I intended to post this a few weeks ago, but I was so focused on writing the draft profiles that I put it on the backburner.
Obviously, some of the luster of what the contest could have been is over, as we've made some major moves already last week. However, it appears as if there are still several holes to fill, and decisions to be made affecting next season and beyond, with many choices and possibilities available. I think we all know what the issues and problems are with the roster, but the question is, what is the best masterplan of action in order to solve them the best we can so we can be in the best condition for now and in the future?
This thread can involve trades we might make with one or numerous teams, outright signings of unrestricted free agents, or "sign and trade" deals. It can involve players you'd like to see invited to training camp as non roster invitees as well, along with players you might choose to manuever for in the summer of 2009.
For the purposes of this contest, please make sure your ideas are well thought out, make sense for all the teams involved, and fit under the rules of the collecting bargaining agreement.
We will call the contest over on July 13th, giving us a chance to discuss the various plans if we wanted at the forum meet on July 12 to help determine who had the best overall plan. In reality, you should have your plan in place and posted before the moratorium on signings ends on July 9th.
Even if you choose to not post an official "masterplan", feel free to comment on the ideas of others.....maybe we all will learn something from the dialogue that we hadn't considered before.
Since I am the thread starter, I will go first.
Step one for me is to try and figure a way out of the Jamal Tinsley mess. I don't see the Simon's paying Tinsley over 20 million to play elsewhere, and I am dubious of media claims of Tinsley having knee injuries so serious as to force his retirement, just as I am at the idea the Pacers will pay him off instead of at least attempting to use him somehow in a deal with a desperate club.
Of course, it will take a desperate club to try and take on Tinsley, a team with no other good options at the point guard position is the only way this could work. We'd need to find a team so dysfunctional and traditionally screwed up that they'd be willing to take this kind of gamble. Fortunately, such a team does exist: The LA Clippers! Here is the first move:
1. The Clippers sign and trade wingman Quinton Ross to a 3 year, 18 million dollar contract and trade him to Indiana for PG Jamal Tinsley and cash considerations.
You all knew I'd try and figure out a way to get a premier wing defender to us, and I chose my favorite one, Quinton Ross, to come to Indiana. By all accounts, it appears that the Clippers have no interest in bringing Ross back to LA, so it makes sense that they might choose to get something for him, albeit something as flawed as Tinsley is. But, the Clippers have the worst point guard situation in the league, with little other options as good as Tinsley could potentially be. Getting cash from us is a nice bribe for the penny pinching Donald Sterling. For us, this is a great opportunity to add a great wing defender, freeing up Danny Granger to not have to guard the opponents best wing player all the time. We don't save any money in total here, but it doesnt cost us any either, and we get a very productive, important role player to add to our rotation.
Step 2 for me would be to get a potential solution at power forward, without risking the entire team's future to do so. For a while now I've been trying to figure out a way to acquire Josh Smith, who I really like. However, If he turned down 11 million per year as reported, I can't see us having the available resources to pull off a sign and trade, or the willingness to make such a long term committment to him at this time.
So, I've decided that I would pull the trigger on a much smaller, lower key deal that doesnt effect our salary structure so much. Here it is:
The Pacers trade Jeff Foster to Denver.
The Nuggets trade PF Linas Kleiza, C Stephen Hunter, and Charlotte's 2009 First round draft pick to Indiana.
The Nuggets do this because they are in "win now" mode. This is Iverson's last year, and they need a replacement for Eduardo Najera, who is a free agent and likely to leave them. If they complete the trade I anticipate them making with Chicago involving Camby and Kirk Hinrich, Foster becomes a starter for them in the short run, and gives them an expiring deal as well if everything falls apart on them. Foster is perfect for the Nuggets, because he doesnt need the ball to be effective. With the gunners they have, that is very important!
The Pacers get 2 main advantages from this deal. Kleiza is a potentially very nice player at the PF, one who Denver really likes. Getting him now gives us a year to evaluate him to see if he is part of our future or not. Hunter is just a thrown in, but is still a nice defensive center, giving us a "3 headed monster" of centers in Hibbert, Nesterovic, and Hunter for this one season.
The main advantage of course is next year's first round draft pick, which Denver acquired from Charlotte last week. That pick will likely be in the lottery, so if everything would break our way we could have another very interesting draft night in 2009.
Step 3 for me would be to shop Mike Dunleavy. I hate to do that, because Dunleavy is a fine, smart, hard working player who happens to be my Dad's favorite Pacer. But, we need to clear out some money here to be able to afford to keep Danny Granger long term, and we need a different mix I think of talents at our wing positions.....adding Rush in the draft and trading for Ross in this masterplan enables us to make a move like moving Dunleavy for additional help in other areas.
The question then is, can you trade Dunleavy and get enough value for him to justify dealing him? I scoured the league's rosters, looking for a good matchup for him and his talents. Ideally, I was looking for young players, expiring contracts, and second round picks. I also wanted players with character and talent who would fit in to what we are trying to do here, both financially and in style of play.
Here is the best deal I came up with:
Indiana trades Mike Dunleavy to Portland
Portland trades Channing Frye, Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw and a future second round draft pick to Indiana.
This is a sensible deal for both teams I think. Portland has to make at some point a 3 for 1 type deal, as they have so many players on their roster they will be forced to lose them potentially for nothing. Dunleavy gives them an upgrade in terms of experience and basketball savvy, and his hidden strength of being able to feed the post will so well will be better utilized here, with Aldridge and Odon to feed the ball to. Dunleavy starts and really is a "glue guy" as their ideal 3rd or 4th best player.
For Indiana, it is all about adding youthful talent while shedding salary. Frye and Webster are both good fits for us here, and have expiring contracts as well. Outlaw is a useful player who can play multiple positions if need be, and could be moved on fairly easily if the Pacers so desired.
Step 4 for me would be to again add some rebounding and toughness to our team, which we lost with trading Jeff Foster earlier. I'd also like ot try and remove Marquis Daniels and Shawne Williams away from the roster, to continue our organizational culture change. Here is the best I could come up with:
Indiana trades Stephen Graham, Shawne Williams, and Marquis Daniels to Cleveland.
Cleveland trades Anderson Verajao and Damon Jones to Indiana.
This trade helps the chemistry of both lockerrooms, and gives Cleveland additional cap space after the season in ridding themselves of Verajao, who is a much better fit in Indiana than Cleveland after these proposed moves. With a different atmosphere, maybe Shawne Williams reaches his potential in Cleveland.
For Indiana it helps our rebounding, toughness, and energy level, sacrificing some 09 cap space in the process.
Here is our 15 man roster now:
PG: Ford, Jack, and Deiner
Wings: Granger, Ross, Rush, Webster, Outlaw
Posts: Verajao, Hibbert, Nesterovic, Murphy, Frye, Hunter, Kleiza.
I'd trade Maceo Baston to a team under the cap for a future second round pick.
I'd release McRoberts and Jones if I needed to to get to the 15 minimum.
We also now have an extra first rounder, don't forget, in 2009, belonging to Charlotte. We also now have several expiring deals, with the flexibility that brings you. We are also extremely young.
I realize that the Pacers in reality probably won't make that many changes/moves to the roster as I did in this exercise......which is why I probably won't be the winner of this contest! However, all of these moves I felt were realistic for both teams involved to make, and they all fit the rules of trading under the collective bargaining agreement.
What is YOUR masterplan? Let your imaginations run wild........