Here it goes, my first fanpost...
The Cap is projected to be $67 million. Pistons players under contract next season:
Brandon Jennings - $8,344,497
Jodie Meeks - $6,270,000
(Josh Smith Stretch - $5,400,000)
Andre Drummond - $3,272,091
Anthony Tolliver - $3,000,000
K. Caldwell-Pope - $2,891,760
Quincy Miller - $981,348 (guaranteed until July 11)
Spencer Dinwiddie - $845,059
(Aaron Gray Stretch - $452,049)
Those are the guaranteed contracts for next season, totaling $31,456,804.
Non-guaranteed deals and options:
Caron Butler - Team Option for $4,500,000 DECLINED
Shawne Williams - Team Option for $1,356,146 DECLINED
Cartier Martin - Player Option for $1,270,964 ACCEPTED
Pick 8: $2,368,300- Mario Hezonja. Assuming he is there at #8. Hezonja would have the most upside of likely players at that pick. He brings two exceptional traits in his athleticism and shooting. If you have a player that combines those two, you draft them. His deficincies in game focus and character are the responsibility of the staff to address and it is believed that the staff can handle them or at the very least, mitigate them. Order (Likely Available): Hezonja, Winslow, Turner, Porzingis (I'm leery on Porzingis but his potential is too high to trade down). Trade Down candidates and order- Dekker, Portis, Kaminsky, S. Johnson, Looney, Oubre, Lyles
Pick 38: $507,336- Rakeem Christmas. It is iffy whether or not Christmas will be there, but if he is, grab him. Good combine measurements and played well. If he is not there, SF J.P. Tokoto fills a position of need and offers solid potential. Hometown SF Vince Hunter has good athleticism and had a good combine. If all three are gone, Jordan Mickey might work and Timothe Luwawu, Jonathan Holmes, and Dakari Johnson are also options.
Players not under contract past 2014-15 season: Greg Monroe, Reggie Jackson (QO),Tayshaun Prince, Joel Anthony, John Lucas III
Reggie Jackson at X years at 14 million per. This is the same value as Eric Bledsoe and I think what can be reasonably expected. The years depends on Reggie and whether he wishes to become a free agent again fairly soon due to the exploding cap or wants a long-term deal. Regardless of years, salary should stay close to the same.
Joel Anthony*- See Below
Free Cap Space=19,648,908
SG- Pope/Meeks/FA Combo G
SF- W. Johnson/Hezonja/Martin
PF- FA (See Below)/Tolliver/FA PF-C
* If Christmas is not drafted, Joel Anthony is potentially re-signed.
Open slot for Quincy Miller/15th man.
It is said that no plan survives contact with the enemy, or as Mike Tyson put it- "Everyone has a plan until they get hit". With that to consider, this offseason plan is written with flexibility in mind, guided by several principles, with an overall objective as its end. How that objective can be achieved is up to the circumstances, but the means of achieving that should be guided by the principles discussed below. The objective is to construct a team with talent and potential, that does not jeopardize the team's long-term finances. That being said, every plan needs a point of assumption, and it is assumed that the team drafts Mario Hezonja/Justise WInslow for SF and Rakeem Christmas for backup C. To go into scenarios for every draft contingency would be too time consuming. When conceiving this offseason plan, these were the principles I decided to follow.
1. Realism. No fancy trades involving three teams. No signing of players that are likely to be retained by their teams. If the player being signed would probably be retained, then it is assumed they will be. This means that guys like Draymond Green, Kris Middleton, and Tobias Harris are off the table. Also, high-profile free agents are assumed to NOT sign with Detroit and for them to select another team. Additionally, starting players considered "likely to be overpaid" are not discussed. This means no to someone like Amir Johnson. Lastly, it is assumed that Brandon Jennings is at this point un-tradable for anything beyond middling backups or a 2nd round draft pick until he plays. Rookies are not assumed to be guaranteed starters
2. 2015-2016 Season Outlook and Beyond. It is assumed that the Detroit Pistons are not going to be legitimate contenders in 2015-2016. It is also assumed that the goal is to turn the Pistons into serious, legitimate contenders. Being able to get to the 2nd round is not the goal. No moves will be considered that enable the playoffs but limit the team from becoming a serious contender or jeopardizes their financial flexibility. If this means having inferior talent start, so be it.
3. Age and Potential. Preference is given towards young players, particularly backups, with the hope that they can be developed. Overpays for these players are deemed acceptable compared to overpays for higher priced players. A 25% (or more) overpay on a guy making 4 million a season is not as troubling as a 25% overpay for a guy making 12 million. Players at or above the age of 28 are considered unacceptable for long-term starting roles and 4-5 year contracts. Generally, significant money will not be spent on players who will be paid starting money into their 30s. This, combined with the first and second rules, means that high-profile FAs are generally not to be considerd.
4. Sorting of Free Agents into Groups. The plan is not specific, but rather seeks to offer options where the Pistons would choose based on market conditions. This season's conditions will likely result in extreme unpredictability regarding market values.
Team Needs (Pre Draft):
A. Starting SF and PF
B. Spot Starting/Backup SF
C. Backup Center/Reserve Big Man
D. Reserve Combo Guard. It is assumed that Brandon Jennings will not be ready at season's start and may be traded later in the season.
Contracts are my best estimate based on what the players would likely demand. Of course, fewer years is preferred, and each contract should be considered "acceptable" for fewer years at the same rate. Please feel free to correct me. I know I'm probably wrong on some. (Salaries are for total contract, not per-year)
A. Starting PF ($6 to 10 million per)
Brandon Bass (3 years, 27-30 million) , Jordan Hill (4 years, 24-28 million), Kyle O'Quinn (4 years, 25 million), Drew Gooden (?), Kevin Seraphin (4 years, 25 million), Jason Smith (3 years, 20 million), Derrick Williams (?).
