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If I Were GM

If I were GM of….

Here’s a compilation of our “If I were GM of…” series for all of tonight’s lottery teams. Some of them were written before the actual draft lottery itself, so they might not be accurate, and some may downright suck. But then again, so do all the teams in the lottery, so I think it’s a pretty accurate scale we’re working on.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Minnesota Timberwolves
Utah Jazz
Toronto Raptors
Washington Wizards
Sacramento Kings
Detroit Pistons
Charlotte Bobcats
Milwaukee Bucks
Golden State Warriors
Phoenix Suns
Houston RocketsRead more...

If I were GM of…The Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee had a rough rough season last year, coming off a 46-win campaign the year before. They only missed the playoffs by 2 games (which doesn’t speak to their “greatness” – they were two wins behind the 37-win Indiana Pacers, who were the eighth seed), but had a litany of injuries all year long to Andrew Bogut, Brandon Jennings, Drew Gooden, John Salmons, Corey Maggette and Carlos Delfino. They scored barely 91 points a game last year, which was worst in the NBA. They need scoring, BADLY, and I think that becomes the focus of this offseason. Coach Scott Skiles will always be a great defensive coach, so that will never be a problem.

The team will have a good bit of wiggle room in regards to free agent signings with Michael Redd’s gigantic deal coming off the books. Even with the large contracts that their vets have, the Bucks won’t be completely handcuffed.

(On and aside, I know it’s Milwaukee (which, in Algonquin, is known as “The Good Land”), so there wasn’t going to be a media uproar about this, but I thought I should have seen the 2010 NBA Executive of the Year John Hammond get even more flack for his “improvements” on the then Eastern Conference six-seed Milwaukee Bucks.

That summer, with a boat-load of cap-space, GM John Hammond knew that he had some holes on his roster, with every position besides center and point guard (not a bad position to be in, mind you. The two hardest positions in the league to fill are a legit point and center). So instead of using the money wisely, he thought it would be most prudent to trade for Corey Maggette (3 years and $31 million left on his deal), and use the rest of his cap room to sign Drew Gooden (5 years, $32 million) and John Salmons (5 years, $39 million).

YES. That is correct. With the available cap space he had to maneuver, John Hammond used it to trade for a man widely known as one of the worst ball-stoppers in the entire league, signed a career underachiever in Gooden and a perennial ball hog in John Salmons, who is not happy unless he had the rock in his hands. Yes. Milwaukee, your GM used OVER $100 MILLION TO GET COREY MAGGETTE, DREW GOODEN AND JOHN SALMONS. To put this in perspective, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest made a combined $28 million last year. Maggette, Gooden and Salmons made a combined $23 million. Wow. On behalf of the dozens of Milwaukee Bucks fans that I do not know, EFF YOU JOHN HAMMOND)

Andrew Bogut: 12.1 million
Corey Maggette: 10.23 million
John Salmons: 8.5 million
Drew Gooden: 6.2 million
Carlos Delfino: 3.5 million
Brandon Jennings: 2.5 million
Ersan Ilyasova: 2.54 million
Keyon Dooling: 2.16 million
Larry Sanders: 1.86 million
Jon Brockman: 1 million
Chris Douglas-Roberts: 1.09 million (qualifying offer)
_________________________
Total: 50.6 million

Expiring:
Michael Redd: 18.3 million
Earl Boykins: 1.35 million
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute: 854,000
_________________________
20.5 million

1). With the 10th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks select, Klay Thompson, from Washington State University.
…or the best shooter they have at this spot. A lot of people have Klay Thompson at this spot, which I think should work out. Apparently he’s got a nice stroke, which the Bucks can use in spades. If Kemba or Jimmer are available at this spot, I would give them a look as well. Brandon Jennings hasn’t been exactly bulletproof for the past two seasons, so having another nice young point prospect couldn’t be a bad thing.

2). Sign Chris Douglas-Roberts to a qualifying ofRead more...

If I were GM of…the Charlotte Bobcats

Out of all of these “If I were GM of…” columns, this was far and away the one that I was least excited about writing. Top to bottom, there is almost nothing compelling about the Charlotte Bobcats. This is the most boring team in the league. I would consider myself and my co-blogger BockerKnocker in the top 10% of NBA fans. I don’t think either of us could have named 7 Bobcats off the top of our heads.

