So this is the BLUEPRINT that I think the Pacers need to follow to retool this team without crossing over the dreaded LUXURY TAX.
Step 1: Trade David West to the Pistons for Josh Smith. (Throw in a future 2nd rounder to make it work if necessary)
West has been good for our team. Salary wise, this trade works. We'd only be on the hook for an extra $1.5 million of Joshes contract. Since West has 2 years left on his at $12 million. And Josh has 3 years left on his at $13.5 million. Not to mention, you never know what will happen in the final year of Joshes contract. Trade deadline and all, expiring's. Especially large ones are always coveted. But Smith has all the tools, this team needs to get quicker, faster, and more mobile. Get ourselves some easy transition baskets and run outs. Smith still has game. And while he takes the occasional ill-advised 3 pointer, I think our organizational structure and coaching will be good for him and his game. He's also closing in on "those years". So he will want to ride with a contender and win a title, without screwing it up.
There was a game back in FEB, where he put up 32 on Dallas. An assortment and array of moves that West at his age can't make often enough. Smith can also run the floor like PG can. That will be a big help to us because we hardly score any transition points. Roy is naturally slow, and West is declining. This is also a guy who signed here after an ACL surgery. So whatever explosiveness he had in his legs, was mooted by the surgery somewhat. While age has stolen the rest.
Josh back at PF will be a plus too. His natural position. But we get quicker, younger, faster, and more explosive. Not to mention, Josh is an above-average shot blocker. So we gain defense from that position.
Step 2: Trade Hibbert and CJ to Portland for Robin Lopez, Mo Williams, and J. Freeland.
Works financially. Roy would help Portland elevate their status in the West as a serious contender. He adds a defensive stopper, and some occasional scoring with the hook shot array. Portland now has someone who can blunt the many long-range shots they take on offense. Plus him and LA are friends. And he will have a mobile PF, and a TRUE point guard playing with him. That'll make his life easier, and could be the resurgence of his career. If so, we'll only see him and them twice a season so no biggie if he tears it up in Portland.
Plus his contract is really only two more years. So it doesn't tie Portland up in HUGE, long term money and years. For us, Lopez adds a more mobile big to our team. He can run, knows PnR, he's a decent shot blocker, and a great rebounder. In the East, where there are no true centers....he'll do just fine for us. Freeland is filler, and Mo Williams and CJ are a wash really. Both are on similar deals. We just take Mo because maybe we prefer him over CJ. A Josh Smith/Robin Lopez front line gives us ALOT more speed and quickness than we were working with before.
STEP 3: Trade George Hill for Marcus Thornton
The money bit of it works. Hill's only got two more years on his deal. Marcus has one. But their money is similar. Almost an exact match. Brooklyn just has Hill for 1 extra year on their roster. And again, in an expiring year...they can always deal him at the trade deadline for nothing or a pick or something.
Thornton gives us shooting from the SG spot. Which is what we need. He's streaky, and is capable of going off for 30+ in any game if he's hot. We saw that up close and personal last season. This allows us to re-sign Lance and move him to the 1, where he belongs. His size at PG would hurt opposing teams. His passing ability (when under control and focused, and more seasoned)...fits the position. And he pushes the ball early and often. No more WALKING IT UP EVERY DAMN TIME.
Step 4: Cut Scola or move him. Move Ian as well. And cut Sloan. Sign Ivan Johnson to the vet Min.
Saves us money if we can clear all these guys without taking back anything. Plus, we still have our TPE's to do something with. Ivan Johnson for the vet MIN, would be a steal at backup center. The guy does all the dirty work, isn't afraid to lay wood to guys driving to the basket, and is pretty athletic in running the floor and grabbing rebounds. Or we could resign LaVoy for cheap. A larger offensive threat.
Our NEW ROSTER. Would look like this........
LaVoy Allen/Ivan Johnson
We could use our TPE to try and fill the back up 2 guard role. Or use our MLE to add someone like CJ Miles for cheap.
Financially.....in this roster scenario? This is how we look next Summer.........
Mo Williams: EXPIRING
Robin Lopez: EXPIRING
J. Freeland: EXPIRING
Marcus Thornton: EXPIRING
Chris Copeland: EXPIRING
Scola (if kept): EXPIRING
Mahinmi (if kept): ENTERING FINAL YEAR
SLOAN (if kept): EXPIRING
Now I am not sure how much in total would fall off our cap next Summer IN THIS SCENARIO? But we'd definitely be in good position financially to make some deals. And replace SOME of these guys with rookies and young players on cheap contracts.