2022 Free Agent Targets

#91
Like it or not this team is going to sink or swim next year with Fox and the Ox. We're going to re-sign Donte who will be part of the new defensive identity of this team. Donte wasn't really healthy until Fox and Sabonis were taken out, so we've not seen these 3 + Barnes play major minutes. We're most likely to see the biggest additions be the rookie pick and a potential swap of Holmes for a more complimentary front court running mate for Barnes and Sabonis. We'll pick up Lyles's option though he along with Harkless, Len, and Holiday could all be expiring salary pieces in a Holmes deal. Maybe if Monte and Brown see the opportunity for an impact MLE signing they will make one - otherwise it might be more prudent to see who from that Nigerian team is a FA and can be had at a value. I expect a bigger role from Metu. I think they are going for a full season with these players, a defensive philosophy switch, and $$$ in 2023 which is when we can expect a lot bigger overhaul of the roster. Also if things aren't going well Barnes can be moved at the deadline. I wouldn't expect lots of new additions unless we move 3 or 4 players in the Holmes deal.
 
#95

Insanity. They hit jenga with Ayton, who has a serious case for being the 4th best C in basketball behind Jokic/Embiid and they're going to let him walk. Vastly improved every year, became just as instrumental to their defense as Mikal Bridges and is one of the premier C defenders in the game. Was just a perfect roll man with Cp3 and did everything the team asked of him, taking a back seat for the betterment of the team. Absolutely dominant efficiency.

I think you make the call. Holmes+Barnes+7 is a fairly intriguing package to a team that wants to continue to win now and they're not tied to the Barnes with long-term money while they get Holmes on a value deal. 24 year old ascending bigs like Ayton are neve on the market and I'd wager there's a lot of scoring capability that PHX left on the table with him.

A deal like this is the definition of "Get the talent, figure it out later" mantra that Monte seems to like. Ayton/Sabonis/Fox are all super talented players; a trio that a good coach would be able to figure out how to use together.
 
#96

Insanity. They hit jenga with Ayton, who has a serious case for being the 4th best C in basketball behind Jokic/Embiid and they're going to let him walk. Vastly improved every year, became just as instrumental to their defense as Mikal Bridges and is one of the premier C defenders in the game. Was just a perfect roll man with Cp3 and did everything the team asked of him, taking a back seat for the betterment of the team. Absolutely dominant efficiency.

I think you make the call. Holmes+Barnes+7 is a fairly intriguing package to a team that wants to continue to win now and they're not tied to the Barnes with long-term money while they get Holmes on a value deal. 24 year old ascending bigs like Ayton are neve on the market and I'd wager there's a lot of scoring capability that PHX left on the table with him.

A deal like this is the definition of "Get the talent, figure it out later" mantra that Monte seems to like. Ayton/Sabonis/Fox are all super talented players; a trio that a good coach would be able to figure out how to use together.
I was all for going hard after Ayton this year until we traded for Sabonis. I think Myles Turner was a better shooter than Ayton and that pairing didn't play well in Indiana. I doubt Sabonis and Ayton will be able to coexist on a team with rather suspect outside shooting, especially when you are trading away your best catch and shoot player on the team. I would much rather invest money into a player like Bobby Portis who is not only a strong defensive player, at the 4, but also a good 3pt shooter, reasonably good rebounder and hard nose tough guy who can inject some much needed grit to this team. Would also take PJW and Chris Boucher. I would also potentially take a flier on Mo Bamba (who may be able to play next to Sabonis given his outside shooting)

Easiest senario (money wise) would be a S/T involving Holmes for PJW and Cody Martin (on a new deal for 5-6M/ for 3 years). Then resign DDV, Damian Jones and pick up option on Lyles.

Fox/Mitchell
DDV/Martin
Barnes/Lamb/Martin
PJW/Lyles/Barnes
Sabonis/Jones/Len

Then also add in your FRP.
 
