For all of the talk about how royally screwed the New Orleans Pelicans were after Anthony Davis asked for a trade midseason, they ended up winning the NBA Draft lottery and will surely get a nice collection of assets in return for Davis this summer.
So, basically, the Pelicans will end up with Zion Williamson and then a bunch of talented young players and picks moving forward.
Suddenly, they don’t look so bad.
But here are three teams that aren’t exactly as lucky as New Orleans right now:
Yes, the Pistons did make the playoffs this year, and yes, Blake Griffin did have arguably the best season of his career (he really flew under the radar this year), but that does not change the fact that Detroit is in a whole lot of trouble moving forward.
With no cap space this summer, very limited young talent on their roster and no lottery pick, it’s hard to imagine the Pistons improving any time soon.
You can make the argument that they have their franchise player in Griffin, but he really only plays one end of the floor, and the thing with Detroit is that it is not exactly a prime-time landing spot for free agents.
So, even if and when the Pistons do carve out some cap space in another year or two, guys actually have to be willing to go and play there, and it’s difficult to see that happening.
Also, keep this in mind: Detroit is still paying Josh Smith, and is due to give him $5.3 million next season.
Wow. That’s bad.
The Wizards were already in bad shape going into this season. Then, John Wall tore his Achilles before even beginning the first year of his massive four-year, $170 million contract extension that will take him through 2023, and things got a lot worse.
Never mind the fact that Wall may never be the same again; the Wizards literally have nothing to get excited about heading into next season, and the fact that they were actually able to unload Otto Porter’s salary on the Chicago Bulls earlier this year was a miracle in and of itself.
If the Wizards really want to dig themselves out of this hole, they have to seriously entertain the idea of trading Bradley Beal this summer. Beal is under contract through 2021 and is set to make $27 million next season and almost $29 million in the final year of his deal. Coupled with Wall’s monstrous salary, all of that money is preventing Washington from making any real improvements.
Beal might not have top-tier value, but the Wizards would be smart to get out now while they still can.
If Kemba Walker walks, the Hornets are screwed. If Kemba Walker re-signs…the Hornets are still screwed.
Bad drafting and bad contracts have absolutely destroyed this once-promising team over the past couple of years, as Charlotte will be paying Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo and Cody Zeller a combined $57 million next season.
It also doesn’t help that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist became a bust, Malik Monk didn’t progress at all in his second season and that Frank Kaminsky was never the right pick for this team back in 2015.
No matter what Walker decides to do, Charlotte is in deep trouble for the foreseeable future, as it has no cap space, no really intriguing pieces and plays in an incredibly small market that top free agents don’t even pay attention to.
In all honesty, the Hornets should have traded Walker at the deadline or last summer. At least they could have recouped some of his value.