So after reading Dave's Post about our cap situation if we do offer the Max Deal to Hibbert, I began wondering, where does the team go during the 3 days wait, with this $3 Million in cap before we match offer/re-sign Batum. For the sake of this argument, let's say during the three days Pacers explore their options and like saving money and going with Kaman more and don't match our offer to Hibbert. Here is how the team looks with this current make up (2nd Round Picks or Players Overseas):
PG: Damian Lillard, Nolan Smith
SG: Wesley Matthews, Elliott WIlliams, (Will Barton), (Jon Dieber)
C: Roy Hibbert, Meyers Leonard
This leaves us with 11 players currently for sure under contract. Will Barton should make the team, and there is a lot of chatter about Victor Claver and Joel Freeland coming over. That would make us at 14 players (But, 15 if Dieber comes over) leaving one more roster spot. Here is the list of Free Agents from HOOPSWORLD I used for this.
Looking at our team and the moves Oshley has made, I suspect the team is hoping Lillard came become a sort of Westbrook/Rose type of dynamic scoring PG. He can be the slashing/shooting second leading scorer that this team has been missing since Roy's knees took him away from us. This is a bold and risky move to include such hope in a rookie, but that is probably why our team went for Hibbert instead of Gordon or Mayo. If Lillard can develop a solid drive and dish game, along with strong Pick and Roll chemistry with LaMarcus, then Matthews and Batum become all the more important and successful and a player like Gordon, Gay or Mayo would be redundant. It is this reason why I wish Brian Shaw to be our next coach, but that is for another discussion. The position I think we are in serious need of help is starting/back-up PG. Williams has intrigue here, but hasn't shown he's a 1 yet, more looks like a 2 and Smith hasn't shown he's a worthy NBA player yet at all. SO here is the list of Free Agent PG's (Player's I would be interested in):
Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets – $16.4 million – Player Option ($17.8 million)
Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns – $11.7 million – Unrestricted
Aaron Brooks, Phoenix Suns – $2.0 million – Restricted ($3.0 million Qualifying Offer)
Raymond Felton, Portland Trail Blazers – $7.6 million – Unrestricted
Kirk Hinrich, Atlanta Hawks – $8.0 million – Unrestricted
Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks – $8.6 million – Unrestricted
Andre Miller, Denver Nuggets – $7.8 million – Unrestricted
Chauncey Billups, L.A. Clippers – $2.0 million – Unrestricted
Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic – $7.8 million – Player Option ($7.8 million)
D.J. Augustin, Charlotte Bobcats – $3.2 million – Restricted ($4.4 million Qualifying Offer)
Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks – $10.7 million – Unrestricted
George Hill, Indiana Pacers – $2.1 million – Restricted ($3.1 million Qualifying Offer)
Jordan Farmar, Brooklyn Nets – $4.0 million – Player Option ($4.3 million)
Leandro Barbosa, Indiana Pacers – $7.6 million – Unrestricted
Goran Dragic, Houston Rockets – $2.1 million – Unrestricted
Jerryd Bayless, Toronto Raptors – $3.0 million – Restricted ($4.2 million Qualifying Offer)
Derek Fisher, Oklahoma City Thunder – $3.4 million – Unrestricted
Randy Foye, L.A. Clippers – $4.3 million – Unrestricted
Mo Williams, L.A. Clippers – $8.5 million – Player Option ($8.5 million)
Jonny Flynn, Portland Trail Blazers – $3.4 million – Unrestricted
Keyon Dooling, Boston Celtics – $2.2 million – Unrestricted
Ishmael Smith, Orlando Magic – $0.5 million – Unrestricted*
Ramon Sessions, L.A. Lakers – $4.3 million – Player Option ($4.6 million)
Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks – $0.8 million – Unrestricted*
Sundiata Gaines, Brooklyn Nets – $0.9 million – Unrestricted*
A.J. Price, Indiana Pacers – $0.9 million – Unrestricted*
Baron Davis, New York Knicks – $1.3 million – Unrestricted
Royal Ivey, Oklahoma City Thunder – $1.2 million – Unrestricted
John Lucas, Chicago Bulls – $0.9 million – Unrestricted
Gilbert Arenas, Memphis Grizzlies – $0.4 million – Unrestricted
Jannero Pargo, Atlanta Hawks – $1.1 million – Unrestricted
Delonte West, Dallas Mavericks – $1.1 million – Unrestricted