#97
I was all for going hard after Ayton this year until we traded for Sabonis. I think Myles Turner was a better shooter than Ayton and that pairing didn't play well in Indiana. I doubt Sabonis and Ayton will be able to coexist on a team with rather suspect outside shooting, especially when you are trading away your best catch and shoot player on the team. I would much rather invest money into a player like Bobby Portis who is not only a strong defensive player, at the 4, but also a good 3pt shooter, reasonably good rebounder and hard nose tough guy who can inject some much needed grit to this team. Would also take PJW and Chris Boucher. I would also potentially take a flier on Mo Bamba (who may be able to play next to Sabonis given his outside shooting)

Easiest senario (money wise) would be a S/T involving Holmes for PJW and Cody Martin (on a new deal for 5-6M/ for 3 years). Then resign DDV, Damian Jones and pick up option on Lyles.

Fox/Mitchell
DDV/Martin
Barnes/Lamb/Martin
PJW/Lyles/Barnes
Sabonis/Jones/Len

Then also add in your FRP.
My counter-argument is Sabonis-Turner actually did have some success prior to the Nate Bjorken season where a very promising Pacers roster was just decimated in 1 1/2 seasons. After they fired Nate McMillan

48-34 in 18-19
Turner-28 MPG
Sabonis-24 MPG

45-28 in 19-20
Sabonis-34 MPG
Turner-29 MPG

And if Sabonis is going to be one of your cornerstones, you're more than likely going to have to commit to a unconventional team build. Unless you find the unicorn 4 (which Chet/Jabari can actually be), like a JJJ, you either go for the all offense build with 4 out, or you get Sabonis a rim protector and play him at the 4. Ayton is just levels above Turner too, which should matter in the evaluation to pair them.

A big reason I've been on the Hartenstein train is he can be that great rim protector with some really good offensive talents as well outside of just finishing at the rim. Ayton is an incredible roll man, but I think he's one of the few bigs in the NBA with actual self-shot creation ability. With the Sabonis passing, I think you'd have a real match-up nightmare defending 2 "big" bigs that can create their own offense. Would certainly force teams to rethink small-ball 4's against them.

Ultimately, I just care that a 24 year old stud player that should never hit the open market is likely going to be available. A talent deficient team shouldn't pass just because the fit isn't clear right away. You get out of the gutter with players like Ayton.
 
#98
The most troublesome position for us to find someone that fits with Sabonis and Fox is the PF. Looking at the FAs the one that by far makes THE most sense for this team is Bobby Portis.

Can swing between PF and C, plays solid D and can stretch the floor and is in reasonable age bracket. Brings championship experience and some veteran know how. It's difficult to find someone that brings all that plus the weak side shot blocking

He would be my #1 target in FA.
 
#99

Insanity. They hit jenga with Ayton, who has a serious case for being the 4th best C in basketball behind Jokic/Embiid and they're going to let him walk. Vastly improved every year, became just as instrumental to their defense as Mikal Bridges and is one of the premier C defenders in the game. Was just a perfect roll man with Cp3 and did everything the team asked of him, taking a back seat for the betterment of the team. Absolutely dominant efficiency.

I think you make the call. Holmes+Barnes+7 is a fairly intriguing package to a team that wants to continue to win now and they're not tied to the Barnes with long-term money while they get Holmes on a value deal. 24 year old ascending bigs like Ayton are neve on the market and I'd wager there's a lot of scoring capability that PHX left on the table with him.

A deal like this is the definition of "Get the talent, figure it out later" mantra that Monte seems to like. Ayton/Sabonis/Fox are all super talented players; a trio that a good coach would be able to figure out how to use together.
I don't think the pairing with Sabonis would work. If I'm blowing all my possible cap space, it's not going to be to build an ill fitting trio. Ayton is a below average defensive C who isn't a plus shot blocker. He has shown glimpses that he can possibly add the 3pt ball to his skill set but that's about the only thing that would fit.

The center position can also be found later on in the draft.

