I have read Prada’s well thought out and persuasive argument that we should dump Jamison now for whatever we can get. I have heard the cries from many to blow the team up for nothing more than expiring contracts if that is the best deal we are offered.
I have to disagree.
We have a team full of what EG calls “assets”. These assets apparently don’t work well together and are less than the sum of their parts. I recognize that the time has come to change course. However I don’t believe that we have a ticking time bomb and need to sprint into bad deals and end up at zero.
I love Rook’s creative if optimistic scenaria. Deals like those could set us up to be only a handful of years away from being back in the mix if things go reasonably well. However if all we are offered is expiring contracts then I say we stand pat.
Yes, you heard me. Stand pat with what we have. I would rather sink slowly into mediocrity than plunge into awfulness. I think that some of our assets will retain their value or get more valuable down the road and I don’t think we should just give them away at this time. Furthermore, I think that a measured approach to dismantling the team will get us back into contention faster than a nuclear approach.
Here are some assets that have an immediate time limit: Haywood, Miller, Foye, James.
I think Haywood is our most valuable asset and the one we are least likely to retain. I think we can get something for him as an expiring and a rental/Bird rights for another team. If offered nothing more than equal expirings at the deadline, however, I see no reason to trade him. We need some net return.
Miller and Foye could be trade bait, again if we get something in return besides expirings, but each of them could be worth re-signing to medium term contracts if the price is right. If not we can let them expire. James is in a similar boat except for the re-signing part.
The other assets that are not young potential building blocks are Jamison and Butler. I see no reason to give either of them away.
Butler seems more on a must-move-soon path, mostly because he seems to be tuning out. But his value will be just as high in the offseason or before next year’s trading deadline. And we might have more suitors.
I believe that Jamison will also retain his value next year. He will likely still be playing at a high level and the following year he is an expiring contract, so I don’t think he needs to be given away for nothing. And I believe that having a player like him on the team if we are rebuilding is a plus as well.
I think a lot of the "blow it up"-ers are reacting out of emotion, frustration, anger...all very understandable. But the falsehood at the heart of the argument--that if we start from scratch we could be in contention in a few years or even a handful of years--is pure fantasy. If we take apart this team we are looking at a 5-8 year plan minimum. Look at the Cavs. They lucked into one of the greatest players of our time and they are 7 years along with no ring.
We need to face facts. If we start over it's going to be a long road. I for one am willing to risk adding a year or two onto the teardown part in the thought that it will minimize the rebuild if we can get something for our outgoing assets.
Our mantra must be "no overpaying long term contracts" and we need to seize opportunities to trade assets in order to get better, not just in order to get rid of them.