Nothing really works on this team, from their young players to their old vets, the name of their team, their team colors, their coach, their playing style, their lack of offense and slow, plodding pace of their defense. In fact, the only really compelling thing about this team is their owner. And yes, this the same owner that used up two top three picks on Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison, when Pau Gasol, Jason Richardson and Brandon Roy were all there to be had. Solid work MJ.

Apparently Mike doesn’t want to spend money right now and proclaims that he’ll spend money when the time is right. As such, I’ll operate on a shoestring budget, and assuming that guys like Jason Richardson, Nene Hilario and Jamal Crawford are all out of their price range.

Boris Diaw: 9 million
Stephen Jackson: 9.2 million
Tyrus Thomas: 7.3 million
DeSagana Diop: 6.9 million
Matt Carroll: 3.9 million
Shaun Livingston: 3.5 million
Eduardo Najera: 2.6 million
DJ Augustin: 3.23 million
Gerald Henderson: 2.23 million
DJ White: 2 million
_____________________
Total: 49 million

Expiring
Joel Przybilla: 7.4 million
Morris Peterson: 6.64 million
Sean Marks: 1.2 million
Kwame Brown: 1.2 million
Dominic McGuire: 885,000
Dante Cunningham: 762,000
Some other deadbeats: 1 million
___________________________
Total: 19 million

1). With the 9th pick in the 2011 NBA draft, the Charlotte Bobcats select Jimmer Fredette, from Brigham Young University
This is how, as a GM, I would operate the Bobcats. This is a franchise that’s going down the tubes. The attendance is dwindling, the games are hardly watched on TV and the only reason they seem to be around is that Michael owns them. I’m going to take risks and get players with high upside. I would need to do things to jolt the fanbase and bring some electricity to the franchise. Any signs of life will do.

A lot of people have them taking a Marcus Morris at this spot, but I’m taking JIMMER. I can understand how MJ would be reluctant to go with a high-scoring college guard with defensive deficiencies (see Morrison, Adam), but again, I’m doing things to get the pulses moving in Charlotte. Jimmer will sell some tickets, a few jerseys and will definitely give the Bobcats a couple 30 point games.

2). Trade Boris Diaw immediately
A lot of the reason why this franchise really hasn’t gone anywhere is because they really have selected very poorly with the high lottery picks they’ve been given and haven’t gotten lucky with the later lottery picks they always seem to end up with. In their short history, the Bobcats have had 10 first round draft picks. Only 3 times have those picks been higher than 8. Those 3 picks were Emeka Okafor at 2 (and then gave him an unwieldly contract extension), Raymond Felton at 5 (didn’t keep him, though they should have for the money that the Knicks spent) and Adam Morrison, at 3 (no explanation necessary). Thus, a lot of the reasons why they haven’t been able to get any dynamic stars. They’re too good to bottom out.

Well NO MORE. If I am GM of the Bobcats, and this team is losing money hand over first, I’m going to bottom the hell o… Read more...

If I were GM of…the Deeeeee-troit Pistons

At this rate, I might be able to actually get Joe Dumars’ job. Let’s compare everything good move he’s made to the bad:

The Good:
Traded for Rasheed Wallace, the last piece to the 2004 title

Did not extend a washed-up Ben Wallace

The Bad:
Drafted Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich, TJ Ford, Josh Howard, David West, Marquis Daniels.

Extended Rip Hamilton for 3 years and 34 million.

Traded away Chauncey Billups for a washed up Allen Iverson.

Signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva for a combined 20 million dollars.

Signed Kwame Brown for any amount of money.

Hired coaches Michael Curry and John Kuester, both of which “lost their locker rooms” within 1 and 2 seasons, respectively.

Has considered Isaiah Thomas for any jobs in the organization.

Wow. Impressive. Do all these incredibly egregious offenses negate winning a title and making the Eastern Conference Finals all those years in a row? Amazingly, I don’t think so. That’s how much winning even 1 title means. But maybe if the Pistons stay this bad for much longer.

Rip Hamilton: 12.65 million
Ben Gordon: 11.6 million
Charlie Villanueva: 7.54 million
Jason Maxiell: 5 million
Will Bynum: 3.5 million
Rodney Stuckey: 3.86 (qualifying offer)
Greg Monroe: 3 million
Ben Wallace: 2.24 million
Austin Daye: 1.9 milion
Terrico White: 788,872
________________________________
Total: 48 million

Expiring
Tayshaun Prince: 11.14 million
Chris Wilcox: 3 million
Tracy McGrady: 1.3 million
DaJuan Summers: 762,195
Jonas Jerebko: 762,195
_________________________
Total: 17 million

Also, let’s identify who are key parts of the team going forward, for various different reasons. I think that Greg Monroe, Austin Daye and whoever they select with their 8th pick are the makings of a core. Villanueva and Gordon will also be around, for contract reasons. Bynum, Maxiell, Wallace and Rip will all be long gone by the time the Pistons are in contention again.

