Team Needs: Southwest Division
Team Needs: C, SG
Draft Picks: 50th
The big question in Dallas is whether their aging franchise player Dirk Nowitzki will resign with the team. Many insiders feel that it is a foregone conclusion that Dirk will be back in Big D. If they do lock him up long term, Mavericks fans can expect to go to training camp with a very similar roster as they had this year. With 10 of their players under contract for next season (assuming they pick up the team option on J.J Barea) and only 1 pick late in the round (#57 was shipped to Indiana to complete a prior deal), a trade would be the only way for Marc Cuban’s bunch to make some noise. While there have been minor rumblings they would be in the market for a big name free agent via sign and trade, a combination of their aging veterans would unlikely be enough to convince a Toronto, Miami, or Cleveland to deal with them.
Like their counterparts in San Antonio, this team has hit its ceiling. They need an injection of youth in the frontcourt as Dampier, Najera, and Marion are all on the downside of their careers. If Nowitzki leaves, they will be big time players in the free agent market, possible in the mix for one of the big names. Their point guard position is solid, with Rodrique Beaubois showing flashes of brilliance in the playoffs. Realistically, neither player drafted this year will be of major impact as Marc Cuban is not in the business of rebuilding. This team is built to win now and their window of opportunity is closing.
Team Needs: C, SG
Draft Pick: 14th
So much of what Houston is as a franchise centers around Yao Ming’s health. When he is healthy, he is arguably the second best center in the league. When he isn’t (which is too often) they are a smallish team that is hoping to crack the playoff bubble. With this being the last year of Yao’s deal, it really is a make or break year for the Rockets. Outside of Ming, they have a nice core of young players developing, led by Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin, and Trevor Ariza. Throw in the potential of Arizona tandem Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger and you have a solid core to build around.
They have to answer the question at center. Even if Yao Ming is healthy this year, his track record is not strong enough to count on. You are not winning against teams like the Lakers, Celtics, or Magic with Chuck Hayes starting at center. They would like to be players in the Chris Bosh market, but apparently he has little desire to return to Texas. This leaves the 14th pick in the draft to address their needs at center. They could take a flyer on Hassan Whiteside if available or go to the Big 12 with Cole Aldrich or Ekpe Udoh. Either way, adding young depth at the center position should be high on the Rockets priority list.
Team Needs: PG, PF, SF?
Draft Picks: 12th, 25th, 28th
Just when Memphis appears to be headed in the right direction, news comes out that Zach Randolph is operating a drug ring in Indianapolis in his down time. You just knew it had to be too good to be true for this tortured franchise. With Randolph’s situation unclear and Rudy Gay’s impending RFA situation, the scenery could be changing dramatically this next year. The Grizzlies have a solid core of Mayo, Gasol, and Gay to build around. They are nowhere near being a major player in the free agent market so they have to build through the draft. If they lose Gay and Randolph they will surely head back into rebuilding mode with a young team next season.
They have to decide whether Mike Conley is their man at the point. He came on this past year but has never lived up to the billing accompanied by his high draft status. Obviously if they think they are going to be without Gay and potentially Randolph next season they need to address the forward position as those two combined for 40 ppg. With Gasol and hopefully Thabeet up front this season, an athletic swingman could be what this team needs. With three picks in the first round there should be a chance to snag a scoring wing at the 12 spot (Hayward, Babbitt, Henry, George) and they can either draft for depth at the other two spots or package those picks for rotation player. This team is young and if they are to have any success this next season they may need to add some veteran help to guide the ship. The team had too many young players taking roster spots a year ago, and could try to alleviate that problem by trading one of their picks or grabbing a second rounder (Seraphin or bjelica) to leave in Europe (and off the books) for a while.
New Orleans Hornets
Draft Picks: 11
Overview: PF, SF
People in New Orleans cannot be comfortable with their team right now. They have 73 million dollars invested in a core that has trouble staying healthy and winning basketball games. Watching Danny Ferry attempt to build a unit around Lebron James these past two years should serve as a warning to the Hornets as they handle Chris Paul in the next two years. If New Orleans cannot take strides towards competitiveness this next season, Paul’s 2011/12 campaign could be one giant audition for the rest of the league.
Their perimeter is outstanding….if it was 2005. The combination of Stojakovic, Peterson, and Posey (combined salaries of about 28 million next season) makes the 2/3 spots very un-athletic and old. Having one of those players come off the bench for you is acceptable. Having all three is terrifying. Getting younger/more athletic at the 2/3 spot is a priority. With the promise shown by Collison and Thornton, there is hope in the backcourt if Paul were to take his act elsewhere. Getting insurance inside is critical as well, as Emeka Okafor has never been an ironman. With the 11th pick in the draft there should be some quality wing players available (Xavier Henry, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Luke Babbitt). If they can get value with the 11th pick it may be enough to convince Paul the franchise is headed in the right direction.
San Antonio Spurs
Draft Picks: 20th, 49th
Overview: C, SF
The Spurs seemingly have hit their ceiling with this group of players. San Antonio’s salary situation is tricky, with so much of their cap used up on their core of players who couldn’t get out of the second round. The one intriguing player in the mix is Tony Parker. He still has solid value around the league and with the emergence of George Hill, he might be expendable. Also, another team can take him for a test drive for a year with his contract expiring after the season. The team landed a steal in the second round last year with Dejuan Blair. Many of San Antonio’s role players are no longer under contract so a subtle changing of the guard could occur in San Antonio this offseason.
