Teams are preparing and gearing up as the new NBA season quickly approaches. Everybody will have eyes on the prize, the chance to be called NBA champion. Although not all teams are on a path to greatness this season, there will be real contenders and some pretenders.
I’ll be excluding teams who have made their intention to rebuild publicly known. Let’s take a look at teams who should tank this season.
Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are the remaining relics to the Grit and Grind era. We know that Gasol is slowly declining and Conley is a question mark if he will ever get back to his previous form.
It does not help that the franchise is still trying to figure out their identity in the new era of small and fast-paced basketball. The 2019-20 NBA season will be a significant one. Possibly the last year for Conley, a likely opting in for Gasol, and an albatross in Chandler Parsons’ contract, they are in cap space purgatory for the meantime.
They need another talent other than Jaren Jackson to build on. Top prospects with the likes of R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson will headline the 2019 class. Fortunately for them, they put top-8 protection on the pick they gave Boston in acquiring Jeff Green.
The best case scenario is to tank now play later. They are not going anywhere in the west with what they have now.
With a solid roster it would be fine to sign a 28-year-old All-star point guard named Kemba Walker, but if you are paying nearly $26 million a year for an underwhelming Nicolas Batum, a roster reboot would be a good option.
The Hornets have been in roster limbo for a long time, a team good enough to make the playoffs, but not good enough to win anything. You’ll likely be in a position to keep on trying till it works; just like the position they are in.
They own their picks, which is a good sign. Nobody is really willing to take in that absurd Batum contract; even with Walker as sweetener, it would be a hard sell. Their latest roster moves don’t scream Finals appearance after all.
They are bound for mediocrity. Clear the cupboard for assets as soon as possible, let the youngsters play and develop, get a top prospect you can build on the next draft.
I get it, the twin tower combo sort of works in the Motor City. It is even possible to sneak one in the weaker eastern conference. Don’t confuse yourself with a short-term solution to the long-term problem. Aside from Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin, no name resonates with franchise player.
With their combined salary nearly $70 million a year, that is not too assuring for the franchise. They need to be players in the future draft, to iron out the mistakes of this once successful franchise. It would not be easy to move both towers out of the Pistons, but one of the two would be plausible. Reggie Jackson’s stock is depreciating by the minute; he should be the first one to go.
Playoff aspirations should be put on hold if they want to be relevant in the future. Trading their current stars for prospects does not sound like a bad idea either. Beyond Griffin and Drummond, they are lost, that is how screwed this roster is.
They have a pretty good roster of OK players. Not great, but a pool of good players who could do more in a contending team.
Ship the veteran guards to get the young guards some playing time. Tobias Harris’ contract year will be good to boost his stock for some assets.
A player with superstar potential to is a must to build around. So far, nobody fits the bill. It would be a hard sell for Kawhi Leonard to move next season if there is no roster to win. Tanking should be their priority this season or Boston snags another first-rounder if the pick goes 15th beyond. They need to move that Gallinari contract to make them players in the 2019 free agency.
I am on the fence on this one, but they have to blow it up someday. This season might be a good time to do it. A playoff fixture in the west for a good time now, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have been doing the heavy lifting ever since.
The expensive Even Turner acquisition sets them back from retooling their roster to cover weaknesses.
A Lillard or a McCollum trade will be attractive enough to absorb Turner or Meyers Leonard’s bad contract. They need to tank this season, but they can pick up right where they left off in the next.
Cap relief is the name of the game. With enough space, they can pick up a marquee name in the 2019 free agency.