Throughout the course of the season over here at I Loved the Game! we will look into possible scenarios involving the upcoming free-agency spree that will hit NBA franchises as they prepare their teams for the next decade. Ironically, it appears many owners and GM’s really looked at this year in terms of a breath of fresh air. Of course, there is a lot left of the ’09-’10 season to be played and there will be plenty of movement. However, as we have seen thus far, some trends and major headlines will already be big factors. The first couple of issues that can turn into major players next year, involves the New Jersey Nets, and the Gilbert Arenas saga…or as I like to call him now, “Hibachi Reloaded.” Of course, I would also like to touch on some things NCAA, such as draft prospects. By now we are seeing the cream of the crop of talented players that will show up somewhere in the top 10. Heck, we all pretty much have a consensus #1 pick now. Not that having the #1 draft pick will guarentee anything of course, as we have seen two out of the last three drafts. Between Greg Oden, and Blake Griffin, we have seen “sure” things go down in flames, although the long term jury is out.
First I’d like to touch on Gilbert Arenas. The man takes his place as one of this blog’s favorite players. From his weird comments, obsession with blogging, Twitter, and making his voice known, Agent Zero definitely does not disappoint. But sadly his mouth is better than his value. Let’s not slight Gilbert this year. After two season of essentially not playing due to injury, he has been a disappointment. However this year his numbers have been solid, 22ppg and 7apg at the time of this post. Those are quality numbers from the guard position. In Coach Flip Saunders’ system, Arenas has struggled getting his team into a rhythm, but he probably shouldn’t be playing the point anyhow. But don’t say Arenas has been solid. But has been worth a $111 million contract? Is he going to be worth upwards of $22 million in 2014? Definitely not. And now thanks to his legal troubles, the Wiz have struck a jackpot. It has been learned today that Arenas has been charged with a felony gun possession. A perfect chance for the Wiz to get out of his contract if they assemble the right legal team, and the NBA can overrule the NBA Players’ Union who will definitely duke it out. So what are the possibilities?
The Wizards are looking into blowing up the roster, and now is a good as time as any. They could start by unloading Antawn Jamison. Let’s say they shift him to the Cavs for some expiring contracts, and ask for someone like Bobbie Gibson or J.J Hickson for keepers. Then what do they do with left over money from Gilbert Arenas? A perfect replacement would be a younger two-guard who can distribute and score, and his name is Joe Johnson. But the Wizards would strike an even better deal with a top-5 draft pick. A top-pick leads them to grab John Wall, a no-brainer that could automatically combine with a Joe Johnson to create a deadly back-court. But just as impressive would be a combination of Derick Favors in the post at the power forward position. Here’s a hypothetical line-up:
PG Randy Foye SG Joe Johnson SF Caron Butler PF Derick Favors C Brendan Haywood would easily outclass the Atlanta Hawks (by way of taking Johnson) and knock on the door of the Magic-Celtic-Heat (if they keep Wade and sign another star)
A line up with length down-low and on the wings, scoring at all positions, and a mix of young talent, veteran role players and role players.
The next issue is the plight of the New Jersey Nets. How sad of a state is this franchise in? Their owner is trying to sell, but the NBA is delaying hearing it. They are lucky to have a bidder, but he’s a billionaire who earned shady earnings in Russia. The minority owner is a rap mogul who is friends with an NBA player,
it’s second best player has been hit with injury as well, and maybe learning bad habits. A team that looked good for LeBron James doesn’t even look good for the Big East.
But the Nets hold all the playing cards for next season if they land high in the draft. They will have money to spend, and will be competing with the Knicks, Heat and potentially the Wizards (see above) for free agents. The big key, however, will be a fateful day in May when the draft order is announced. Could the Nets land Kentucky sensation John Wall? This would be intriguing, because a move in this direction would almost signal a departure for Harris. A trade of Harris, would send a bunch of near the top teams in search of a point guard, to the phones to get a hold of the Nets new leadership. The suitors? Many.
The Toronto Raptors may make some major moves (if they trade Chris Bosh for someone like the rumored Andrew Bynum). If they dump Calderon to another team and need a new man at the top a Harris and Bynum combo with Turkoglu and Bargnani shooting around them might be good enough to be a playoff team.
The Miami Heat aren’t sold on Mario Chalmers, and to keep Wade in town may look to shipping Michael Beasley, and then sign a top post player like Chris Bosh, to create a 1-2-3 type line-up.
The most interesting destination involves the Blazers. The Blazers still haven’t found their point guard in Andre Miller and they aren’t convince that Steve Blake will ever start for a title contending team. Devin Harris seems like the best fit possible. If the Blazers manage to unload Miller this season for a quality big man to replace injured Greg Oden and shore up the center position, the Blazers will be the market for a point guard again. Harris with Brandon Roy would be a better fit. The emergence of Jareyd Bayless recently, might make Rudy Fernandez expendable. The Blazer’s stash of previous draft picks, might let the Nets hand over Harris for Fernandez and the first round pick.
At odd points in some franchises, the NBA universe has found away for all the stars and planets to be aligned. A top draft pick for the Nets would net a John Wall. A trade to the Blazers would give them Fernandez, a pick in the 20s would net them a Jarvis Varnardo to block shots.
Here’s their hypothetical line-up:
PG John Wall SG Rudy Fernandez/Courtney Lee PF Jarvis Varnardo C Brook Lopez
Missing something? Oh a small forward, the same position as LeBron James.