At various points throughout the Summer I'm going to take a shot at playing GM for the Sixers. I've waited until this point for the first installment because I wanted to see what direction the coaching search would take and how the draft lottery would play out. After the jump I'll break down my moves and open the floor to all of yours.
First, the rules. When you're done making your moves, the Sixers need to be under the luxury tax threshold (we'll say $70M roughly), any moves considered need to at least pass the common sense test. I don't want any Dalembert for LeBron trades. You can make assumptions (like, say, assume Okur will opt out of the final year of his deal). Start with who should coach (I'm choosing from the confirmed candidates, you do not have to. Then player moves, and finally give me your starting lineup and complete roster.
Coach: Tom Thibodeau. Given the players currently on the roster, I think it's a no-brainer that you need a defensive coach. The Sixers have the potential to be a top-five defensive team with the right mind installing a system which utilizes the individual strengths. I think Thibodeau is the man. I'd prefer for him to have an up-and-coming offensive mind as his lead assistant. I also want a full-time shooting coach on staff, and an ex-NBA point guard on the bench. Maybe Eric Snow, to work with the young points who will follow on this list.
Stephen Curry: I believe the New York Knicks are right now trying to find a way to trade up and get Ricky Rubio. If that move fails, then Curry probably won't fall past them in the draft. This means the Sixers need to acquire a pick higher than #8 to get Curry. If I'm Stefanski, and since I am for the purposes of this exercise, I'm on the phone with Washington right now. I start the talks with $3M and the #17 pick for the #5 pick. They ask for Speights in the same deal, I counter with Jason Smith. They insist on Speights, I take the #17 pick out of the deal and it's sealed. $3M and Marreese Speights for the #5 pick. With that pick I select Stephen Curry ($2,724,000 salary this season).
Eric Maynor: With the #17 pick, I select Eric Maynor. There's definitely risk involved with Stephen Curry. I believe he can play the point with Iguodala next to him at the two, but I still want a pure point guard on the roster who can shoot. I've looked at the available players on the free agent market. A few would fit, but they'd require at least the full MLE. The guys who could be had for the minimum/bi annual don't really do it for me. I think I'd rather have Maynor on a rookie deal as my backup PG. ($1,261,900 salary this season).
Marcin Gortat: On July 1st, Gortat becomes a restricted free agent. At 12:01 a.m. on July 1st, I'm on the phone with Gortat. I guarantee him 20 minutes per game and a legit shot to win the starting position in training camp. He's signed to an offer sheet for the full MLE on July 2nd. It's a five-year deal, without yearly increases. 5 years, $26.5M. Orlando does not match. ($5,300,000 salary this season).
Andre Miller: I listen to sign-and-trade offers for Miller, but when no moves are proposed that help the Sixers without limiting cap flexibility in 2011, I pass. Miller walks.
Donyell Marshall: I convince Donyell to come back to play a similar role for the veteran's minimum in 2009-2010. (Veteran's minimum exception, $736,420)
Ime Udoka: With the bi-annual exception, I take a shot on Udoka to provide some depth at the three. Gone are the days when we see Willie Green at the three under any circumstances. Udoka shoots the three at a league-average level. He's an unrestricted free agent. ($1.99M salary this season)
- Stephen Curry
- Andre Iguodala
- Thaddeus Young
- Elton Brand
- Sam Dalembert
- PG: Eric Maynor, Royal Ivey
- SG: Lou Williams, Willie Green
- SF: Ime Udoka, Donyell Marshall
- PF: Jason Smith, Reggie Evans
- C: Marcin Gortat
Overall Thoughts: I love the idea of a competition for the starting center position between Gortat and Dalembert. I have Dalembert winning the battle here, simply because I think the competition pushes him to dominate (defensively), which he's capable of. Top-level play from him may even open up an in-season trade. The point guard position is obviously a huge gamble. There's only one pure point on the roster (Maynor) and he doesn't have a second of NBA experience. The key for me is to use Iguodala's playmaking skills to ease the burden on the young points, turn Curry into the spot-up shooter they desperately need, and also develop a sick pick-and-roll game with Curry and Brand. Maynor plays a more traditional point with the second unit (Iguodala slides to the three, Lou at the two, possibly). Having a mentor for the young points on the coaching staff is going to be very, very important because there is not a veteran point on the roster to provide the leadershp and guidance. I believe this roster has the upside to get to the top of the Eastern Conference within a couple of seasons, if one or both of the pgs pan out. More importantly, they're stacked with young talent at every position (save PF), and they have three assets which will become excellent trade bait the following season (Dalembert, Evans, Willie). Would they make the jump next season? It's possible, but doubtful. I think this would put them on the right path with the flexibility to make the necessary moves and that's really all I'm looking for this Summer.
I don't think any move I've suggested here is out of the realm of possibility. Like I said, this is the first of what will probably be many attempts to play GM this Summer, leave your thoughts and your own ideas in the comments.