If the balls don't bounce our way tonight there's a decent chance Ernie will entertain the idea of trading the lottery pick for some help NOW. Nene was a NOW move.
Another reason would be the overall youth of the current roster. As Ted points out
We currently have under contract seven players that are in the first or second year of their contracts and were first round picks. Wall, Booker, Seraphin and Crawford just finished their second years, and Vesely, Singleton, and Mack (a second round pick) just finished their rookie seasons. We have a lottery pick – and a high second round pick this coming draft. That would mean we could have nine players on the roster all drafted by us or received by us via trade as new ownership.
While many took that as Ted resetting expectations based on youth, I took it as a statement that could be used to justify another NOW move. So who would be worth our lottery pick (2-5)? I am thinking in terms of shooting guards and small forwards.If you can't draft a core piece, trade for one. Not included is Nicolas Batum since he is a restricted free agent.
James Harden: Harden is one of the most efficient, well-rounded players at his position. Next year he is extension eligible. That creates problems for the Thunder since Ibaka is also eligible and they have already essentially maxed out Durant and Westbrook. Perkins is on the payroll well into the future but I could see him being a amnesty option if it meant keeping these other 2. In addition to our pick I'd include Crawford (to help replace Harden's bench scoring inexpensively) and take back even more salary in exchange for Harden and their pick at #28.
Loul Deng: 27 year old SF with excellent defensive talents and a better offensive game than he's given credit for. I also think that could go up a bit playing in a faster paced environment. Owed 27 million over the next 2 years.
Andre Igoudala: 28 year old wing. Owed 30.6 million over the next 2 seasons. Had a great year shooting from distance. Miscast as a playmaker in Philly. Obvious defensive strengths combined with his ability to get out on the break make him an interesting fit next to JW.
Rudy Gay: 26 year old SF owed 53.7 million over the next 3 seasons. Good for 19 and 5 most nights with occasional outbursts into the high 20's. Has become a better on-ball defender since his time with USA basketball.
Danny Granger: 29 year old making 27 million over the next 2 seasons. Not nearly as good defensively as Deng or Igoudala. Not as young as Gay. Another 19/5 guy shooting 38% from 3. Doubt Indy wants to move him. Don't see him as worthy of this pick either but he's in that next tier of 3's.
Who makes your list of players to target should we decide not to use our lottery pick?