Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Forget Trading Bosh, Whose Going To Steal Him?

It’s every general managers worst nightmare, a talented individual, leaving without anything in return. Unfortunately, in some cases, whether it be hesitation to pull the trigger, a lack of cap, or an economic recession (hint hint), players often leave to where the grass is greener.

I’m sure many of you have at least once read one of Paul Johnson’s “The Five”. I remembered reading his article on the top five FA’s for the famous 2010 offseason. This got me thinking, forget the best five, any fool can recognize the best names of the NBA, lets talk about where they will go! Who has a realistic chance of stealing a franchise player, whether it be this summer, or the next.

Before I delve into it, there are a few variables to consider, but for the most part, here are the key deciding factors, whose on contract, both staff and players, what city do you call home, ownership, and of course, the availability of money and how much is really available after you resign part of your core . Look no further than Portland, many of its contracts will run off the books prior to the best FA crop in history, but how much of that money will go to keeping their core together. Finally, of course these should be taken with a grain of salt, who knows what could happen in the next month, who knows what can happen at any time really, a bad trade there, a critical injury, anything can happen.

So here it is, the top five “thieves” on the market.

1. Dallas
With all this talk of New York clearing cap, teams struggling to shed contracts Dallas’s positioning for a great FA haul have largely been kept secret. Perhaps because in the media, they are just the team with an enigmatic owner who gave up a youthful all star for a quick win right now fix but to players, this may be the most attractive option out there. How many players out there do you think feel the frustration knowing that their owners refuse to spend the money that breeds success. With Cuban, you may get someone who is perhaps too involved, but at least you know that you have someone who values winning as much as you do, someone who feels the stings of losses as much as you do. And moving on past ownership, you can find comfort in a great coaching staff and a solid core. The opportunity to know you can make a run alongside an already potent duo in Nowitzki and the JET should be appeal enough. Raptor fans watch out for Dallas. Even if the Raptors made it to the second round this year and the next, the chance to play for a team dedicated to success, 2 proven players and in front of your home crowd may be simply too much to pass up on.

2. Detroit

Detroit may be in the most unfortunate situation of all the NBA franchises. Why? Because they have the talent, the GM savvy but perhaps, not the money. I have to believe that Detroit’s ability to play in the market will really depend on how the recovery of the larger market goes. With a city plagued by the suffering automobile industry, they really can’t be that secure in their financial stability. With an already commendable core of RIP, Prince, Maxiell and I’d have to assume a resigned Stuckey, they may be so talented that they may not need a marquee signing. But with the cap relief from Wallace and Iverson, they are in perhaps the greatest position of all teams to make a running this offseason and perhaps get a prime big man to already seal a starting lineup for the next few years. Could this be Boozer’s next home, perhaps not but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of Utah’s phenomenal big man rotation ends up here. With the emergence of Millsap as a deserving starter, he could be the cheaper but equally effective big man Utah holds on to. This leaves Mr Dumar’s the very real opportunity to go after Okur or Boozer. An interesting point about the 2009 FA’s big man crop is that although they are not as prominent as some of the names in 2010, there are quite a few quality bigs out there that could be signed for a bargain. To me, David Lee stands out amongst the rest as a great possible steal.

3. Chicago
Ah the city that inspired thousands to pick up a basketball and try it. The only reason they rank as low as third is just because it’s simply too hard to predict how they will look next week let alone by the end of the year. But assume for a minute that with the exception of cap buster Larry Hughes, that Paxson plays it safe and keeps his core together, instead hoping to sign that quality big rather than sacrifice assets. With arguably the best 1,2,3 rotation in the NBA, this historical franchise is probably seen as an ideal destination for many of the bigs looking to cash in. The Bulls for years have been struggling to find that big man, and after showing such reluctance to trade away their many valuable pieces, perhaps it’s time to play the open market instead. With a much larger market, this franchise, unlike Detroit, has a much stronger ability to whether this recession and make the big offers. Even if some of the pieces do go away, they have so many that as long as Rose and Deng are kept and a nice signing, the Bulls will already have a very commendable roster.

4. New Jersey
Even though they may be the Brooklyn Nets, the team as a whole has made such progress this year alone, that with steady progress in the following season, it will be hard for a player to not recognize a great opportunity to play alongside a solid 1-2 in Harris, Carter and the emerging Lopez. It’s yet to be seen what further moves will be done, but I have no doubt that they will either add another piece to their core, or we will see some solid progress in YI that the Chinese populace undoubtedly see’s right now. Anyways, even without that addition, the solid guard play will be attractive to any big men to come over and complement them.

5. Miami
Ah Miami, this is one of the franchises, where the city alone has an appeal. How many people would love to call Miami their home, a chance to play for a legend in Riley, and a chance to play for a living super star in Wade. How many people honestly believe he’s going anywhere. Once Marion is moved, or leaves on his own, you will see some solid development with Beasley and steady progress from Chalmers. This team then may become a place of interest for all FA’s, whether you be a point guard, or a centre. Although I’m sure Riley wants to add a great big man like the rest of these teams, I think he would strongly consider another great wing player or point guard.

I think what makes all these teams so interesting is the fact that a lot of these teams have the ability to make the playoffs without any additions. After the Elton Brand fiasco, we all know how important that is to a player. This also seems to bode well for the Raptors as a lot of these teams are out there to find a big man and might be willing to take the gamble with O’Neal for a lack of great quality big men in the league in general. But at the same, it’s just as dangerous for the Raptors in 2010 as teams set their eyes on Bosh, a quality big for the future. But whether you’re Okur, Bosh, Boozer, Stoudamire or Ming, the market looks fantastic for big men and there definitely feels like there will be a few steals out there.

No comments:

Post a Comment