I'd rather add Hartenstein, who I think is a much better defender and attempt to trade Holmes for a wing/PF and draft a wing and hope 2/3 of those moves hit.
 
The most troublesome position for us to find someone that fits with Sabonis and Fox is the PF. Looking at the FAs the one that by far makes THE most sense for this team is Bobby Portis.

Can swing between PF and C, plays solid D and can stretch the floor and is in reasonable age bracket. Brings championship experience and some veteran know how. It's difficult to find someone that brings all that plus the weak side shot blocking

He would be my #1 target in FA.
I question it after watching these playoffs but he's got value for sure. Giannis is a freak in every sense of the word and he and Portis got handled at times together against a smaller team so I can't see Sabonis and him being anything but more mismatched against these true contenders. If they want to put a big next to Sabonis I'd still rather see someone like Randle so they can match that quickness, athleticism, and shooting advantage with raw power and bruising play.
 

Insanity. They hit jenga with Ayton, who has a serious case for being the 4th best C in basketball behind Jokic/Embiid and they're going to let him walk. Vastly improved every year, became just as instrumental to their defense as Mikal Bridges and is one of the premier C defenders in the game. Was just a perfect roll man with Cp3 and did everything the team asked of him, taking a back seat for the betterment of the team. Absolutely dominant efficiency.

I think you make the call. Holmes+Barnes+7 is a fairly intriguing package to a team that wants to continue to win now and they're not tied to the Barnes with long-term money while they get Holmes on a value deal. 24 year old ascending bigs like Ayton are neve on the market and I'd wager there's a lot of scoring capability that PHX left on the table with him.

A deal like this is the definition of "Get the talent, figure it out later" mantra that Monte seems to like. Ayton/Sabonis/Fox are all super talented players; a trio that a good coach would be able to figure out how to use together.
I would trade Sabonis in this case (while keeping your deal for Ayton) and make room for Ayton and get back some of the pieces/better fitting ones that the Kings would use to get Ayton. Ayton/Sabonis only works if Sabonis is the 6th man type role but he's paid way to much for that. If you are choosing between Atyon/Sabonis you have to go with Ayton don't you?
 
I don't think the pairing with Sabonis would work. If I'm blowing all my possible cap space, it's not going to be to build an ill fitting trio. Ayton is a below average defensive C who isn't a plus shot blocker. He has shown glimpses that he can possibly add the 3pt ball to his skill set but that's about the only thing that would fit.

The center position can also be found later on in the draft.

I'd rather add Hartenstein, who I think is a much better defender and attempt to trade Holmes for a wing/PF and draft a wing and hope 2/3 of those moves hit.
I agree but shotblocking at the big man spot being an effective form of defense or really all that important is all but a dead conversation, it's not nearly as important as lateral mobility and versatility. Jerry Reynolds used to talk about the overrating of shotblocking but it's for real real now. Out of the teams still left in the playoffs the 3 best shotblockers are Robert Williams, who has been out and still only playing role player minutes when he did play, Horford who has never been a true shotblocker and was always more about the switch, and Draymond Green. None averaging more than 2 a game. Right after Draymond? Andrew freaking Wiggins.
 
I would trade Sabonis in this case (while keeping your deal for Ayton) and make room for Ayton and get back some of the pieces/better fitting ones that the Kings would use to get Ayton. Ayton/Sabonis only works if Sabonis is the 6th man type role but he's paid way to much for that. If you are choosing between Atyon/Sabonis you have to go with Ayton don't you?
Is Ayton close to a finished product or just being held back? If he's being held back Ayton for sure but so far from the looks of it Sabonis is pretty much better than him at every aspect of the actual game. Sabonis is a non-existent shotblocker but Ayton is far from Wilt or Hakeem himself.
 
