In this series I outline what every NBA team should do this offseason.
TO: Team Option (where the team that has the player under contract can keep them for another year or let them enter free agency)
FA: Free Agent
– with draft order I’m assuming certain standings at the end of the season based on my predictions, and the order will most likely be different to what I predict, but at this stage of the season I’m forecasting where the picks will likely be. I might revise at the end of the season.
ROSTERED FOR 2018-2019:
CAP SPACE: $65 mil.
Trade Timothe Luwawu to Bucks for their first round pick in 2018 (25th).
PICKS IN 2018 DRAFT:
16th (their own), 25th (from Luwawu trade) 35th (from previous trade), 39th (from trade), 46th (from trade), 54th (from trade).
Target PG Bruce Brown and SG Rodions Kurucs in draft.
Therefore, trade 25th, 35th, 39th, 46th and 54th pick to Bulls for their 8th pick, take Brown 8th and Kurucs 16th.
FREE AGENCY AND RETAINING PLAYERS:
Sign Paul George to 5 years, $30 million per year.
Pick up team options on Holmes and McConnell.
PG Fultz, Brown, Holmes
SG George, Kurucs, Bayless
SF Simmons, McConnell, Anderson
PF Saric, Korkmaz, FA
C Embiid, Covington, FA
The big get is Paul George. He’s in his prime so he’ll want a contender, and he can play shooting guard, albeit he’ll be in a more three and D role in Philly. The Sixers have the cap space to sign him to a huge deal, and this will catapult them into Eastern Conference Finals contention. There’s a lot of hype about PG going to the Lakers, but with Ingram, Kuzma, Ball, Hart and possibly LeBron James (and Chris Paul) joining LA I don’t think he’d be desirable at a high price tag with cheaper albeit inferior wing talent there already.
In the draft, Bruce Brown is one of the savviest playmakers in college ball as a freshman, and can defend 1-4. He’s pegged as a shooting guard but I think he’s best with the ball in his hands.
Rodions Kurucs is a 6’9″ wing who can shoot well, defend wings well, and makes some plays off the bounce. His selection assumes that he’ll play in the NBA next year, but with such a high pick I think he’d be likely to enter the draft. He’s pegged as a small forward but he’d get thrown around by frontcourt players early in his career, and he’s nimble enough to defend on the perimeter anyway.
Luwawu is traded away to make room for the rookies and acquire yet another trade asset. The Bucks need more 3 and D guys around Giannis and Bledsoe, so they’d be glad to pick him up, especially with them gunning for a ring already.
A frontcourt of McConnell, Korkmaz and COvington is unusual, but all players have the physical ability to defend at those spots. McConnell is stocky and feisty enough to stay in front of ball handlers and box out bigger players, Korkmaz is 6’7″ and lanky, while Covington can defend 1-5. The bench lineup would switch on everything and harass ball handlers, and would play fast.
The 3rd string guys in Holmes (at PG, he’s quick enough and can help on the weak side at that spot, which is being encouraged more and more nowadays), Bayless (whose contract is too burdensome to move but expires after 2018 anyway) and Anderson (an impact player wherever you put him), as well as two other free agents on veteran minimum or two-way contracts, round out the team.
My prediction: 54 wins, Eastern Conference Semis. They’re too young to beat more battle hardened teams like the Celtics and Raptors, but they’ll contend for the next five years atleast with this offseason in place.
Thoughts? Comment here or on my Twitter: @bskinnreports