For the last installment of our self assesment, I'm looking to the vets. Guys that can be had who are locked up to long term deals and could help a team right away.
Raef LaFrentz - He's got a ginormous contract with shakey knees to boot. However, he's also currently healthy and contributing in a big way to this team. The immediate effects of losing him would be easy to see. If anything, he's been one of our steadiest players all year. I think we've seen it proven that there is no such thing as an "untradable" player. His name has been brought up in reference to the T-Wolves a few times, and that doesn't surprise me. With KG's contract, that team won't sniff cap space for years. That doesn't rule out other destinations. On the other hand, if you want to grease the wheels on his departure, you'd likley have to package him with players or picks. Given the size of his deal, you'd also likely have to take back another contract (which might be worth it if it is for fewer years).
Ricky Davis - Speaking of package deals, here is one guy that would sweeten any package. Questions about his attitude and commitment have largely been put in the archives. His game has thrived as he has accepted a 6th man role. Unlike Raef, Davis actually has a very reasonable deal and might even be underpaid (a rare, rare commodity in the NBA). As a result of all of this, he would be one guy that would likely be missed. He certainly takes the scoring load off of Paul on many nights, and when he's feeling it, there are few that light up the scoreboard faster. That said, the C's have 2 other talented 3's that could pick up the slack if he moved on. However, one would hope that any deal involving Davis would bring back a real scoring threat, so we don't go back to seeing Paul shoulder the whole load again.
Mark Blount - I could almost devote a whole post to Mark, but I'm not going to just yet because I'm not in the mood to be depressed. First, I'll say that we do need to give Mark some credit. He does hit that 15 ft. jumper with a great deal of regularity. There are moments when he looks good out there. I've seen him make great passes, tough defensive stops, hustle plays, the whole nine yards. However, I don't think any of us would be able to say that we've seen these things nearly enough. Early in the year I defended Mark saying that he was a top 5 center in the East. He's slowly, methodically, and deliberatly proven me wrong, night after night. Now I can think of 8 or 9 centers I'd take over him, and that doesn't even count the option of going small with 2 PFs. At the end of last year, he was posting double figures in points and rebounds with regularity. I would take the rebounds without the points every day of the week. We got the opposite and that's just not good enough. I'm not even talking about the money he makes. Seven footers are like southpaws in baseball. You kind of expect them to be overpaid. Still, he's our starting center (for now) and he typically gets the most minutes on the floor. He should have the most rebounds, or at least be in the top 2. But all of this you know, and you are wondering why I am rambling on when you've read this same thing 100 times. Here's my point. Someone will want this guy regardless. Be it O'Brien or some team desperate for a tall guy that once showed signs of life, someone will want him for a price. The trade kicker and BYC status make it hard, but not impossible to make something work. You have to believe that Danny is working on it the best he can. If he's not gone by the deadline, I would tend to think he'd be on the market all offseason, when the BYC restrictions are lifted. In addition teams would have more idle time to talk themselves into thinking that he can regain the form of a year ago. Speaking of which, if he just would regain some of that form, none of this would be an issue, but oh well.
So this concludes my For Sale series. Hope you enjoyed it. As promised I didn't talk about Paul Pierce because I don't think he's really for sale. I wouldn't say he's untouchable either, but we've already been over all of that. So what do we do now? I'm sure I'll think of something.