My blueprints to getting this team to championship level in one off season. Nothing crazy, but it's a possibility and it could definitely work.
First try to get Dwight Howard, but that likely won’t work, and the Magic will get to keep him for a few more years because when the next CBA comes around, there will likely be a franchise tag, thus giving the Magic a chance to continue to build around him, and allow Dwight to maintain his squeaky clean image.
After that, I would call up the Lakers. The team needs an infusion of younger players, but also an infusion of veteran leadership, so we package up Okafor and Jack for Bynum and Blake, and maybe a couple of picks. This trade actually makes a lot of sense for both sides. The Lakers FINALLY get a starting caliber point guard, one who still has his best games ahead of him as well as a solid player in Okafor who can get you about 10 and 10 with a few blocks every night. Okafor would work well with Pau who is normally a 20 and 10 player, providing a faster defensive presence . Okafor also is a pretty good model of health, even though he missed a chunk of time this year, he hadn’t missed a game in about 3 and a half seasons. Bynum makes tons of sense for us, rebounding, scoring, LENGTH. He’s exactly the kind of guy we need in the middle and maybe he can get past his knee issues because he’s still a very young player. Blake fills the backup role well for us, a facilitator who can shoot a bit, he’s a savvy vet that will know his role and spell Chris Paul, however, with a different style of game that will throw the defense off.
Next move would be to re-sign my two power forwards. Having West and Landry to fill out the rest of that front court with Bynum would arguably give us one of the best front courts in the NBA. Sign West to a 4 year deal worth around $40 million, and Landry to 5 years and $30-35 million. This is some pretty big spending, but it’s completely necessary in order to win a title, and maybe we’ll have a big money owner by then like Gary Chouest (crosses fingers).
After that, it’s time for the second tier of free agents beginning with James Jones from the heat. Sign him to a 3 year deal for around $10-15 million. Jones could be a swing player on the bench or even be a starter at the two or three, but I think he would fit better as a sharpshooter from the bench, a huge upgrade over Belinelli. Then I would make a couple of interesting moves. Sign Anthony Parker to fight for the starting two spot. He can bring solid numbers and good defense to the starting lineup as well as act as a reliable #3 scorer. He’s not going to wow you with his game, but he gets the job done.
Then I would go back to the trade channels and snag Dahntay Jones from the Pacers. We can get him with a trade exception or throw in Andersen and some cash. Jones is one of the league’s best defenders and has a knack for pissing people off. He’s one of those players you hate when he’s on the other team, yet love when he’s on yours. He has a very manageable contract, and will be a vital player off of the bench for us with his defense and athleticism.
Next, I would find a backup center. As great as Aaron Gray was for us, I think he’s gone. Some other team is going to offer him more money than we can afford, he may get a chance to start, so I hope to see him improve wherever he goes. We should keep our options simple, a big man that can rebound and play defense. Offense will likely cost more money. Some options off the top of my head include Chris Wilcox, Dan Gadzuric, Theo Ratliff, Nenad Krstic, and Jeff Foster. The list is pretty long, so I think we can find a quality guy that will work hard for Monty.
So that leaves us with this lineup:
PG- CP3, Blake
SG- Parker, D. Jones
SF- Ariza, J. Jones, Pondexter
PF- West, Landry
C- Bynum, (one of the guys mentioned above)
That leaves us with 11 players. 3 VERY legitimate scoring options in Paul, West, and Bynum, and 2 decent scoring options in Parker and Ariza. And, those are just our starters. Landry is a proven scorer and hustle player, James Jones is a marksman from 3 with an evolving set of scoring moves, Blake can make the three and the occasional dribble drive, Dahntay can dunk, and the backup center can pass out of the post to James Jones for 3. The starting 5 has all the necessary components. Two All-Star players in CP3 and West that can score, rebound, get steals, and carry the team in though games. Bynum can do the dirty work and continue to rebound and block shots while improving on his quickly developing offensive game. Ariza can continue to be the jack-of-all-trades with rebounding, 3 point shooting, driving to the hoop, and assists, as well as locking down with his stellar defense. Parker gives us more 3 point shooting with solid defense and other stats. The most complete lineup we’ve had in who knows how long.
The last moves to be made would be to fill out the final spots on the roster. Bring back Green or Belinelli on very cheap deals. Also bring back Ewing Jr. to develop. Then bring back MAYBE Mbenga, or another player, or perhaps save that spot for a rookie. The 15th spot can be left open for emergency purposes.
It seems like a pipe dream, but it’s all plausible. It’s actually more likely than a lot of other ideas. It allows us to keep the three vital players in Paul, West, and Ariza while letting us get better at other spots of need. We essentially would have no holes on paper.Numbers aspect
D. Jones- $2.7M
Rest of guys veteran minimum.
Grand total of: $70.2M, if vets still don’t count against cap.
We stay under the projected luxury tax of $70.5 million, and win a championship. Must be black magic.