So there are a multitude of fantasy scenarios that land us All Stars and pave the golden road to Championships... but that thread isn't this thread...
I have a few thoughts on some moves that make sense for us and the other parties, and an overview of my vision moving forward...
Disclaimer: Some key player development will be assumed in my vision, in the event that this progression fails to manifest itself my world collapses and this vision needs a large overhaul...
Key players / pieces for the future, already on board :
1. Dwayne Casey - Love his approach and his product has already show fundamental changes.
2. Jose Calderon - One more expensive year and then retained as a very good backup / mentor for a fair price.
3. Andrea Bargnani - Andrea 2.0 is actually looking like a (gulp) solid second option on our future roster.
4. DeMar DeRozan - (+) He works hard... (-) He's got LOTS of work to do... (+) He's only 21... (-) He's got LOTS of work to do...
5. Amir Johnson - He's my bench energy guy, and a continued pairing with Calderon suits me just fine.
6. James Johnson - Bench spark # 2, great defence and improving control and offence make him a nice role player.
7. Gary Forbes - Like what I see so far, versatile player who can relieve multiple positions, and on the cheap.
Auditioning for Roles
1. Jerryd Bayless - Cue music... "Show me whatchu got pretty mama...", "Are you gonna be my girl?" Or is he "Never gonna get it, never gonna get it..."
2. Ed Davis - Entitlement is an attitude that can not be tolerated. Can he man up and do the hard work, reliably?
3. Aaron Gray - By all early accounts looks like a solid backup big, who is cost effective and may be a pleasant surprise.
Trade Assets (see scenarios below...)
1. Leandro Barbosa - "Contenders needing hustle players and scorers, my hand is raised...pick me! Pick me!"
2. Linas Kleiza - Can he recover to be a productive player in this league? If yes, trade him, if no, amnesty.
3. Jerryd Bayless - If he doesn't win the starting PG spot does he have a home here? I would say no. Likely play out his contract as emergency backup and part ways.
4. Ed Davis - Unfortunately, if he gets himself on this list he's probably shown himself to not be worth high returns, but we can't employ more benchwarmers.
1. Anthony Carter - Not even a discussion.
2. Rasual Butler - Unless lightning strikes.
3. Jamaal Magloire - Enjoy retirement sir.
1. Jonas Valanciunas - There's a starter spot reserved with your name on it. I see a bright future for you here.
2. Draft Pick # 1 - Maybe not the overall #1, but OUR number one. I foresee Harrison Barnes or Michael Kidd Gilchrest.
3. Draft pick # 2 - Absolutely turn one or two of our existing players into another first round pick, no question. A PG for the future? Kabongo? Teague? Strickland? A hot SG? Lamb?
4. Free Agency - Slightly murky waters at this point but I have a tentative idea or two. Or just one.
5. Sonny Weems - Seasoned, smarter, cheap, depth at SF
Option 1 - Barbosa and Ed Davis to Orlando for J.J. Redick, Quinton Richardson and 1st Rounder
Rationale : We get a shooter at SG and emergency depth at SF and a pick (Kabongo); they get playoff scoring, young talent and cap space to woo Howard with a star F.A. next year (Derek Williams)
Option 2 - Barbosa to Lakers for TPE and 1st Rounder (Lakers)
Rationale : We get a shot at Kabongo, Lakers need bench scoring and Kobe relief for the playoffs.
Free Agent Wishlist
Eric Gordon, throw dollars at him until he can't say no...
Kleiza doesn't put it together / physically can't compete, sad story, there's the door...
So with the above intentions accounted for here is my roster for 2012-2013.
(Trade Scenario #2 most realistic)
PG - Myck Kabongo / Jose Calderon / Jerryd Bayless
SG - Eric Gordon / DeMar DeRozan / Gary Forbes
SF - Harrison Barnes / James Johnson / Sonny Weems
PF - Andrea Bargnani / Amir Johnson / Ed Davis
C - Jonas Valanciunas / Aaron Gray
That's after only one season, the sky is the limit my friends...