I know, I know, the season isn't over yet. But as great as this playoff series has been for us I can't help but think about the future. I worry that the team as we know it cannot be kept together because of the salary cap, and it would take a miracle for both Gortat and Ariza to be here next season. That's got me thinking, what are our options for next season. Unless Wall and Beal both elevate their games to the point where one of them is a legitimate superstar (which I think will happen), our achievements this year might be hard to replicate. So here is where we look to free agency. With about 14M in cap space, we have enough to go grab some good role players, possibly retain either Gortat or Ariza, probably not both as I alluded to above. But what if this is the year? What about Melo? I expect he'll opt out, but do we have what it takes to lure him here? Before Phil Jackson happened, I may have said yes, with a second round appearance of course. But Phil Jackson has rings. 11 of them. The Wizards have none. Unless we really make some noise in the playoffs, I just don't see it being enough to tear him away from Phil and the Knicks if they really want to keep him.
If the Wizards sign Melo, I see the identity of this team changing a lot. To me the only way to make this work is for us to go small, running Wall, Beal, Webster, Melo, Nene. Melo was extemely effective at power forward this year and he would stretch the floor for Wall. Offensively, this lineup is dynamite. Defensively, it leaves a lot to be desired. Although the scenario of signing Melo makes us almost instant contenders on paper, this almost certainly takes us out of the Durant sweepstakes in 2016. Now here's where I want the discussion to go. First, which is more of a pipe dream? Can you see either of these happening? The prospect of having either of these guys on the team is mouthwatering, but unless we make the conference finals this year and prove that "we serious", I see no reason for Melo to leave and come to a team with an unproven front office, a relatively inexperienced coach, and one year of playoff basketball under it's belt. But, if John and Brad progress as we all hope they will and the Wiz make the playoffs each season from here until 2016, we might actually have a better shot at Durant then than we do Melo now, as they would have proven the playoff performance wasn't a one year fluke. Let me know what you guys think.. I get that this idea is a little out there, but if we really want to contend, there's got to be one more legitimate star player in the frontcourt. I won't be satisfied with just playoff appearances, I want to be in the hunt every year. "If you're not first, you're last"
That said, lets close this series out Tuesday and make some noise. Time to put away the Bulls for good.