I know we are in the heat of a sort of pathetic playoff run. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying this teams ups, annoyed by their downs, and thoroughly amused at how awful the bottom half of the East is. But, I think we all can agree the distant future, 2012 and beyond, for this team holds the real excitement. The question is how far beyond.
Does Tyler's recent play make signing a top FA Power Forward less of a priority? Maybe. Are there other players out there worth adding to the team that will do more than just keep us in the 35 win range for the next 3 years? Not sure...not sure they will come at the right price anyway.
I'm not as adamant about doing this tear down/rebuild thing as I was the last 3 years, but I still favor it slightly over the presumption that Granger will step up and be the player he should be and that our young core will develop into a group of reliable, high quality starters andwe can fill in the gaps with free agents and draft picks and start winning now. Though, I'm ok with crossing my fingers for and moving forward with that approach...it's going to take alotof luck, effort and patience either way.
I have been saying this for a few weeks as we've all enjoyed the excitment of riding the Vogel-coaster. But, I've also been watching alot of college ball and looking at some options that might actually allow us to build via the OKC method. Here's just one I've been looking at:
It's hard to really tell what direction the Jazz want to go, but if they believe in their front court and are willing to roll with Devin Harris (don't see a lot of better options out there for them) they really just need a solid wing scorer and some role players and they could be back to 50 wins. There aren't any NBA ready G/Fs in the top of this draft (maybe Derrick Williams or...I don't know, one of the Euros?).
Keep in mind, the driving philosophy behind this concept accepts the fact that we will probably not win more than 25 games the next season or two while we let our young guys get lots of minutes (which we are already doing to a point). This deal would also assume the teams involved stay the course in the current standings and the lottery doesn't throw any curve balls with picks (which is unlikely) and that the new CBA isn't too far off from the current.
I'd be cool with this:
Trade Danny Granger and maybe a S&T of Foster (or throw in Rush???):
Mehmet Okur (they are too close to the cap to just absorb Danny) and the 6th pick and swap their own 12th-13th pick with our 15th pick andGordon Hayward or a future protected pick (I might prefer the pick and I might settle for them keeping Hayward and the future pick, but I start by asking for Okur, the 6th, the swap, and Hayward/future pick).
I'd like to have a higher pick than 6 though. Irving would be a nice addition, but I'm not trying to predict who's going to win the 1st pick, so I'll stay somewhat vague about who we are drafting (I think Sullinger and Williams also have All-star potential, but maybe not as much as Irving). Let's assume that Deron keeps NJ from sliding down the standings. They're pick will be 5th-7th if they don't win one of the top 3 picks. I think Washington is going to stay around the 3rd spot, so let's assume they will have a top 3 pick (no guarantee). Our next move would be:
Trade the NJ pick andOkur and Posey
This Wizards portion of this planisn't necessarily a requirement. But, I think they might believe they can attract a top FA in 2012 with the presence of Wall. They'd still be getting a top 10 pick (the NJ via Utah pick). I don't think the 20th pick holds a ton of value to Washington and Lewis is a feaking albatross. They could negotiate which one of the 3 young players they'd want to include, but I don't think I'd settle for just moving up a couple spots and gaining the Atlanta pick for the cost of taking on Lewis's $4.4mil. more than Okur/Posey's 2011 money and Rashard's ridiculous $23.8mil. in 2012. But for a nice young PF or center,the 20th pick and moving up from the 6th-ish pick to the 3rd-ishpick might be worth the pain of paying Lewis or buying him out. Keep in mind. This over-ardching philosphy is to stock up on young players and picks and not worry about free agents for a couple years.
So, 2011 would like this:
2011 top 3 pick-$4.1mil.
Rush-$3mil. (definately looking to move him)
D.Jones-$2.7mil. (might look to move him for a pick also)
That's 12 players for $41.3mil. All under 25 and all talented (except Lewis). Having Lewis would suck, but there is (assuming it remains the same) a luxury tax for being under the minimum and he comes off the books in 2012 when we'd have a better idea where we needed to supplement our youth with a free agent. We'd even still have enough room to take on another bad contract and some more picks...if we wanted to.
Baring any quantum leaps by any of our young guys, that seems like a 20-25 win team that would probably get us a top 5 pick in the 2012 draft also. We might be able to move Lewis in his final year (probably not) or buy him out and save a million there. We'd probably end up with another top mid-lotto pick in 2013 as well (or have the youngest, most talented team in the playoffs) and then we should have a completely stacked team. We'd have to worry about resigning Hans in 2013, we'd have to re-sign George in 2014, but we'd have tons of cheap young guys for a couple years. And then there's always the option of upgrading with vets by trading away some of our own young assets when our roster shakes out.
Maybe it's far fetched. It wouldn't be fool proof by any stretch. Just an example of the kind of stuff I'd like to see.
Keeping Granger, using our own mid-round picks and cap space wisely is also a pretty square option.
I'm so glad to be out of the woods of the JO/Artest/S-Jax/Tins era and the ensuing Golden State trade and actually see options and light at the end of the tunnel.