Originally Posted by diabsoule
Ha! None, especially with ownership in flux and not enough cap room to do much.
If I were NOR I would do this. Grade me.
Stojakovic and Songaila come off the books this summer. Let that happen and you're sitting with a salary around $46M. This year's cap is around $58M IIRC. $12M isn't enough to sign a max FA, so I go to work to get further under.
Obviously, Chris Paul is your biggest trading chip. The dude wants out. Don't let the situation fester and in the meanwhile prevent the future from happening now. What I mean is, don't stunt the growth of Darren Collison by keeping Paul. Rearrange your money allocation. Collison is locked up until 2014 on a dirt cheap contract. If you compare the amount that Paul makes, and the amount Collison makes, it doesn't add up to Paul being THAT much better. Collison is a perfect replacement for Paul. He's bound for stardom and he made a lot of people believers last year when he got the chance. I'd kill for him to be on the Magic. Behind him is a young vet, Luther Head. I've always liked him going back to his days in college. He's a nice compliment to Collison. Your current PG situation is fine as is. Just need depth for a 3rd stringer.
Next summer, Marcus Thornton is also going to be a FA. You can bet he will cash in big time. So you need more than just the $12M in cap if you want to resign Thornton and add some nice FAs. Thornton showed incredible scoring ability and looked like the biggest steal of the draft at the end of the year last year. He and Collison built instant chemistry on the floor. Give them time to grow and play together and they will flourish. Right now the depth behind him is weak. As much as you want to let Thornton soak up his opportunity and flourish, you still need some kind of stability.
Vince Carter $17M expiring
Brandon Bass $4M per year
Marcin Gortat $6.3M per year
Emeka Okafor $11.5M per year
James Posey $6.5M per year
David West $8.3M per year
Why it works for NOR:
Carter can be a solid presence off the bench. He's a high character guy who can guide Thornton down the correct path to stardom. Then at the end of the season, you clear $17M off the books...even if he's not what you thought he would be. You also dump Okafor and Posey's ugly contracts and free up your financial future for the long term. The rewards are self explanatory. Losing West stings a little, but not a lot. The guy has a player option to choose to hit FA next summer. The FA crop is weak. By making himself eligible, he becomes one of the most sought after FAs. This will probably be his last high paying contract, and I think it would be difficult for NOR to keep him in the fold under the current situation without this trade. Besides, Craig Brackins is a David West clone in the making AND you are also getting Brandon Bass from Orlando. Bass has a small $4M per year deal that lasts until 2013, but he has a PO in 2012 when he could choose to opt out. Gortat is the international flavor guy that your new GM loves. He has the ability to be a starting caliber NBA center. He's still young yet very mature and experienced. I could see him flourishing in a starting role. Plus, he doesn't make a lot of money that would strap you from upgrading the position if you desired. This trade saves NOR's multimillions and frees up their financial freedom of the future.
Why it works for the Magic:
Carter is a hated man in Orlando. I think it's undeserving, but his critics are loud and they are harsh. This deal does not help Orlando financially, but they are already strapped hard. It's not a matter of looking to save money, it's a matter of making that money spent, work effectively. Orlando has hit problems once they've hit the elite teams like LA and Boston. They're problem was partly being inadequate in the post. Gasol and Bynum were too much. KG, Davis, Wallace, Perkins were too much. Now Orlando has the post to match up. Howard, West, Okafor, Lewis. The good thing about it is that Okafor can play PF or C and he is a defensive specialist who doesn't need to be a ball hog to be effective. West is a guy who doesn't clog up the post where Dwight is either. He has a fantastic mid range shot and he knows how to work his way to the rim off the dribble. Both Okafor and West are also great rebounders. That will help the Magic who currently starts Lewis at the 4 who averages a measly 4 rebounds a game last year. Now Lewis can slide to the 3 where he played the first 9 years of his career. He still can stretch the floor effectively from that position and post up on smaller opposing SFs which he is good at. Posey is a solid guy off the bench when healthy and he'll find work at SG and SF at times. This deal locks up Orlando financially for a long time, but ownership hasn't been shy about spending money if they think it will help and they are not looking to be playing under the cap anytime soon either. They are banking on West to sign an extension which he would probably like to do on a winning team at this stage of his career in a tax free state too.
Danny Granger $11M
Brandon Rush $2M
Roy Hibbert $2M
Chris Paul $15M
This is what I mean by allocating your resources. Trade a guy like Paul to get a guy like Granger to fill your need at SF, and build depth with Rush and Hibbert. You don't want to start the season with Peja Stojakovic as your starting SF, do you? Nah. Grab Granger who has been on the block to Indiana who has been desperately seeking a PG. Bada bing, bada boom.
Here's your 2010-11 New Orleans Hornets:
PG Darren Collison / Luther Head / 3rd stringer
SG Marcus Thornton / Vince Carter / Brandon Rush
SF Danny Granger / Julian Wright / Quincy Pondexter / Peja Stojakovic
PF Brandon Bass / Craig Brackins / Darius Songaila
C Marcin Gortat / Aaron Gray / Roy Hibbert
Going into the summer of 2011 you clear $37.1M off the books:
Stojakovic - $15.3M
Carter - $17M
Songaila - $4.8M
Plus you have the option to give very cheap Team Options to Hibbert, Rush, Collison and Wright has a Qualifying offer. That's flexibility. You have the ability to do MAJOR damage in FA. I haven't calculated it, but I think you could add 2 max contracts to that existing core.
As Keak would say... Bingo, Jingo, Jango!