I agree but shotblocking at the big man spot being an effective form of defense or really all that important is all but a dead conversation, it's not nearly as important as lateral mobility and versatility. Jerry Reynolds used to talk about the overrating of shotblocking but it's for real real now. Out of the teams still left in the playoffs the 3 best shotblockers are Robert Williams, who has been out and still only playing role player minutes when he did play, Horford who has never been a true shotblocker and was always more about the switch, and Draymond Green. None averaging more than 2 a game. Right after Draymond? Andrew freaking Wiggins.
Which brings up another good point in that neither can defend the perimeter. At least be able to block shots ala Turner if neither can defend the perimeter. I just don't think it would work.

Shot blocking isn't something that necessarily has to show up on the stat sheet either. Just mere resistance in the paint is all it really takes. Teams have had a field day against the Kings in the paint for years now outside of that one year of Whiteside. Sabonis can defend post ups very well but he can't defend against players driving into the paint. So they either need to get someone who can put up resistance once the player is in the paint or they need to get someone who doesn't let players get into the paint very often.
 
Whichever team pays Ayton $30 million/year is toast. Sabonis is way better than him because of his playmaking ability. And Sabonis moves his feet well and might not get played out of games like a bunch of centers (including Ayton). If you build your team around Ayton, there is no playoff run in your future.

Sabonis is tough to build a team around from a defensive perspective (if the goal is an elite defense). But offensively, anyone that can shoot and cut can play with him.
 
The biggest issue with Ayton is that he's a restricted free agent.

He wants the max and I don't see Sarver giving it to him, especially with CP3's salary and Cam Johnson and Booker eligible for extensions. So he'll get another team to offer him the max or close to it and force the Suns into a decision. I don't think the Kings making a sign-and-trade deal for him will be a realistic option.

That's without even looking at the question of fit etc.

Also, if I'm breaking the bank for Ayton it concerns me a bit that the Suns had essentially the same exact record whether he played or not.

They went 64-18 on the season (.780) and were 18-6 when he didn't play (.750). The fact that they could plug in JaVale McGee or Bismack Biyombo and just keep rolling doesn't speak to Ayton having a huge impact on winning.
 
The biggest issue with Ayton is that he's a restricted free agent.

He wants the max and I don't see Sarver giving it to him, especially with CP3's salary and Cam Johnson and Booker eligible for extensions. So he'll get another team to offer him the max or close to it and force the Suns into a decision. I don't think the Kings making a sign-and-trade deal for him will be a realistic option.

That's without even looking at the question of fit etc.

Also, if I'm breaking the bank for Ayton it concerns me a bit that the Suns had essentially the same exact record whether he played or not.

They went 64-18 on the season (.780) and were 18-6 when he didn't play (.750). The fact that they could plug in JaVale McGee or Bismack Biyombo and just keep rolling doesn't speak to Ayton having a huge impact on winning.
And that's the whole NBA at this point. Jokic is special because of his passing ability and Philadelphia has structured their offense around Embiid which is why those two guys are in the MVP conversation every year but for the most part modern bigs are replaceable rebounders and screen setters and we already have one of the best. I don't think Ayton is significantly better than Sabonis so there's no point swapping one for the other and trying to find a way to keep both of them on the floor is most likely going to be counter-productive. If New Orleans wasn't blowing people away with that AD and Cousins frontcourt, what hope is there for anyone else building their team around a twin towers lineup?
 
I know not a FA, but if UT does in fact have to choose and move on from Mitchell or Gobert, would Fox/pick be a feasible starting point for a deal? Mitchell would fit perfectly here and let Davion take over PG role. Pipe down I know
 
I don't think the pairing with Sabonis would work. If I'm blowing all my possible cap space, it's not going to be to build an ill fitting trio. Ayton is a below average defensive C who isn't a plus shot blocker. He has shown glimpses that he can possibly add the 3pt ball to his skill set but that's about the only thing that would fit.

The center position can also be found later on in the draft.

