Let me preface this. When Carmelo went to NY, I gleefully told every Knicks fan I could find that they would never win anything with Carmelo and Amare as their two best players. And time has proven me right. Amare fell off a cliff as I predicted and Carmelo never was able to elevate his team enough to get to the Finals. That being said, the past year Melo has done everything he could to carry a team with a group of over the hill or injured players. His much maligned defense has never been at an elite level, but is largely due to his younger years when he would mimic Kobe and just completely ignore his man on defense. That is no longer the case. He fights for rebounds and is able to keep his man in front of him.
We all know the well known story - you need three stars to be a contender in the NBA. I think this is a bit overblown, but it certainly does not hurt. Even if it takes up your cap space, there are always a steady supply of vets who want a shot at a ring and are willing to take a discount which is how the Heat have filled out their roster. Ray, Norris Cole, Battier, Anderson, Haslem, Miller. These are all high end role players who took discounts to play for the Heat.
Neither Carmelo nor Love are going to be all NBA defenders, but put them on a team where they don't feel compelled to score 30 points a game to keep it competitive, perhaps they have enough energy to go hard on the defensive end.
Getting those two big reasons I'm sure will come up out of the way, both Love and Carmelo have made it clear they want to win and are willing to move to go to a place that does that. Both franchises are on the cusp of a rebuild and neither franchise have many long term assets. The Celtics, thankfully, are overflowing with assets.
Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass, Joel Anthony's Expiring, Keith Bogans' unguaranteed contract, Celtics 2014 (#6) first, better of Clippers/Celtics 2015 firsts, Celtics/Brooklyn 2017 first
Boston agrees to take on Kevin Martin's contract via the Pierce Exemption in a separate deal.
Minnesota does it because they get a blue chip player, financial flexibility, and two lotto picks along with another first next year.
Why New York does it:
They get a massive rebuild package with a good young player in AB, a top 10 center, a solid PG and fan favorite in Lin, and three picks. Two of which (Brooklyn) could easily be in the lottery.
Why Houston does it:
They get rid of the Asik headache, and Lin doesn't fit next to Harden. They get back three quality bench players. Olynyk and Faverani are both on great contracts. The Rockets desperately need a backup four with range and and a backup three and Green/Olynyk would both be massive upgrades there. While a downgrade from Asik, Faverani is still a passable big who can spread the floor.
Why Boston does it:
Gets the best player in the trade.
PG: Rondo / Pressey
SG: Kevin Martin
So pretty bare right? But we still have our #17 first round pick along with a first every year in the near and distant future. About 5 million in the Pierce TE, 2 million in the Lee TE, the MLE and the pick of a ton of free agents. Furthermore, if we wait on the Kevin Martin trade, we will have 4 more million in cap space.
Here's an idea of what we could do with those remaining resources.
-Use remaining cap space to sign Thabo Sefolosha, 3 years, 12 million.
-Sign and trade for Paul Pierce using his own (remaining) TE. Giving Brooklyn a second round pick.
-Sign and trade for Ed Davis from Grizzlies for the Courtney Lee TE
-Draft Clint Capela at #17
-Sign Okafor for the MLE
PG: Rondo / Pressey / Bayless
SG: Sefolosha / Kevin Martin / Bayless / Chris Johnson
SF: Carmelo / Pierce / Kevin Martin / Chris Johnson
PF: Love / Humprhies / Clint Capela / Ed Davis
C: Emeka Okafor / Clint Capela / Ed Davis
I filled out the roster mostly thinking defense. Sefolosha is a great defensive SG. Not quite Bradley, but very stout who can take on the opposing players 1-2-3 and hold on. He also lets Martin come off the bench to score with the second unit.
Pierce is Pierce. He's on his last legs, but he's still a good passer and can shoot and create shots and play defense.
Davis is an upside signing. He is a guy with great athleticism and size. Could be a DeAndre Jordan light.
Clint Capela is similarly an upside defensive big. Has much of the same trademarks of DeAndre Jordan. Crazy athleticism and length, but marginal basketball IQ. I trust Stevens to get the most out of him. He just needs to add some weight.
Okafor is a defensive minded big who was never particularly athletic nor offensively gifted but he has a passable short/midrange shot. He has always been smart, good on rotations, and an above average post defender. Coming back from injury, his stock is going to be low enough where we can get him for cheap.
Resigning Humphries and Bayless will fill out the roster with quality backups.
This roster has star power, 7 guys who could realistically go off for 20 points on any given night and two guys you would expect to score 25 every night. It's a bit underwhelming at the center spot, but there aren't many teams in the league left that truly have high end big bodied centers. Furthermore, Pierce and Carmelo are both well suited to play at the 4 spot so you could slide Love to the five. If you wanted to go all - in, I'm sure you could figure out some scenario to get either Asik or Sanders to make a pretty awesome and young starting five.
WIth the Pacers imploding, you're left with the Heat and a bunch of up and coming, but not spectacular teams. The East will be better next year, but we would have 3 of the top 10 players in the conference. We could get to the Conference Finals, and Love/Carmelo/Rondo have the firepower to go ballistic and win a game by themselves. However the real goal is to get a good enough team where those three can't walk away from. Get a core of those three and supplement through the draft and free agency. With Wade declining the East is quickly going to become who can beat Lebron giving us a great window.
I took way longer on this than anticipated, and I'm sure there are a hundred things wrong or could be done better. Feel free to tell me what I did wrong.