Yes, part of the reason why I'm writing this article is because of the Pistons recent play even though it's a small sample size. But it's an article I've been contemplating all season really.
First, let's start it off with what our current salary commitments look like (in order of which ends sooner):
Key (for all tables)
- Player Option
- Team Option
- Qualifying Offer
|TOTALS W/O Off/Opt||$67,483,395||$42,408,675||$13,297,865||$0||$0|
|TOTALS with Off/Opt||$67,483,395||$46,544,580||$25,950,148||$8,326,552||$4,433,682|
|Under Tax Level||$2,823,605||$23,762,420||$44,356,852||$61,980,448||$65,873,318|
For this exercise, I'm going to establish some not so realistic constants. In summary: no trades, no draft picks, all options picked up, all offers matched, and no cuts. The only way to pick up players is through free agency. Because of that, we'll ignore 2012-13. First, we'll examine what the team will look like with players playing their natural position (or the one they play the most at) by year.
So, who do we have left:
Well, the obvious need just on number of players at the position is PG. This doesn't even relate to Knight's ability. Now, Stuckey is an apt ball handler and English showed some decency at point in the D-League, but those aren't their natural positions. Let's assume Monroe has made the transition to PF by this point and our C, PF and SF positions are complete. If Villanueva continues anything similar to recent (meaning the last two weeks) of play, I'm ok with that. If Jerebko get out of the dog house and can be played at SF, that'd be great too.
Obviously moves will have been made at this time, either a free agent or two, but let's look at the positions. No natural SGs on the roster, though Singler is "capable". Oh wait, wouldn't that be the starting lineup we've been asking for for a while now? But, now we have some major needs. (Mind you, HoopsHype only has Kravtsov at 2 years, I though I had heard 3 years elsewhere.) Need backups at PG, PF and C. No, I don't think Jerebko is the backup PF unless he majorly bulked up, but I think he's a natural SF, so I wouldn't mess with it.
As you can tell, I didn't address 2015-16 and 2016-17 because at those times contracts will have been extended, draft picks will have been made, and players picked up in free agency (still concerned about trades). But looking more than one year ahead I think is the best option when looking at what should be done with the money.
Looking at PGs
Because we have Rodney Stuckey for another year, I think we can look at two years worth of PG and see who would be available that would be rather cheap, is younger, shows poise and has more potential that isn't likely to get a matched offer or the team pick up their option. For instance, Chris Paul is out of the question to me. But people like Billups, Jarrett Jack, Royal Ivey, Scott Machado, Ramon Sessions, Kirk Hinrich, and Luke Ridnour are all likely to be available, cheap, young (some), and show potential (or savvy veteran leadership). Of those listed, Billups, Jack, Ivey and Machado are available this coming off season and Sessions, Hinrich and Ridnour the following.
Now, Machado hasn't had much burn and averages 1.5 TO in 4 minutes of play (in 4 games). But I've heard a lot of great talk about him on here, so that's why I mentioned him. We know what we'd get with Billups and many say Jack would be perfect for our system. To me, Ivey would be a big reach. His best season was when he averaged his most minutes (only started 20 games, 5.6 PPG, 2.1 APG). But he's very cheap and might be a decent backup. Other than that, most of the PG in the 2013-14 FA class are either too expensive, overpaid, or not NBA players in my opinion. Therefore, I think I'd live with Knight and Stuckey sharing PG duties. Who starts, I don't care. But the following season, I'd go after Ramon first, then Ridnour, then Hinrich. If two of them can be had, then I'd say we don't pick up Knight's team option in 2014-15 unless he's vastly improved. Great kid, great work ethic, really smart...but not starting quality PG right now.
Looking at SGs
Honestly, I think we have SG covered in 2013-14, so who could we get the following year at a decent price providing we 1) don't extend Rodney (if we do, better be at the same or lower rate, doubtful) or 2) Singler isn't a better starting SG and 3) English hasn't come along yet and gets let go. Well, it seems most SGs in that year that will be available either have a team option, a qualifying offer, or are getting up there in age. So for this position, I'll just choose those I'd like (at reasonable prices). Now, if he could be had at a lower price, I wouldn't mind Monta Ellis, but that's very doubtful. I've heard quite a bit of rave about Klay Thompson, so that could be an option. But one I'd really like, would be Iman Shumpert. He has pretty good D (sarcasm) and right now is pretty cheap. Sadly, he has a team option that I suspect will be picked up. That may be a position we'll definitely have to develop internally. The only person in 2013-14 I'd go after would be Tony Allen, but that's because I've always liked him and think we could get him for about $5,000,000.
Looking at SFs
Who am I kidding with this one? We'll still have Prince (who will likely be extended if not traded) and have quite a few decent, and cheap, players behind him. So, just for spits and wiggles, in 2013-14 I'd go for Chandler Parsons or Matt Barnes (cheap), and in 2014-15 I'd go for Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green (GO STATE!!!). This is not a cheap position, and most quality players who are cheap are also old.
Looking at PFs
Ok, I'm still one who hopes that Monroe is a Pistons player for life, though he's struggled some this year. And no, I do not want DMC. But we will need help in this area at least after next season, so I'd even consider getting someone this year. In 2013-14, I'd more than likely go after Marreese Speights, Tyler Hansbrough (eh), Hakim Warrick, and Kyle O'Quinn. I MAY even be willing to resign Maxiell, but he'd be coming off of the bench at this time, so he'd HAVE to take a pay cut (or realistically stay the same). Now, IF we're content with Villanueva and Monroe and have to go for one in 2014-15, Faried is an option (though the team option will likely be picked up), Carl Landry, Darrell Arthur and Jared Sullinger. Again, this is with the hope that Monroe is the starting PF and these are backup options.
Looking at Cs
Do I really have to consider this? Drummond can play all 48 minutes by the time this becomes a question. But anyways, in 2013-14 I'd go for Greg Stiemsma, Samardo Samuels,
Darko Milicic, and maybe Gustavo Ayon (but his Team Option will likely be picked up. In 2014-15, I like Marcin Gortat and Kosta Koufos.
I've seen people on here and other sites state how they want a game changer, a player who is a closer, and some say they want a big name here. Well, I agree with a game changer and a player who is a closer, but not necessarily the big name. Therefore, when people see how much money we'll likely have and they want to free it up to grab players who cost more thinking they'll be better players than cheap players and we'll win sooner. Um...slow down. Regardless of how much cap space we have in the next two years, I doubt we'll get anywhere NEAR a championship by then. So we need cheap young potential. And we need to keep in mind extending Monroe and later on Drummond. Now, we'll have some draft picks, but presuming we continually improve, it becomes even more unlikely we'll get a game changing player later in the draft. So FA will have to be used. There is also the possibility of trades, though I (and others) have our reservations on them actually getting done (both considering Joe and the trade value of our players).
I do hope that by the trade deadline we'll have made AT LEAST one trade, but likely two. Maggette's expiring contract is huge and could grab a decent young player and/or a draft pick. There may be someone willing to do that so they can go after a big name player in the off season. Our bench has also been gaining a little trade value the last few games, just as the trade season opens (and the size of Chunky, most hunters would like an 8 pt buck). So there may be a couple of packages we can work out and it may change the whole scheme of things. But, if things weren't to change, I'd like to know what you'd do.
Joe...let the money burn a hole in your pocket!!!