I'd rather add Hartenstein, who I think is a much better defender and attempt to trade Holmes for a wing/PF and draft a wing and hope 2/3 of those moves hit.
Hmm, is this still true? I think he's taken a giant leap the last 2 seasons and has become close to a lock-down defender and just as important as Mikal Bridges to that PHX defense.
 
And that's the whole NBA at this point. Jokic is special because of his passing ability and Philadelphia has structured their offense around Embiid which is why those two guys are in the MVP conversation every year but for the most part modern bigs are replaceable rebounders and screen setters and we already have one of the best. I don't think Ayton is significantly better than Sabonis so there's no point swapping one for the other and trying to find a way to keep both of them on the floor is most likely going to be counter-productive. If New Orleans wasn't blowing people away with that AD and Cousins frontcourt, what hope is there for anyone else building their team around a twin towers lineup?
The game has further changed since then, but IIRC, they actually were blowing people away, but Boogie got hurt pretty quickly into their duo. But for like that first 25-games... it was damn sweet.
 
It's hard to make heads or tails of the Pelicans situation, they weren't that many games over .500 and actually the 2018 team performed its best after Cousins went down, though he had some HUGE games with them.

But I do think committing that much salary to two guys who should be playing C is problematic in the modern NBA.
 
Hmm, is this still true? I think he's taken a giant leap the last 2 seasons and has become close to a lock-down defender and just as important as Mikal Bridges to that PHX defense.
He never stuck out via the eye test for me and I haven't seen many metrics that are real kind to him. Obviously not the be all end all but his offense sticks out to me more than anything.
 
Which brings up another good point in that neither can defend the perimeter. At least be able to block shots ala Turner if neither can defend the perimeter. I just don't think it would work.

Shot blocking isn't something that necessarily has to show up on the stat sheet either. Just mere resistance in the paint is all it really takes. Teams have had a field day against the Kings in the paint for years now outside of that one year of Whiteside. Sabonis can defend post ups very well but he can't defend against players driving into the paint. So they either need to get someone who can put up resistance once the player is in the paint or they need to get someone who doesn't let players get into the paint very often.
Yeah, it's better and what happened to Ayton in pick and roll is he gave too much space and got caught by an actually stronger Luka. Ayton isn't all that beefy and it hurt him. He's not terrible but if you're hanging your hat on defense then not being elite in switch is almost all losing the battle regardless. The only way to defend players driving into the paint is to stop them up top and track them to the rim. Few players are going to meet people at the rim and a) not get cheap fouls on contact since apparently verticality has gone out the window or b) get pushed under the rim since travel calls have also gone out the window. I mean, look at Goberts fall off recently. This is why players like Holmgren are so interesting. He tracks players very well. Giannis does the same thing. That's what you need at C. Sabonis I think can do the tracking. Now, if he gets beat or gives up too much of an angle he's toast since he's not a shotblocker but his feet and strength make me think this could work out.
 
The biggest issue with Ayton is that he's a restricted free agent.

He wants the max and I don't see Sarver giving it to him, especially with CP3's salary and Cam Johnson and Booker eligible for extensions. So he'll get another team to offer him the max or close to it and force the Suns into a decision. I don't think the Kings making a sign-and-trade deal for him will be a realistic option.

That's without even looking at the question of fit etc.

Also, if I'm breaking the bank for Ayton it concerns me a bit that the Suns had essentially the same exact record whether he played or not.

They went 64-18 on the season (.780) and were 18-6 when he didn't play (.750). The fact that they could plug in JaVale McGee or Bismack Biyombo and just keep rolling doesn't speak to Ayton having a huge impact on winning.
I mean the Grizz went 20-5 in the regular season without Ja? So probably more just random than anything tbh. I refuse to believe that Ayton and Ja aren't vitally important to their team success.
 
I think a trio of Sexton, Fox, and Sabonis would destroy defenses. Put Barnes at the corner and get another 3&D wing to do the same and we'd be formidable. Seems like Murray is the early favorite for the #4 pick. Sexton-Fox-Barnes-Murray-Sabonis looks niiice.