1). Blow up the final pieces of the 2004 Pistons
This team lost 52 games, finished 7 games behind Indiana for the final playoff spot AND had 14 million dollar worth of expiring contracts and did….what with it? Oh, nothing? Oh. Add that to the check list Dumars.

I can’t imagine there was a world where Tayshaun Prince wasn’t worth at least a 1st round draft pick, or Chris Wilcox a 2nd rounder. That’s ludicrous to me. He’s a free agent this year, and he won’t want to stick around for a Detroit rebuilding effort. Goodbye, Tay.

Then there’s the final connector to that 2004 team in Rip Hamilton. He’s still got a lot of talent and will definitely have something to prove going forward, but has nothing left to give this franchise. I could see a match with the Bulls, Spurs, Suns, Celts, Knicks, or Nets. They actually should have done this two years ago, but instead thought it would be a better allocation of funds to give money to a point guard who can’t pass (or shoot anymore) and another guy who someone once called a “cancer to the team + league”. Wow.

Ben Wallace has 1 more year on his deal, but at this stage in his career, I don’t really count him being on the team anymore.

2). With the 8th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select Alec Burks, from the University of Colorado – Boulder.
From what I’ve seen of Burks, he reminds me a little bit, ironically, of Rip Hamilton. Nice size for a 2-guard, high release point on the shot, same moves to the elbow, but not a fantastic thr… Read more...

If I were GM of…the Toronto Raptors

Look, Chris Bosh is a fine player. He can rebound a little bit, and is gifted offensively. I know that there was some level of uproar over him leaving Toronto last summer…but, what’s the big deal here? Were the Raptors really that good with him? Bosh led them to a high-water mark of 47 wins 5 years ago and they made the playoffs twice, winning 3 games total. They threw up a ton of points and GM Bryan Coangelo made a somewhat interesting sideplot with how many foreign players that he could bring onto one team. They were decent at best, barely mediocre at worst. The point is that this rebuilding project I’m going to propose here should have started two seasons ago, not in the upcoming one.

Jose Calderon: 9.7 million
Andrea Bargnani: 9 million
Leandro Barbosa: 7.6 million (team option)
Amir Johnson: 5.5 million
Linas Kleiza: 4.6 million
Julian Wright: 3.9 million (qualifying offer)
DeMar DeRozan: 2.6 million
Jerryd Bayless: 3.04 million
Ed Davis: 2 million
James Johnson: 1.8 million
Joey Dorsey: 1 million
Solomon Alabi: 830,000
_______________________________
Total: 45 million

Expiring
Peja Stojakovic: 14.9 million
Reggie Evans: 5.08 million
Alexis: Ajinca: 1.46 million
Sonny Weems: 854,389
____________________________
Total: 22.5 million

1). First and foremost, identify your core

This is something the Raptors should have done a while ago – correctly identify their core guys going forward, and try to dump everyone else. Yes, a full scale blow-up. Florida Marlins, 1998-style, almost everyone goes-type blowup.

The way I see it, their core guys are DeMar, Ed Davis (too early to give up on him), Jerryd Bayless and whoever they draft with the fifth pick. Everyone else is expendable. The way that things are set up now, either DeMar or Andrea Bargnani is going to be your best player – and I don’t care what country it is, a guy named Andrea shouldn’t be your best player. Let’s say that DeRozan turned into a less-skilled and crafty Manu Ginobili, Bargnani was a better Memhet Okur, Ed Davis wasn’t a bust already and Jerryd Bayless lived up to his college-reputation. They would still be a star short of being a contender. An entertaining team? Sure. Put up a lot of points? Most definitely. But not anything a playoff team. Think the Atlanta Hawks, but with even less defense. You need to blow it up, start over, like they should have done LAST YEAR when Bosh was almost-assuredly leaving. Now that we’ve established this, let us move on.

2) With the fifth pick in the draft, take Jan Vesely.

