New Look to the NBA Landscape

Picture Courtesy of ranklogos.com

Out with the Old in with the New: It’s hard to believe, but in just two years time the likes of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, and many more long-time NBA veterans, will all be gone from the game. Yes, some of the leagues brightest stars will soon burn out by way of retirement.

This means the NBA’s landscape will look a bit different moving forward, and just as Doc Rivers was the first domino to fall in the C’s rebuilding scheme, so to is Dwight Howard’s decision this Friday for re-shaping the scene of league. For now, it’s still unclear exactly how the league will look moving forward. However, next year’s NBA off-season will provide all the answers to the burning questions from basketball fans everywhere.

It’s July 1st, 2014…and NBA superstars, stars, and role players alike hit up the free agency market harder than little kids do the local ice cream truck in the summer time. General Managers salivate of these sultry stars, the way a wild animal would over a piece of fresh meat. All at once these players leave their teams faster than horses out of the gates at the Kentucky Derby; for bigger endorsement deals, fatter contracts, and the chance to win a championship.

Sounds like an absolute free-for-all brawl between any and every team with a winner takes all result, right? Not exactly.

Yes, the free-agent-frenzy that will be the summer of 2014 will be an exciting one. However, most of those role players will be re-signed before they ever have a chance to change teams, and some of those stars will continue to shine above the skylines of their respective cities. Nevertheless, there will still be more than a few big names that could send shockwaves down the spine of the new look NBA. Here’s a list of some of the free agents who could shake things up during the summer of 2014:

(Note this is NOT a complete list of the 2014 NBA free agents. Also these scenarios are solely based on what if scenarios, NOT actual salary cap or contract numbers. Furthermore, some of the veterans mentioned in the opening of this post are also free agents and will be accounted for in the following fictitious rosters)

LeBron James will head a deep 2014 Free Agency Pool. Picture Courtesy of nb.si.com

Future Free Agents:

Point Guards                                         Shooting Guards 

Kyrie Irving                                                 Dwyane Wade

John Wall                                                 Thabo Sefolosha

Eric Bledsoe                                              Klay Thompson

Damian Lillard                                           Iman Shumpert

Small Forwards                                      Power Forwards

LeBron James                                         Amar’e Stoudemire

Carmelo Anthony                                        Zach Randolph

Danny Granger                                             Dirk Nowitzki

Kawhi Leonard                                               Pau Gasol

                                     Centers      

Chris Bosh

DeMarcus Cousins

Anderson Varejao

It was hard to determine an appropriate amount of team rosters to re-arrange for this post, but I settled on six. The Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Lakers will all likely have both the cap space and room on their rosters to make major moves. Let’s take a look at what some of their lineups could look like starting with the Heat:

The Heat Re-Sign Everyone                         Heat Re-Sign Big 3 + Kyrie Irving

PG Mario Chalmers                                          PG Kyrie Irving

SG Dwyane Wade                                            SG Dwyane Wade

SF LeBron James                                             SF LeBron James

PF Udonis Haslem                                            PF Udonis Haslem

C Chris Bosh                                                      C Chris Bosh

As you can see there isn’t really much that the Heat absolutely needs. However, if they could steal Irving away from Cleveland (oh how Dan Gilberts blood would boil) that’s about as good as it gets in South Beach.

For Tony Parker and Co. time is ticking. Picture Courtesy of nj.com

San Antonio Spurs

 Big 3 Stay On + Leonard                      Big 3 Retire, Sign Z-Bo, Leonard, Lillard

 

SG Danny Green/ Manu Ginobli                     SG Danny Green

SF Kawhi Leonard                                          SF Kawhi Leonard

PF Tim Duncan                                               PF Zach Randolph

C Tiago Splitter                                                C Tiago Splitter

While it will be sad to see the trio of Parker, Duncan, and Ginobli go, the Spurs will have to invest during the summer of 2014 if they wish to stay competitive in the west. Landing the likes of Z-Bo and Lillard, plus resigning Leonard would be a great start.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Re-Sign Sefolosha Stay Put                              Sign Thompson to Switch it Up

