We'd have no reason to be thinking of re-building until next year when we see what the team can do. If we have a losing record or a record uncomfortably close to .500, we may be able to make some deals that give us a chance to land somebody pretty good. Let's examine our roster situation.
Nazr Mohammed and Tyson Chandler will be off the books for roughly 19.5 million. This is assuming that we sit on their expiring deals this year. Our hardest player to move will, of course, still be Desagana Diop. Packaged with another player will make him a lot easier to move. So, these are some deals that I think could keep the Charlotte fan base interested while giving us salary cap room, which I'm sure would satisfy the fans of ROF. We all LOVE cap space don't we?
This trade would work well for both teams. We would get Erick Dampier and his expiring 13 million dollar contract to come in and spell Chandler off the bench for a few minutes during the game. We also get Deshawn Stevenson and his expiring 4 million dollar deal to replace Jackson, also freeing up more playing time for Gerald Henderson as Stevenson doesn't command the minutes that Jackson does. For Dallas, they pick up a player that can probably, finally be the one to inject the toughness that carries the Mavs to their full playoff potential with Jackson. We would also be getting rid of his contract which runs through 2012/2013. D.J. can be thrown in to make the salaries work, and of course we get rid of Diop's contract as he makes a return to Dallas.
The only thing really left that would be standing in the way of a huge splash in next year's free agency pool would be to get rid of Boris' contract. No rebuilding team would want him, so it would only make sense to trade him to a contender looking for a little more help at that point thinking they can make a championship run that has an expiring contract to offer in return.
The Thunder have made a few trades this off-season already and have revamped their roster without losing anyone important. For a team that gave the Lakers the most competition of any of the western conference teams, they could be thinking championship next year and could look for Boris to come off the bench and provide an offensive boost to the team as they look to win a title. Meanwhile, we get Collinson's expiring 6.75 mill deal and Cook's 2 million dollar salary coming off the books.
Let's go ahead and say we keep Gerald in a Bobcat's uniform so the fans don't completely lose interest in the team.
PG Sherron Collins, Earl Watson (or any cheap FA pickup to play the point)
SG Gerald Henderson, DeShawn Stevenson, Daequan Cook
SF Gerald Wallace, Derek Brown
C Tyson Chandler, Erick Dampier, Nazr Mohammed, Alexis Ajincia
Now I know this roster looks like crap, but for a team clearing cap room to make a massive run at a top free agent, I think they could do fairly well and still possibly make a postseason appearance, or at least have a better record than the Knicks had this year. But, really, the whole point of this is just to remind people that we're not as bad in a salary cap position as some believe. All it would take is a few sacrifices in talent, but you've got to be aggressive if you really want to make it happen. I'm sure with some more thorough research, I could come up with better deals to keep them in the playoff race next year, but I thought of this off the top of my head as I do with all my other articles. So, what do you guys think? If we don't show improvement next year, are you willing to shed a few quality players to put us back into the free agency mix?
The Class of 2011- Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, J.R. Smith, Kendrick Perkins, Jamal Crawford, Al Horford (RFA), Caron Butler, Tayshaun Prince, T.J. Ford, Zach Randolph, David West, Jason Richardson, Carl Landry, Tony Parker, Andrei Kirilenko
Disclaimer: I'd rather keep our current team intact.