Look, I’m not Chad Ford, or anyone at nbadraft.net, but I’ve heard that Vesely isn’t a soft Euro, He plays a genuine back-to-the-basket game and can throw it down. I’ll take that guy. If you are thinking that Bayless is your point guard of the future, then I’d pass on Kemba (for various reasons beyond just that one), Tristan Thompson and Leonard. They’ll need a center after they trade Bargnani.

3) Trade Andrea Bargnani

Oh, right. I know he was your number one pick, but it was a number one in a terrible draft. The best two players turned out to be Brandon Roy’s 2006-2009 seasons and LaMarcus Aldridge. Bargnani is owed a decent chunk of change going forward (42 million through 2015), but he’s got great numbers. There is going to be a GM that will pay for his services, especially at the price offered – think Al Jefferson trade (basically two first round picks, and an expiring contract). He’s a 7-footer that plays 30 feet away from the rim and rebounds as … Read more...

If I were GM…of the Washington Wizards

Ah, the Wiz Kidz. It wasn’t too long ago that Deshawn Stevenson was pulling this type of BS in the District and Gilbert Arenas was the king of all things swag. Those days seem to go as quick as they came and the Wiz are building from the ground up again.

Rashard Lewis: 22.15 million
Andray Blatche: 6.4 million
John Wall: 5.5 million
Yi Jianlian: 5.4 million (qualifying offer)
Nick Young: 3.7 million (qualifying offer)
JaVale McGee: 2.46 million
Kevin Seraphin: 1.68 million
Trevor Booker: 1.3 million
Jordan Crawford: 1.12 million
________________________________
Total: 40.68 million

Expiring:
Mike Bibby: 5.56 million
Josh Howard: 3 million
Al Thornton: 2.8 million
Mo Evans: 2.5 million
Cartier Martin: 854,389
Some other deadbeats: 1 million
________________________________
Total: 15.9 million

I would like to point out at 22.15 million and 11.7 ppg, Rashard Lewis makes up over half the payroll, less than one-eighth of their offensive production and 100% of Wiz number 1 fan Andy Orfalea’s basketball nightmares.

Let’s work on a basic theme here: Defense, rebounding and ball-sharing. These are three things that the Wizards either don’t know how to do, or simply don’t care to learn. Everything going forward will focus on this. Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Gilbert put up points at a prodigious clip; but where did that get them? One series win, a Dirty Harry locker-room pantomime and Yi Jianlian. Defense, rebounding and ball-sharing. Remember that.

1) With the number six pick in the draft, take San Diego State’s Kawhi Leonard

Rebounding? Check. Defense? What else did San Diego State do this year? I’d take Leonard over the other guys floating in this general reason of the draft (Tristan Thompson, any of the Euros) as he can make up for Blatche’s defensive and rebounding deficiencies, as well as fill the void that Caron and Antawn left. I like this guy a lot and I think he’ll add a lot of character to this young Wiz squad.

2). Goodbye Nick Young and Yi

Defense, rebounding and ball-sharing. The scary thing about this is that Yi might have a better handle on what these English words mean than Nick Young does. I’m always pulling for Young, as he is a fellow San Fernando Valley-born child of the 80’s, but this is addition by subtraction. Both him and Yi cannot play the type of basketball that is needed to win titles. Peace out gentlemen.

3). Give Trevor Booker more burn, but obtain another big with the 18th pick

Rebounding. From what I saw from Trevor Booker this year, the boy can rebound despite his size. Okay, check. But with the 18th pick, Bismack Biyombo, Kenneth Faried and Markieff Morris might be available at this spot. Take whoever can rebound the ball best and hope that it translates to the major league level.

4) Preserve that cap space

Attention National Basketball League: Sam Presti exists and we will all follow his lead. The Wiz are not a small-market franchise. They operate out of the District and are backed by the deep-pocketed Ted Leonsis. They have and will spend money to win. BUT – unless John Wall takes a Rose-ian leap this year, I don’t think you can expect contention, even for a playoff spot. I would absolutely spend my money on lower-tier free agents – guys who can REBOUND, PLAY DEFENSE and SHARE THE BALL. In the meantime, you let Wall, Leonard, Jordan Crawford, McGee and whoever you get with the 18th pick develop TOGETHER. You know how ball-sharing happens? With a good offensive scheme (Flip Saunders’ specialty), a great point guar… Read more...