Walker Russell, Jr., Detroit Pistons – $0.4 million – Unrestricted*
Darius Morris, L.A. Lakers – $0.5 million – Unrestricted*
Terrell Harris, Miami HEAT – $0.5 million – Unrestricted*
Carldell Johnson, New Orleans Hornets – $0.5 million – Unrestricted*
DeAndre Liggins, Orlando Magic – $0.5 million – Unrestricted*
Ronnie Price, Phoenix Suns – $1.1 million – Unrestricted
T.J. Ford, Golden State Warriors – $1.1 million – Unrestricted
Anthony Carter, Toronto Raptors – $1.3 million – Unrestricted
Roger Mason, Washington Wizards – $1.1 million – Unrestricted
Jamaal Tinsley, Utah Jazz – $1.2 million – Team Option ($1.3 million)
Donald Sloan, Cleveland Cavaliers – $0.2 million – Unrestricted*
Manny Harris, Cleveland Cavaliers – $0.4 million – Unrestricted*
Patty Mills, San Antonio Spurs – $0.3 million – Unrestricted*
Courtney Fortson, Houston Rockets – $0.2 million – Unrestricted*
Mike James, Chicago Bulls – $0.6 million – Unrestricted
Jerome Dyson, New Orleans Hornets – $0.1 million – Unrestricted*
Ben Uzoh, Toronto Raptors – $0.2 million – Unrestricted*
Armon Johnson, Brooklyn Nets – $0.1 million – Unrestricted*
Earl Boykins, Houston Rockets – $0.2 million – Unrestricted
Blake Ahearn, Utah Jazz – $0.1 million – Unrestricted*
Looking at the players I highlighted I'd say Nash, Dragic, Lin are for sure eliminated as they will be insulted by such an offer. Augustine and Sessions I think are also long shots to accept a $3 Million deal. When looking for the type of player I think will work for this plan best, I think someone reliable, that can step in and be a starting PG, but also step back if Lillard does take off on a R.O.Y. type start to his career. I also want somebody who Lillard can look to and learn something about the league. This leads me to think of an older player, near the tail end of their career.
The players that jump out are:
Jason Kidd, Andre Miller, Derek Fisher, Chauncey Billups, or Kirk Hinrich.
I saw we have reached out to Billups agent which I personally like, although his injury does scare me a bit. But he would be a great asset to the team if he is healthy. Of any of the players, Lillard could learn a lot from. Kidd is obviously one of the most gifted passers in the league. Andre uses his body better then possibly any other PG in the league,and is a pretty accurate passer as well. Fisher doesn't do anything that great (except maybe threes) but he has such heart and fight and always seems to be in the right place. Hinrich is great at making opposing players work for every bucket with his defensive intensity.
Other players I think the Blazers FO will look are Aaron Brooks, Roger Mason and Patty Mills. but I don't really like these three for various reasons. My fellow UO Duck, Aaron Brooks I like, but not for our team as I feel he would want to be the starter over Lillard and might stunt Lillard development a bit if Lillard's play demands for serious minutes and touches. Roger is too "meh" for my taste, he seems like a bit of a space filler in the league, just here and there to be here and there. Patty I am not convinced can step up and be a worthy starter if Lillard needs more time to develop.
An interesting thought would be try and bring back Rudy and have him play some 1. This is a bit radical though, so it's probably best to say "hmmm" and move on.
Now the one thing can make all of this PG talk mute is if we trade for a PG. I do think we will be trading either one or 2 of: Nolan Smith, Luke Babbitt, Shawne Williams, Jon Dieber, Victor Claver or Joel Freeland. I think of this bunch Luke and Shawne are by far the most likely, with Nolan next then the Euros and Dieber pretty low chance. Will that be enough to get a PG? I doubt it. I think in the end we should trade Babbit and Shawne for some other throw away player and a second rounder to consolidate and make room for Freeland, Claver and Barton. If we think Williams will be able to play some 1, look to deal Smith to to make more room for the Euros and Rookies.
There is a lot of "seeing what they got" this season with Lillard, Leonard, Buton, Hopefully a healthy Williams, maybe Claver and maybe Freeland and small maybe Dieber. Let's hope we can see the makings of a conference contender show up a bit this season.
So who would you go for with the $3 Mill in 3 days?!