When NBA general mangers and executives look to improve their teams in the off-season, what do they really look for? Every team wants to improve but at drastically different paces. Some teams look ready to win right away, while others might want to gradually get there.
You will have a set of teams solely in the business of increasing ticket and merchandising sales. Then you have other teams trying to hold on to the semblance of greatness they once had.
This is almost like scouring the want-ads for a used car. Could you imagine what a classified ad would look like for teams looking for players and conversely players looking for a new team?
FOR SALE: Aging point guard with a lot of mileage, future Hall of Famer
When Chris Paul name comes up amongst NBA players, fans and executives a certain level greatness is attached to it. The “Point God” as he’s called in some circles has an overall impressive basketball resume.
The former Rookie of the Year has career averages right around 18 points, ten assists and two steals per game. With eight all star appearances and an Olympic gold medal top boot, Paul has done almost everything you can in the basketball world.
Everything except win a World championship, that is.
With the Houston Rockets getting bounced out of the playoffs in round two, Paul once again failed to capture that elusive championship. He has missed 48 games combined in the past two season and it remains to be seen how much he has left in the tank.
He and a large percentage of the Rockets players are available in a trade. Is there a veteran team in desperate need of floor general of Paul’s caliber? He may not be the offensive threat he once was but he can still provide a high basketball IQ and great leadership.
WANTED: NBA All-Star of any caliber to revive a dying fan base. Looking for a scorer, able to take over games and make dazzling plays. Looking for trade-ins only.
The Miami Heat have been going through the motions, ever since Lebron James took his talents back to Cleveland. It’s been a mix of a playoff series here and there, a revolving door of “go-to-guy” and a Dwyane Wade farewell tour.
The Heat are in a salary cap toilet bowl, shoving money into pockets of players who are not producing enough. They desperately need a new face of the franchise and a replacement for Wade.
Pat Riley and company will have to get creative and I mean like the first Matrix movie kind of creative. They hold the number 13 pick in Thursday’s draft and they could be using it as bait in a trade to get an All-Star.
If they keep the pick, they really have to hit on a difference maker. It’s not easy to find an all-star, 20 point per game guy that low but it’s not impossible.
With ridiculous player options to Hassan Whiteside ($27 million) and Goran Dragic ($19million), the Heat are cash-strapped as far as free agency is concerned. The only silver lining is those contracts are expiring after next season and a team could view that as a good enough reason to trade for one of them.
Miami desperately needs to hit big this off-season.
AVAILABLE : NBA All-Star, perennial all defensive team candidate with medium mileage. High motor defensive stopper. Comes with some baggage.
Jimmy Butler is a tough, hard nose defender in the mold of a shooting guard. He’s no nonsense on the court and he’s definitely not afraid to tell anybody what he thinks.
In his lone season in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform, the 29 year old Butler averaged 18.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals. He’s the ultimate wing defender with a strong frame, quick feet and a long wingspan.
That attitude I alluded to earlier might be a deterrent for some teams. Such a strong personality could be hard to handle for some coaches and other players. Still, there’s no denying Butler’s presence on the basketball court.
Butler could be had for the right price and he should be coveted by many teams when free agency officially starts. At 29 years old, he’s likely going to try to cash out while being on a competitive team. Staying in Philadelphia might be his best option to do both.
WANTED: Top notch point guard with high basketball IQ. Mileage is not an issue but must be in working order. Scoring is not a necessity.
The Phoenix Suns have a young, exciting team and the projections for these guys are high. The Suns have most of the pieces you want in a team but its still in the early stages of growth.
They have the two stars in the making at the top. The prototypical scorer/go-to-guy in Devin Booker and the quintessential offensive center in Deandre Ayton. Throw in a bunch of versatile forwards and wings and the piece that’s missing is clear and obvious.
The Suns need a point guard in the worst way. A guy who can set up teammates, run the pick and roll with Ayton and free up shots for Booker in particular. They would obviously love to pair a young floor general with the youth already on the roster but maybe a veteran might be a better move.
The Suns pick sixth in the draft and it doesn’t seem like they are sold on the point guards who will be available then. The scenario of them using the pick to acquire an aging player is very likely. An older player might also provide leadership and direction for the Suns, especially one with a chip on his shoulders.
Phoenix has one position of need and they should make sure they fill it this off-season. The market is flooded with that position, so the Suns have a few chances to make the right choice.
The pages will be filled with free agents and trades alike. This year’s version of the free agency period should provide is with some interesting scenarios. Have fun!