If I were GM of…The Cleveland Cavaliers

If there’s one positive thing about being a Cleveland basketball fan, it’s that now you have two teams – the Cavaliers and whoever is playing the Heat. As I watched this year’s Lakers-less Finals with almost as much intensity and drama as the previous 3 seasons’, I can only imagine the hype that went through Cleveland with every Dirk fall away and Tyson Chandler put-back.

I’m not going to waste anyone’s time here by recapping the calamity of The Decision and the ensuing drama and heartbreak of Northeastern Ohio. We all know what happened, and the nightmare season that followed. After winning 61 games before, the Cavs essentially flipped their record and lost 63 games. They were one of the worst offensive and defensive teams in the league, and put together a nightly starting five that might not have been able to contend with Coach Calhoun’s 2011 Connecticut Huskies.

This team needs help in almost every conceivable way. If the season were to start today, they would have a roster with two overpaid, perennially injured vets (Antawn Jamison and Baron Davis), four rotation guys on good teams (Anderson Varejao, JJ Hickson, Daniel Gibson, Ramon Sessions) and everyone else being no better than a second-round draft pick (that’s almost the truth; only Joey Graham and Christian Eyenga – drafted with the 30th pick two seasons ago – are former first-rounders in this group). Let’s take a look at their salary commitments for the 2011-2012 season.

Antawn Jamison: 15.07 million
Baron Davis: 13.9 million
Anderson Varejao: 7.7 million
Daniel Gibson: 4.4 million
Ramon Sessions: 4.25 million
Ryan Hollins: 2.48 million (player option)
JJ Hickson: 2.35 million
Christian Eyenga: 1.09 million
Joey Graham: 1.1 million
Samardo Samuels: 788,000
Manny Harris: 788,000
Semih Erden: 788,000
Luke Harangody: 788,000
_________________________
Total: 55.85 million

Expiring:
Anthony Parker: 2.855 million
Leon Powe: 915,850
Alonzo Gee: 508,130
_________________________
Total: 4.25 million

1). Draft Kyrie Irving with the first pick
Thanks to the absolute incompetency of the Clippers’ front office, YOUR…Cleveland Cavaliers own both the number 1 and number 4 pick in this year’s draft. Duke’s Kyrie Irving has long been considered the slam-dunk first overall pick, but I’ve heard recent reports that the Cavs have thought about both Derrick Williams and Enes Kanter as the number one pick. By going with either of these two players, the Cavs would then select Kentucky point guard Brand Knight with that number 4 pick.
The Cavs have been gifted this number one pick by some very fortuitous bounce of ping-pong balls; don’t wait to take Knight IF you think Irving is the better player. Take the best player first.

2) With the number 4 pick, take your gamble
Again, the Cavs need help EVERYWHERE – Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter, Jan Vesely, Tristian Thompson, whoever. Take that guy. Derrick Williams is the same type of guy as JJ Hickson? Big deal. Enes Kanter plays the same position as Varejao? Who cares. Draft for skill, not need. Take the best player available and sort it out later – anyone you take at 4 has trade value. I’m thinking that the Wolves will take Kanter at two (though knowing David Kahn, he might just draft Brandon Knight out of habit) and the Jazz will select Knight at three. This would leave Derrick Williams at the four spot – best case scenario for the Cavs. Williams and Irving in the same draft? What a haul.

3) ResRead more...

If I were GM of…the Los Angeles Clippers

(Note: I wrote this over two weeks ago, as my way of stockpiling these to post on slow news days. Anything written below was before any trade rumors for Chris Kaman sprouted. Not that it matters if you believe me, because I’m only as good as my word. And everyone knows that if you can’t believe what you read on the internet, then it obviously can’t be true)

Other than a few selected outbursts, I’ve managed to keep my hatred and bile of the Los Angeles Clippers to a minimum. I’m certainly proud of myself, even if no one else is (whomp whomp). Even as they sully my city with their incessant stink of mediocrity, I generally decide to stay away from all issues Clippers-related because a) even with their success, I know they will inevitably do something to screw it up or b) if they are bad, it is simply them acting to form.

