I take zero credit for this idea, it all goes to the always insightful BFS1970. I just wanted to bring it out into a broader discussion, as I only saw him mention it briefly in a comment thread.
So, here is the plan for this summer. Never renounce our free agents, stay above the cap, and sign FA's using the MLE and BAE. You then use Bird Rights to re-sign both Hickson and Maynor. This, coupled with the lottery pick, would improve our depth immeasurably.
Why would we do this? I don't think there is anyone worth throwing $13 million in cap space at. The two you would conceivably look at, Pekovic and Splitter, are both restricted, meaning we could very well go down the Hibbert train again. Plus, you get to keep Hickson and Maynor, while still adding quality depth around them.
So, you use your MLE on a center, and your BAE and lottery pick to add some depth on the wing.
I know each of you have your favorite targets both in FA and in the draft, and I'm happy to debate those in the comments, but here is a potential opening day depth chart for next season using this plan:
That's a pretty deep team with a good chance to get into the playoffs and make some noise once they did. Plus, you still maintain some cap flexibility moving forward.
Love to hear others thoughts/ideas...