At least in my mind is the amount of roster flexibility it gives the team this season. I know Prada touched on this matter to some degree earlier but I wanted to post my thoughts in light of Pradas post today about the team waiting to make a trade.
Let me throw out a couple suppositions I base my thinking on. First, The economic state of the league coupled with the upcoming summer of Lebrown(thats what I call him) will create a mass sell off this trade deadline. I have a feeling it will be unprecedented and possibly historic. While it might not be as epic as I think it's fair to say this could be one of craziest deadlines ever. Teams are tens of millions over the cap and deadline will be the last chance to avoid future tax payments. This will make expiring contracts extremely valuable. This would leave me to believe that unless we are overwhelmed by an offer before then we should hold onto the contracts until the deadline as they could be worth alot(who would have thought Kwame's expiring contract could be the centerpiece of a trade for Pau Gasol before that happened?).
Second, The Wizards are about to reach a make or break point in their long term planning. As Prada and others have detailed we will probably have to go significantly over the cap to re-sign Haywood and one of Foye/Miller this offseason(plus enough other guys to round out the minimum roster requirement). That with AJ's and Arenas's contracts ballooning(and being real hard to trade most likely) creates a scenario where we would have no outside options other than the MLE, Bi-Annual, and the Draft to improve our team. At the same time we will begin having our young guys and Caron begin to run out their contracts and us having the dilemna of letting those guys go and replacing with the MLE, Bi-annual, draft OR resigning them to contracts larger than they can get on the market. Plus since this will all be happening while we make the playoffs(or else they'd blow up the team) our draft picks will be late rounders. Our FO has said rookies and MLE guys can't crack our veteran laden playoff rotations now so how would they then? Meaning if we re-sign haywood and either Foye or MIller we are basically deciding that this is our title team and we are gonna give them a 2-3 year title window and be way over the cap.
This puts a team in a terrible spot if we feel we need another big piece to go any further than the first round of the playoffs. To see a recent example of this look to our hated Cleveland Cavaliers. Saddled with cap trouble and roster deficiencies due to an inept FO they we forced with letting Ben Wallace and Saha Vujaciks contracts expire(helping their cap troubles) after this season or trade them for a player that can help(Shaq) in what ostensibly is a roster improving-cap neutral trade(though it did cost the cavs a ton of money as both of the contracts they gave up were only partially guaranteed). Basically the Cav's were able to get a productive player in exchange for two players who wouldn't make the court because the Suns had to save cash badly due to the economic climate. Now we don't have any partially guaranteed contracts like the Cav's,but us trading an expired for a contract that runs for an additional year or 2 serves the same purpose. In addition to that they have a valuable big man in Anderson Varejao who is a free agent. Now even Ferry can understand that getting shaq and letting Varejao go hurts them in the short term as well as the long term. Shaq and Big Z can't play together and there is no one from within that can hold down the PF and backup the center position. This would especially hurt them defensively. In the long term with Shaq and Z being expiring contracts themselves there is no one from within to play either of the big men positions(Hickson might develop into a PF maybe) that they can count on so they have to re-sign Varejao. His agent knows this and thats how Varejao gets a ridiculously over market value contract paying him 9.1 million in 2013. The type of title run the FO and sportswriters talk of us having will put us in the exact same kind of scenarios. It doesn't have to be that way for every team. One that has the contracts of Arenas and Jamison however will be way over the cap unless we luck into a superstar at an affordable price. If we resign Haywood and one of the guards we will be in a situation that every guy who's contract expires has to be replaced on the cheap or resigned at over market.
So basically we need to to have a three year plan worked out by the time we go into FA next year. Making that difficult is the fact that we have a new coach and a new system. Plus Arenas and Haywood haven't played with Critt, Foye, Miller, or McGee. And Foye and Miller have never played with anyone else on the team and are changing their roles. Thats not even taking into account the fact that we are counting on a lot of young guys to mature and vets to return succesfully from injuries to even talk about the playoffs. This is why I thought the "we're built for now" talk was a little off. I think being a little more realistic with our optimism it's not hard to see us finally coming together late in the year, making a nice playoff run, and going into the offseason knowing we'll be a title contender the next season.
Now what does this have to do with the Foye-Miller trade and flexibility? Well after Dec. 15th both Foye and Miller can be traded again. By the time we get to the February trade deadline we should have a good look at our team and have a good idea of how the trade has worked out and where we stand in the East. Mike James, Foye, Haywood and Miller will all have substantial expiring contracts. Haywood, Foye and Miller would be especially valuable as they can really help a team. Now I think we will wanna hang on to Foye. I just think he's gonna bring alot to the team and play lots of minutes plus we have a team option for 1 more year at 5 million something making him easy to resign/keep for another year if he proves valuable. I think we also wanna hang onto Haywood unless McGee is playing out of his mind and we think that we can't/won't resign Haywood. Now those are just my thoughts but it's not unlikely. That leaves us with Miller(7 mil) and James's(5 mil) contracts as strong trading chips at the deadline allowing us to either package them and get a big contract guy that gives us another star or for 2 smaller pieces that fit better. So the way I see it those 2 contracts are our last two bullet(s) so to speak for us to get outside help before we go into the summer and enter the period where we can resign our guys for whatever they cost(and remain way over the cap in the future) or let them go without being able to provide a player of the same quality as a replacement. Now obviously our young guys can grow quickly allowing us to let guys like Haywood, Foye, Miller, Caron leave over the next 2 years but then we have to replace our bench with late rounders and MLE's leaving us over the cap still but not a title contender. THis makes it more likely we are gonna keep on investing in what we have. Thats why I think the best part of the trade was that it still left us with enough assets to grab another important piece at the deadline(or 2 solid pieces or 1 huge megadeal I guess with all 4 expring contracts somehow maybe). Even if Miller and Foye don't fit into the team or one of them just flops we can still go and make another important move. We're not locked into our team.....yet.
*Let me know what you guys think.
**Sorry I did not have exact cap figures Hoops Hype isn't working for some reason
*** Also gotta mention that Prada touched on alot of these issues earlier in the month I just wanted to talk in more detail about them
****This all assumes we are willing to go way over cap but that is implicit in any talk of a title run that the FO or Press have been putting out