Chris Kaman: 12.2 million
Mo Williams: 8.5 million
Blake Griffin: 5.7 million
Randy Foye: 4.25 million
Ryan Gomes: 4 million
Eric Gordon: 3.8 million
Jamario Moon: 3.19 million (team option)
Al-Farouq Aminu: 2.75 million
Eric Bledsoe: 1.6 million
Brian Cook: 1.26 million (player option)
Willie Warren: 788,000
________________________________
Total: 44 million

Expiring:

Rasual Butler: 2.4 million
Craig Smith: 2.3 million
DeAndre Jordan: 854,000
A few other deadbeats: 1 million
________________________________
Total: 6.6 million

1). Pay Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan
Eric Gordon is available for an extension. Pay the man. He’s a great young guard, who plays hard in front of passion-less crowds and knows how to defend. He is destined to be the second-best player on this team. He reminds me of a less mouthy Jason Terry, in his prime. Not a bad comparison these days.

As I’ll get into later, Chris Kaman is the not the guy going forward. DeAndre Jordan is a freak of nature – a 7 footer with size, speed and athleticism. With a little more patience, a little less pot and thus perhaps some increased intelligence, DeAndre could turn into a Tyson Chandler-like defensive difference-maker on the floor. He’s young, so I’ll give him a pass for doing at least 3 bone-headed plays in the last 3 minutes of every game, but that’s going to have to stop in the coming years. I’d go at least 4 years and 30 million for this guy, going as high as 35 depending on if who gives him an offer sheet.

2). Decide if Al-Farouq Aminu is your man – regardless, sign someone until he’s ready….like Andrei Kirilenko.
I said it, I meant it and screwwww you. Don’t get me wrong, I like Aminu – the Luol Deng comparisons are uncanny and spot-on. If everything works out, and all their young guys develop (the brand new, never before used strategy for YOUR…2011 Los Angeles Clippers!), the line-up looks like this in a couple years:

PG: Eric Bledsoe
SG: Eric Gordon
SF: Al-Farouq Aminu
PF: Blake Griffin
C: DeAndre Jordan

Not bad, especially if Bledsoe, Aminu and Jordan turn into the quality defenders they could be. But at the present moment, you need to see if Aminu can work in this spot. If not…see no. 4.

But if no trades work out, I think that for this upcoming season, Andrei Kirilenko is the logical fit. He’s been criticized pretty heavily the last few years in Utah, but mostly it was because he was getting paid like their first or second-best player, and played like theri fourth best player. What’s not to like in this spot? Great defender, shot-blocker, rebounder who can make a couple shots. I love him here and would give him 3 years, 27 million for his servic… Read more...

If I were GM of…The Sacramento Kings

As I covered the situation with the Kings at length in a recent post, this once mighty franchise has fallen on especially hard times.

On the surface, it seems like the Kings are not only in a tough spot in regards to their tenuous location and ownership situation, BUT…looking at their roster, I have to admit that they are not entirely without a future. Let’s take a look at their payroll situation for the upcoming season:

Beno Udrih: 7.2 million
Francisco Garcia: 5.8 million
Tyreke Evans: 4.15 million
DeMarcus Cousins: 3.6 million
Jason Thompson: 3 million
Omri Casspi: 1.3 million
Donte Green: 1.67 million
Darnell Jackson: 1 million (qualifying offer)
Jermaine Taylor: 884,293 (team option)
Hassan Whiteside: 788,872
Pooh Jeter: 788,872
_____________________
Total: 27.62 million

Expiring:
Samuel Dalembert: 12.2 million
Marquis Daniels: 2.47 million
Antoine Wright: 992,680
Luther Head: 992,680
Marcus Thornton: 473,604
_______________________
Total: 17 million

There are a few things to keep in mind here: For starters, regardless of their cap space, this team is not spending any more money than they need to. They are a young, rebuilding squad, and I’m pretty sure no one is mistaking them for players in the Summer 2012 Dwight Howard/Chris Paul sweepstakes. Like New Orleans, this team has a very uncertain future, in addition to simply bleeding money by the year. Any moves they make are going to be to make this team simply watchable and to be slightly above the minimum cap threshold (wow, how many teams are saying that these days? I’ll give you a hint, and it rhymes with “no one”), probably nothing more.

This team is terrible. I’m pretty sure no one is making that mistake. No matter what the result is of the draft, or a free agent signing, I have full confidence saying that this team is not making the playoffs next year.

1). Sign Marcus Thornton to a 4 year, $24 million dollar deal

I would even go as high as 27 million for young Marcus. He is a prodigious scorer and instant offense either in your starting lineup or off the bench. He seems to like playing in Sacto, which is something that cannot be valued with numbers or metrics.

