As we begin to enter the fun part of the NBA offseason, I have decided to participate in the yearly tradition of thinking I'm a better GM than the ones who actually get paid millions of dollars to conduct this role, and make moves which I view as beneficial that would probably weaken the roster to its foundations.
So let's do this.
All salary data courtesy of Spotrac, unless otherwise stated.
Tobias Harris - $17,200,000
Reggie Jackson - $14,956,522
Aron Baynes - $6,500,000
Jodie Meeks - $6,540,000
Josh Smith - $5,400,000
Marcus Morris - $4,625,000
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - $3,678,319
Stanley Johnson - $2,969,880
Reggie Bullock - $2,255,644
Aaron Gray - $452,059
Total - $64,577,424
With the cap set at $92 million estimated, that gives the Pistons roughly $28 million in space to work. Of course, we have to account for the cap hold possessed by Andre Drummond, which, according to Bleacher Report, is about $8.1 million.
Cap space minus guaranteed contracts - $19,322,576.
I really like the idea here of trading for the Celtics picks in the late first round and moving down.
DET receives: #23, #31
BOS receives: #18, Jodie Meeks
This way we move down in the draft while making room to get younger, and still retain our #49 pick. I've seen some plans saying get all three picks (#23, #31 and #35) but I don't see that happening.
With the 23rd pick, I'm looking for a future forward rotation player. For this one I'm weighing up Brice Johnson, Thon Maker and Timothe Luwawu. I'll take Luwawu at #23, as a project 2-3 man, with room to grow. He has great length but is a bit skinny. Some have compared him to when Giannis was coming out of Europe. If need be we can stash him in Europe for a season.
With the 31st pick, I'm taking Thon Maker if he's still there. At this spot, I don't think you can pass on the upside he offers, as a potential player with 7 foot length and point guard skills. If Maker isn't there, I'll go with Ben Bentil from Providence. He's a good presence inside and can step away into the mid range, but doesn't really have much of a deep ball.
With our retained 49th pick, I'm looking for a point guard. None of the top point guards really excite me, like Jackson, Baldwin or Ulis. If by some chance Ulis is still there at #49 I'm grabbing him no questions asked, but I think he'll be gone, so I'm going with Oakland dynamo Kahlil Felder. Explosive scorer who had crazy athletic measurables at the combine, just a little small at a spritely 5'9".
Draft picks: Luwawu, Maker, Felder
With Meeks gone in a trade during the draft that frees up $6.5 million in cap space, minus the rookie contracts we have to pay. By stashing Luwawu in Europe for a season we save on paying his contract for this season as a first round pick, leaving two second rounders to pay in Maker and Felder. I don't have exact figures but I think they'd probably make up about $1.5 million combined, so we'll roll with that estimate. So coming out of the draft we've added $5 million in space.
Cap space post draft, pre free agency: $24,322,576
OK. So after that mess we have 9 players under contract. My first priority is obviously a backup point guard, and you already know where I'm going with this.
I'm throwing $8 million a season at Matthew Dellavedova and seeing what Cleveland do. My upper bound with Delly is probably $10 million, but I'd rather it didn't get to that. Assuming the best case scenario, Delly signs the offer sheet and Cleveland don't like going into extra luxury for the backup PG. If Dellavedova is retained by Cleveland, my plan B and C is Brandon Jennings and Jerryd Bayless respectively. I'm offering Jennings $6-8 million, and Bayless $6 million.
Cap space minus Dellavedova: $16,322,576.
Next I'm looking for a backup power forward to soak up minutes. The market for back up fours is pretty slim this year, so I'm extending Anthony Tolliver an offer to come back, in the region of $3 million a year.
Cap space minus Tolliver: $13,322,576
Next, I realise that I've forgotten to take the option on Darrun Hilliard and make his contract guaranteed. That brings up the roster to 12 players and is a low cost solution at under a million bucks.
Cap space minus Hilliard: $12,447,940
I do the same with Joel Anthony because we need dat #veteranleadership and #professionalism. Plus as far as third string centres go there isn't really much wiggle room here.
Cap space minus Anthony: $9,947,940.
With whatever room we have left, I'm throwing the book at Kent Bazemore. Probably the most unrealistic move, as he'll probably get more that $10 million to start somewhere else, but this is my plan god dammit and he signs gratefully. A superior wing defender, he has an improved three point stroke and can defend 1-3. Does that sound like someone worth more than $10 million a season? Well, yeah probably, but piss off.
Cap space minus Bazemore: $0
Then we sign Andre Drummond to whatever extension he desires, as we can go over the cap to do so, so his business will inevitably be left to last.
Retained: Jackson, Caldwell-Pope, Morris, Harris, Drummond, Baynes, Bullock, Johnson, Hilliard, Anthony, Tolliver
Brought in: Luwawu (draft and stash), Maker (draft), Felder (draft), Dellavedova (FA), Bazemore (FA)
Released: Dinwiddie, Brown, Blake, Meeks (trade)
Final Depth Chart
PG: Jackson, Dellavedova, Felder
SG: Caldwell-Pope, Bazemore, Hilliard
SF: Morris, Johnson, Bullock
PF: Harris, Tolliver, Maker
C: Drummond, Baynes, Anthony
This depth chart offers positional flexibility with numerous players:
- Dellavedova can play PG on bench unit and also SG with a ball dominant PG (like he does with Kyrie Irving)
- Bazemore can play both SG and SF offensively, and defend PG, SG and SF
- Caldwell-Pope's versatility we know about as well
- Harris and Morris are interchangeable
- Johnson and Bullock can both play SG and SF
Our last bit of offseason business is to preorder championship rings and book a date for the jeweler to come down to Auburn Hills to take measurements.
Feel free to tear my plan apart below.