PG Russell Westbrook                                               PG Russell Westbrook

SG Thabo Sefolosha                                                 SG Klay Thompson

SF Kevin Durant                                                         SF Kevin Durant

PF Serge Ilbaka                                                           PF Serge Ilbaka

C Kendric Perkins                                                        C Kendrick Perkins

Like the Heat, the Thunder don’t need to tinker too much with their roster. However, OKC may choose to move Perkins and opt for other players or draft picks to help sure up what should be a very bright future. A Perkins trade could lead to the Thunder being bold and shifting Ilbaka to center and signing Dirk Nowitzki to give them a seasoned vet to go along with great young talent. However, I foresee Dirk retiring in Dallas at the end of the day.

Los Angeles Clippers

Stay Put, Add Role Players                                 Go Crazy Add Anthony, Bledsoe

PG Chris Paul                                                         PG Chris Paul

SG J.J. Redick                                                        SG Eric Bledsoe

SF Matt Barnes                                                       SF Carmelo Anthony

PF Blake Griffin                                                       PF Blake Griffin

C DeAndre Jordan                                                   C DeAndre Jordan

The Los Angeles Clippers are a few pieces away from having a title team on their hands. Maybe they add the likes of Anderson Varejao or a Danny Granger as I doubt Anthony will be willing to pack up and head west. It may, however, not be a bad idea to bring back Bledsoe if they can.

New York Knicks

Keep Melo/Amar’e, Add Irving                        Keep Melo/Amar’e/Shumpert Add Wall

PG Kyrie Irving                                                          PG John Wall

SG Pablo Prigioni                                                     SG Iman Shumpert

SF Carmelo Anthony                                                SF Carmelo Anthony

PF Amar’e Stoudemire                                             PF Amar’e Stoudemire

C Tyson Chandler                                                    C Tyson Chandler

For the New York Knicks, keeping Melo and Amar’e while adding either Irving or Wall would give them something they haven’t had in quite some time, a “true” point guard. Of course whether or not they would have the cap space to land all of the above.

The Bad news for Kobe, he only has a one or two good seasons left. The Good news is that he probably won’t have to put up with Howard any longer. Picture Courtesy of nydailynews.com

Los Angeles Lakers

Keep Kobe, Pau, Howard Add Bledsoe      Keep Kobe, Pau, Add Bledsoe, Cousins

PG Eric Bledsoe                                               PG Eric Bledsoe

SG Kobe Bryant                                               SG Kobe Bryant

SF Metta World Peace                                    SF Metta World Peace

PF Pau Gasol                                                  PF Pau Gasol

C Dwight Howard                                             C DeMarcus Cousins

The Los Angeles Lakers are likely to lose D12 by this Friday, and will be lucky to squeeze another season out of Bryant after next year is through. However, LA may be able to add a few key players next off-season in the form of Bledsoe and Cousins if they are available. If nothing else the Lakers could rebuild around those two and role players.

Final Thoughts: Of course all of this is just a rough idea of the change to come in the NBA. Nevertheless, a new era of basketball is upon us, and whatever happens, it’s going to be big.

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One thought on “New Look to the NBA Landscape

  1. My guess is different. I think that James will go play alongside Irving in Cleveland and try to right his wrongs. However, that is not the biggest reason why. I know you wrote about scenarios and not money but the money will be the biggest part. The big 3 of the Heat will all receive more money in the tail end of their contracts, and the heat are already strapped. With a stricter luxury tax threshold, the Heat will lose out on their ability to use mid-level and veteran exceptions. Therefore, they will lose some players to other teams that can offer more money, and they will not be able to sign any big free agents to play alongside their aging superstars. Wade has depreciating value and Bosh is a waste of space. I see LBJ heading back home to Akron. Cleveland already said that they are not making any big signings because they want a lot of Cap space to sign big names (i.e. Lebron) and maybe another star. They also have Verajao and #1 draft pick Anthony Bennett.

    Those are more solid role players than he would get in South Beach

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