2). Take the best available with the number 7 pick, except if that best available person is Kemba Walker

The Kings are a little SOL in this scenario – they really needed a true point. At his best, Tyreke does a somewhat unflattering, yet passable Allen Iverson impersonation. But I always felt that AI’s best years were when he played off-guard with an unselfish point in Philly (Eric Snow) – I’d prescribe the same recipe for ‘Reke. Unfortunately, at 7, the Kings probably aren’t going to get that type of PG.

The gurus at nbadraft.net have the Kings taking Kemba Walker at the number 7 slot. I feel that on his best day, Kemba does a somewhat unflatting, yet passable Tyreke Evans impersonation. While the Kings don’t really have the leeway to draft based on need at this point, Kemba Walker isn’t the way to go. He has little defensive ability, limited passing skills and of course, his durability will always be in question considering his 5’10” stature. I think the Kings already have a guy like this on the team, except he’s 6’5″ and is better on all those fronts. At this point in the draft, I’d take the most talented player…as long as that player isn’t Kemba Walker.

3). Try to get any free agent power forward to sign

Even with multiple draft picks and a potential 7 million dollar payday for Ma… Read more...

If I were GM of…the Memphis Grizzlies

Even with their 2010-2011 season coming to a halt as an 8-seed in the second round of the playoffs, I still am not positive that the Memphis Grizzlies are the team they appear to be. Zach Randolph looked like the best forward in the league for a month, Pau’s brother almost was good enough for me to learn his first name and Mike Conley seemingly tried to throw it in every critics face every night. They dismantled the number one seed San Antonio Spurs and took the Thunder to a game 7. But this team only won 46 games in the regular season – record-wise, they weren’t much better than the Orlando Magic or Atlanta Hawks. Was their run because their players got hot at the right time, like what happens in MLB playoffs? Or was it because the Spurs and Thunder weren’t prepared for all the trouble an 8-seed could give them? I’m still not sure how good they were.

But going forward, you have to ride the wave of positivity and hope that what we saw over the past month wasn’t a fluke or a hot streak – we have to assume that this is who the Grizzlies really are.

Zach Randolph:
Rudy Gay: 15 million
Mike Conley: 6.5 million
OJ Mayo: 5.6 million
Tony Allen: 3.1 million
Xavier Henry: 2.17 million
Hamed Haddadi: 2 million (qualifying offer)
Darrell Arthur: 2 million
Greivis Vasquez: 1.11 million
Sam Young: 947,800 (team option)
Ishamel Smith: 788,872
_____________________
Total: 50 million

Expiring:
Marko Jaric (seriously): 6.5 million
Shane Battier: 7.3 million
Pau’s brother: 3.48 million
A bunch of deadbeats: 1 million
_____________________________
Total: 18.3 million

The Grizzlies’ first priority would have been extending Z-Bo, but oddly enough, they might have already done that. At 4-years and 70 million, I am shocked to write that that might have even been at a small discount for Memphis. After way he played in the playoffs, he could have gotten 5 years, 100 million. Crazytown.

1). Sign Pau’s brother on your terms rather than allow another team to sign him to an offer sheet

Well, one good thing had to happen to a Gasol family member this summer. Pau’s brother is going to get PAID whenever the free agency period begins, and paid big. Somehow, Pau’s brother went from a throw-in in a monster trade to one of the key pieces to a team that nearly made it to the Western Conference Finals.

(By the way, I’m not sure how Pau’s brother got so completely overlooked in the Pau Gasol to the Lakers deal. If you have a guy like Pau – former all-star, extremely skilled, high basketball IQ – wouldn’t you think that his brother would be pretty good? Another guy with the same GENETIC MAKEUP, except with 40 more pounds? How did we not see this coming? Either Chris Wallace is much smarter than we all knew, or he’s just extremely lucky. I’d side with the latter. See no. 5 please)

His career averages lie at 12.7 ppg, 7.8 rebounds, 71.5% FT, 54.5 FG%, 1.4 bpg, 2.2 apg. He’s 26 years old. He’s in just his third professional season and he’s durable. Someone is going to offer him 5 years, 55 million – or more. Memphis, I’d throw that money at this man, before someone signs him to an offer sheet and makes that contract more expensive for you.

2). Get someone that can make a long range jumper

The Grizz have to get a guy that can reliably make a 3 point shot. A team that is cannot spread the floor usually won’t find success of any type, but I suppose that’s just a testament to how good Randolph was during this playoff run – no one could effectivel… Read more...