Wow, back in the FanPosts where it all started, mingling with the people. See guys, I'm just one of you, not some transcendent deity who is shrouded in a cloud of mystery. If you see me on the street, come up to me, I'm always willing to sign autographs and pose for photos (for a small fee of course).
Anyway, let's put on our Jeff Bower General Manager Issue Bald Caps and build a playoff roster.
Brandon Jennings - $8,334,497
Jodie Meeks - $6,270,000
Anthony Tolliver - $3,000,000
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - $2,891,760
Andre Drummond - $3,272,091
Spencer Dinwiddie - $845,059
Quincy Miller - $981,348
(Josh Smith) - $5,400,000
(Aaron Gray) - $452,049
Total = $31,456,804
Projected Cap = $67,000,000
Space = $35,543,196
Caron Butler - $4,500,000 - TEAM
Shawne Williams - $1,356,146 - TEAM
Cartier Martin - $1,270,964 - PLAYER
Here's where I stand. Obviously Shawne Williams should have his option declined because, as dtownsportslions so eloquently put it in his fanpost, Williams couldn't hit water if he fell off a boat. Cartier Martin, after a terrible season, will likely accept his player option as security, because he's not getting anything better on the open market.
The big if is Caron Butler. By all accounts, he was an excellent presence to have in the locker room, as someone who has seen it all before, won championships, been an All-Star, adversity, all that. However, the $4.5 million team option woven into his contract is a bit steep. Butler seemed to enjoy his stay in Detroit, and I think he'd be open to returning, but whether he accepts $3 million from Detroit or $2 million from a team like, say, Cleveland, it's up in the air. I'm going to predict we decline his option and move forward, we need the cap space to further build up this team.
Cap Space less options = $34,272,232
8th pick ($2,368,300)
38th pick ($507,336)
Barring a miracle where D'Angelo Russell falls to the 8th pick, I think the Pistons will have a decent choice of solid wings who could come in and help right away. I see a group of Porzingis (not a wing I know), Hezonja, Winslow, Johnson, Kaminsky (again, I know), Dekker, Booker and maybe Oubre as the top prospects for our pick and needs. Van Gundy has stated that he'll pick the best available player, the player he feels will have the best career, regardless of fit, so let's see.
At the 8th pick, guys like Sam Dekker, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Devin Booker would be perceived as reaches, even though I like them as prospects. Frank Kaminsky could be a conceivable pick, but I'm not totally sold on his ability to help right away in anything more than spot up shooting. Therefore, my top 4 is Hezonja, Porzingis, Johnson and Winslow. I think Porzingis goes 5th to Orlando, Winslow 6th to Sacramento, and Hezonja 7th to Denver, leaving us with Stanley Johnson, my ideal pick for us at the 8th spot.
With the 38th pick, I have two guys I'd like to see targeted, Jordan Mickey from LSU and J.P. Tokoto from North Carolina. Mickey would provide power forward depth behind Tolliver, whilst Tokoto would be an athletic presence on the wings.
Cap space less draft picks = $31,396,596
Armed with close to $30 million in cap space, the first thing I'd do is try and reach an agreement with Reggie Jackson before another team can force our hand. It's been much publicised how he apparently rejected a 4/48 offer from OKC, and that he'll want more than that, but I'm of the opinion that he declined it for basketball reasons as much as money. Therefore, I'm going to optimistically forecast a contract for Reggie in the vicinity of 4 years, $44 million ($11 million per).
Cap space less Jackson = $20,396,596
With 4 roster spots left open and a boatload of space, we need to target some starting quality players. I think Monroe is gone, as much as I don't want to believe it, so I'm targeting a Paul Millsap or Kevin Love. Kevin Love is unlikely and expensive, so I'm throwing Paul Millsap a 2 year, $21 million offer at $10.5 million a season. Slightly optimistic, I know, but it is a dream scenario.
Cap space less Millsap = $9,896,596
Our small forward depth is still shaky, so I'm pursuing guys like Khris Middleton or Tobias Harris. While both are restricted, they could be available for different reasons. I think Harris will get a better offer than the one we can offer under my parameters, but with Scott Skiles as the new Magic coach, Harris could be on the way out of Orlando. Harris was coached by Skiles his rookie year in Milwaukee, and reportedly did not get along well with him. But, I don't like Harris as much as I like Middleton.
Obviously, we did once own Khris Middleton, but he was included in the trade for Brandon Jennings. Apparently, the front office was hesitant to include Middleton as part of the deal, but without him, the trade would not have been agreed. Here's why I think Middleton is more attainable than people think. Milwaukee's roster is loaded with guaranteed contracts for next season, with only Middleton, Jared Dudley (team option) and Jorge Gutierrez (minimum contract) potential free agents. With the projected cap at $67 million, they would have a fair chunk of cap space as well, as Larry Sanders' contract has been stretched much like Josh Smith's. However, Milwaukee have two younger, arguably more talented small forwards on the roster in Giannis Antetokounmpo ($2 million) and Jabari Parker ($5 million). Unless they play Middleton at shooting guard, he could be had for a decent offer.
I'm offering Khris Middleton a Brandon Jennings type contract (3 yr/$24 million), starting at $7,500,000 in year 1 and increasing to $8,500,000 in year 3.
Cap space less Middleton = $2,396,596
Lastly, we need a backup center, with Monroe gone and Joel Anthony in free agency. I'd like Anthony back, and indications are Anthony wants to come back, so I'm offering Anthony a 1 year, $2 million contract. However, if Anthony signs elsewhere, my insurance plan is Aron Baynes from the Spurs. Baynes is 28 and a RFA, and would likely cost the same as Anthony. However, unlike Anthony, he has a pretty decent midrange game and is a very large body, good for both rebounding and post defence, as well as battling Andre Drummond daily in practice. He doesn't have the shotblocking of Anthony, however, and I'd probably prefer Joel Anthony, but Baynes is my insurance plan if need be,
Cap space less Anthony = $396,596
With the last roster spot, throw the rest of the money at Australian point guard Ben Quagliata. He averages 16 points a game in rec league, and is guaranteed bucketzzz.
PG: Jackson - Jennings - Dinwiddie - Quagliata
SG: Caldwell-Pope - Meeks - Tokoto (if we draft him over Mickey)
SF: Middleton - Johnson - Martin
PF: Millsap - Tolliver - Miller - Mickey (if we draft him over Tokoto)
C: Drummond - Anthony
Do you like my plans? Are my free agent signings too optimistic? Let me know below.