With the drafting of Hezonja, PF becomes the biggest hole for the Pistons. Brandon Bass is probably the best, realistic player available, but contenders might be bidding for his services. He also is turning 30 (an age I believe in avoiding like the plague for long-term contracts), but if he can be had for a relatively reasonable fee and term, the prospect of starting may draw him to Detroit. Also, he has demonstrated a willingness to go to the bench, something important as he is a short-term solution. He would bring a bit of a mid-range game and professionalism. He isn't a great rebounder or defender. Jordan Hill and Kyle O'Quinn offer more potential. Assuming LA doesn't exercise his option, which seems quite more likely than not, Hill would be on the open market. Hill sort of burned out down the stretch with the Lakers, so playing him starters minutes must be dealt with cautiously. Hill also might be sought after by other teams. Kyle O'Quinn offers potential and a decent game, including mid-range offense. The Magic might have trouble matching and retaining Tobias Harris. Although I've written the most about Bass (as I view him highly probable and "safe"), it really is a toss-up between him, Hill, and O'Quinn. None of them are considered "guaranteed starters" and so would be able to move back to the bench if someone else were to come along. Drew Gooden is probably going to return to WSH, but could be signed if the other 3 fail to pan out as a stopgap. Contract would be hard to figure. Kevin Seraphin and Jason Smith are discussed below. Derrick Williams is a risky proposition and a deeply flawed player, but could yield rewards if he ever figures out how to play and his contract could come rather cheaply or somewhat expensive.
Regardless, the long-term goal with this player is for them to start this season and transition to 1st big off the bench.
B. Spot Starting/Backup Small Forward ($4-6.5 million per)
Wesley Johnson (3 years, 12-18 million), KJ McDaniels(3 years, 12-18 million), Jae Crowder (3 years, 15-20 million), Dorell Wright (MLE)
Wesley Johnson is a flawed player. That needs to be said. He is also 27, a plus athlete, might be playing for his last NBA contract, has starting experience, and can shoot the 3. His 3 PT. percentage is middling, but one thing to note is that his FT% has improved since he entered the league, going from 70% to 80%. That improvement and base of shooting suggests that his 3 PT% can improve, which is one of the few stats that improves later into a player's career in the NBA. IF he can be had cheaply, he could serve as a spot starter while Hezonja/Winslow develops or as a key backup. There might be some competition for his services, but he shouldn't be wildly expensive unless some team makes a run. KJ McDaniels has shown good potential, but teams might chase him, driving up his price, plus he'd probably want to start. Jae Crowder is another guy with potential, but is a RFA and it might be trouble to find the spot between Boston matching and him being significantly overpaid and again, the guy might desire a permanent starting job. Dorell Wright is servicable, and could potentially be had for the MLE. However in this weird free agency, his price might become unreasonable.
C. Backup Center/Reserve Big Man ($2-6 million per)
Justin Hamilton (1 year, 2 million+team option), Cole Aldrich (2 years, 3-6 million), Kevin Seraphin , Jason Smith, Random Veteran Six Hard Fouls
If Bass is signed, and Christmas drafted or Anthony retained, I like Justin Hamilton of the Timberwolves as a buy-low, sell-high guy. He put up decent offensive numbers, shows range out to 3pt land, and his solid FT% projects as a base for improvement. His defense and rebounding is to be termed generously a work in progress. He did show some shot blocking down the stretch when he had elevated minutes, but that doesn't mean good defense. He's young, should be cheap, and has potential. He is a RFA, but its unclear whether the Wolves would match. Cole Aldrich is an option if the team wants someone with more experience and consistent play.
If Bass is not signed, Anthony not re-signed, Christmas not drafted, and it is instead O'Quinn or Hill, then a more consistent backup big man is necessary, one who would actively compete for a starting role/platoon. In this case, a veteran PF-C. Kevin Seraphin or Jason Smith can fit the role. Seraphin is a better defender with a slight mid-range game, but might be expensive and wants to start. Jason Smith brings shooting and not much else, but has logged significant minutes and is experienced.
D. 5th Guard ($1-2 million per)
Vander Blue (2 years, 2 million), Will Bynum (NBA minimum), Ronnie Price (Veteran's minimum)
Brandon Jennings injury, and Spencer Dinwiddie's relative inexperience means that a 5th guard, preferably a combo guard, is needed. Vander Blue seems like an excellent candidate. Good D-league numbers, a bit of NBA experience, potential, athleticism, 3 pt. shooting, and a little bit of playmaking skill. The only problem is he's a RFA and the Lakers might match. In that case there is Will Bynum. We all know Will Bynum. Ronnie Price could potentially be had for the veteran's minimum in order to keep his career going, though he did play significant minutes for the Lakers at one point.
Other Players to Consider (15th man, $1 million per)
Travis Wear, Luke Babbit, etc.
Wear and Babbit are shooters who should be available cheaply and could turn into useful (and tradable) assets.
MAX Free Agency- $25.5 million per = 5,851,092 OVER CAP
MIN Free Agency- $13 million per= 6,648,908 BELOW CAP
As can be seen, figures could vary wildly. An effective FA period might require some fancy structuring of contracts, use of exceptions, and/or consideration of players not on this list. The Pistons should be able to fill their holes, add an intriguing player or two who could exceed the value of their contract, and not be tied down to any long-term deals to declining players. The team would probably fare no better than this season's and could potentially be worse. However, the development of Hezonja/Winslow/Draft Pick or one of the main FAs outplaying their contract could make this team better. Unfortunately, game changers are unlikely to be had as many teams seem bent on matching or wildly overpaying. This team may not do much in the way of excitement, but it should be in decent position to improve and make advantageous trades.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Any feedback is appreciated.