Deron is smart enough to know that building a championship team cannot happen overnight. But as long as we are heading in the right direction, he will be content and sign the extension. Based on my brief review, there are no FA/RFA Superstar available this summer that would substantially improve our chances for a championship. Additionally, we cannot trade for one at this point because we have depleted much of our assets to obtain Deron Williams.
Therefore, we need to improve gradually and simultaneously maintain, as much as possible, cap flexibility. In doing so, there is no need to shoot all our load all at once on a ZBO or David West type of splash. We realistically cannot trade for a D Howard or even a D Granger type of player at this point because it would leave us with an imbalance top-heavy team a la Knicks with Carmela and Amare. As the recent games have proven, we do in fact have a young and decent core to compete right now (with key position Center and PG already covered). The team simply needs to address some weakness to at least put us on the next Playoff level to compete on a consistent basis with elite teams.
Therefore, the Seven Steps to Gr8ness:
1. Resign Humphries to modest contract 5 per year for 5 years and chunk of a signing bonus a la OKC and Nick Collison if new CBA allows it. I think by now we can all agree this is not just an anomaly, but in fact, the performance we can expect from him for the next few years unless Kim zaps all his energies. All those Nene fans need to understand that although he is a better player, he does not bring much more per dollar than Humphries. Nuggets top priority will be to re-sign him and I think Humphries' athleticism, rebounding skills and defense far better compliments our team now and for the long run.
2. Wilson Chandler or AK47 for a cheap or discounted 2 or 3 year deal, although we may need to frontload for Chandler (8 million per year) to discourage Denver from matching depending on the new CBA. Both are versatile players that can play the 3 and 4 if needed in a pinch. Chandleris a wing scorer in and out with athleticism for D Williams lobs, slasher, rebounder and above average defender. AK47 familiarity with Deron and his all around smart game is a definite upgrade on the wing. Although his high mileage and injury prone concerns me and therfore, limit to a 2-3 years experiment.
3. Do NOT resign Sasha. He is too similar to Morrow's outside shooting skills and he is remarkably worse on defense. We can upgrade with some relatively cheap pure wing scorer type of player like Jamal Crawford, Maurice Thornton or as a last resort JR Smith (hometown discount??), but avoid, if possible, at all cost. We need solid efficient "dagger" perimeter scoring (microwave oven a la Detroit Piston) more than defense because if we also get Chandler/Ak47, an improved James/Morrow perimeter defense that should be suffice. Moreover, I think we can get away placing Chandler/AK47 on the other team's best perimeter defender.
4. Draft pick best available player, preferably a big man (Tobias Harris, K Farried (sp?) replace our D. Favors project. If needed, buy a pick or trade up for a better pick with some of Mr. Prokhorov's cash.
5. Resign Yata to vet minimum depending on his performance for the remainder of the season and/or bring back Uzoh. He is a Queens manufactured Product out of the legendary Archbishop Molloy H.S. (K Anderson High School). His composure, defense on smaller quick guards and shooting will bring some unique aspects to the 3 PG rotation with Williams and Farmar.
6. Icing on the cake, the return of KMART for his attitude, Finals experience, tenacity, enforcer mentality outweighs his potential risk of injuries. We would be fine with AK47 and Outlaw as our backup forwards for the bulk of the season for the most part. However, Playoff time we need a KMART-Oakley type of player since both Lopez/Humphries have pretty much docile personalities. I beleive KMART wiould give his old team a discount and understand that he played his best ball under JKIDD and that our JKIDD 2.0 can extend his career for another 2-3 years nothwithstanding the knee injuries. Since the Carmela trade, he has impressed me with his leadership and his hops have not fallen off as much as I had previously thought. Although he still cannot shoot, Lopez shooting will be suffice for our big man a la Todd MAC.
7. Jury is still out on Brandan Wright. But, if possible, get rid of Outlaw, Petro, Graham and Ross. As far as end of the bench perimeter defender I would look at J Howard to replace Graham so he can possibly revive his best days in Dallas under Avery.
Overall, we would obtain some quality assets at a reasonable or even better, discounted price, that will address our immediate needs, but maintain some cap flexibility and place us in a decent position to be ready, willing and able to deal for DHoward or some other Superstar in the near future when the opportunity present itself a la BK stealth way. WINNING!!!! Do not muddy our celebration!!