Their core of players under contract includes two young players (Hill and Blair). They need to get younger and more athletic in the frontcourt and find depth for their 2/3 positions. With Roger Mason, Matt Bonner, and Keith Bogans all UFA’s, they are in the perfect position to add youth to replace those key reserve positions. The Spurs always find value late in the draft and this year should be no different. If Parker is going to be moved, finding a veteran backup to spell Hill at the PG spot becomes a necessity. This would allow them to draft an active big or wing player at the 20 spot (see Larry Sanders, Daniel Orton, Devin Ebanks, or James Anderson). They are rumored to have a promise with Elliot Williams, although there are also rumors that he has some knee concerns. With their second round pick they could go international and keep that player in Europe for a year or two to save money on the cap. With 65 million tied up with 7 players, there will be no room for a second rounder on San Antonio’s roster.
i think Rockets don't need SG...they have Martin, Jermaine Taylor and Budinger can play at 2.
I think the Rockets need to either take Whiteside or Aldrich for Yao insurance, or Avery Bradley. He can make up for Martin's and Budinger's extreme lack of defense
He can play PF this year next to Yao and play C next to Hill. Larry Sanders would be decent if
whiteside is gone, also consider Jordan from tulsa in the 2nd.
Houston: How can they say that they need to a SG and C and then talk about how great Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill looked? There is no need to get to young talented players that play the same position and both need playing time, that will be scarcely available as it is, to develop. Udoh, Sanders, Whiteside all have similar games to Hill as it is. Avery Bradley is probably their best option to fill a need if they can't resign Kyle Lowry. Otherwise they could look to sell this pick for cash that they'll need to resign Louis Scola with.
Memphis: You're spot on, except Zach Randolph situation is completely being overblown.
New Orleans: Right about Chris Paul, completely wrong about the Need. They need an athletic 5/4 big who can give CP3 a lob target again and play above the rim as Chandler used to. Whiteside/ Sanders/ Udoh whould all be great options here though trading down might be a better option as 11 is too high for any of them.
San Antonio: Parker isn't going anywhere. They are a very loyal franchise and don't think for a moment that Hill isn't anywhere near the player Parker is at this point in his career. If the Spurs don't think their developmental athletic big Ian Mahinmi can play for them after holding a roster spot the last few years then they should look toward a Ekpe Udoh or Larry Sanders.
You're overlooking the Mavericks' best trade chip: Dampier's 13-million-dollar, expiring, non-guaranteed contract. They can ship it out to a team wanting to dump salary for a top-tier player making up to $16.4 million, and the other team can then cut Dampier.
And what Dallas really needs is a shooting guard -- Joe Johnson would be perfect, or D-Wade (if you believe in miracles.) Haywood is good enough at center, with the other players they have.
Is this a joke? How can you write a piece about San Antonio's offseason and not mention the possibility of bring Tiago Splitter over from Europe?
And this quote: "With 65 million tied up with 7 players, there will be no room for a second rounder on San Antonio’s roster." Are you kidding? Using that money on a second round player (if that player is good enough to make the roster) would be great! Because of their cap situation, they're going to have a hard time adding decent players via free agency (I'm assuming they'll use the MLE on Splitter). That leaves only the BAE and veteran minimum contracts as avenues to add players. If they can get a decent player in the second round and he's good enough to make the team, then they can add a player without having to spend money in free agency.
Yea, I definitely agree with you tttmikeb. I was going to bring up Splitter. He has developed really well overseas and would be a great option to address the center position. With the second round pick the Spurs are among the best at either finding value with players that aren't hyped up but can contribute immediately, or finding talent to store in Europe. If they find a draft sleeper (like they did with Blair) they would take him as a role player without hesitation.
I don't think the Spurs will trade Tony Parker for a few different reasons. Yes, the Spurs are a loyal organization, but even more than that they have no reason to trade Parker. Hill and Parker played well together because Hill's wingspan and athleticism allow him to guard SGs. Hill isn't a pure point guard and still hasn't been consistent enough to warrant the organization taking a risk like trading away Parker.
I don't expect the Spurs' core to change much between now and next season. They weren't completely healthy going into the playoffs and they still upset the Mavericks. I don't think the management will overreact and try to "shake things up" (last year their big move to acquire Jefferson didn't play out too well).
Yeah, the Spurs offseason will be very interesting to watch. I'm not rooting for them to trade Tony Parker (although I'm a big David Lee fan), it wouldn't shock me. If they did trade TP, it wouldn't be out of lack of loyalty or that they didn't like him anymore. I think it's just a simple thing of looking at the overall depth of the team. They like Hill a lot, and they seemed to like Garrett Temple last year. Does that mean they don't like Parker? No. But they could trade from a position of relative strength (PG) to add to a position of relative weakness (PF/C).
It'll also be interesting to see what happens with Jefferson. That experiment did NOT work out well last year. They could keep him and hope he improves. Many players play better in their second year in San Antonio, although Roger Mason is an obvious exception to that rule. They could trade him and his expiring contract. I wouldn't mind seeing a deal of Jefferson to the Clips for Kaman. Or, there's even rumors that Jefferson could opt out of his contract. I'd be shocked if he did since he's guaranteed $15.2 Million next year. But, if he did, they would have a little more money (probably an additional $4-$6 Million) to spend in free agency.