Acquiring Kurt Thomas put another shovel of cement into the foundation for next season’s Sonic roster. It’s been a tough summer in trying to figure out possible roster configuration and moves, simply because so much of the roster is or has been in flux.
So many questions: Is Luke Ridnour on the block? Will either Damien Wilkins or Mickael Gelabale be forced into reduced minutes, or traded? How does Chris Wilcox fit into the new, defense-oriented mindset, and how many minutes does he get now that Kevin Durant and Jeff Green are in Sonic jerseys?
If you look at the roster as it stands today, this is what you get:
Swift, Thomas, Petro, Sene, Wilcox, Collison, Durant, Green, Wilkins, Gelabale, Szczerbiak, West, Watson, Ridnour
That’s 14 people, not including Brandon Heath, Will Blalock, Quinton Hosley, Zabian Dowdell, Kenny Adeleke, or any of the other people currently on the Sonics’ summer league roster. It also doesn’t include a 3rd-string point guard, although West could fit that duty.
It seems rather plain then that more moves are coming. Here are some that I would expect:
1. Mo Sene is headed for the NBDL. This seems obvious to me. He’s taking up a roster spot on a team that needs them, and he plays a position that is already well stocked. Plus, he needs the playing time.
2. Either Watson or Ridnour will be traded this summer. This also seems obvious. Going beyond the painful chemistry between the two, it’s a simple minute-distribution situation. There are only 240 minutes to distribute to 13 or 14 players, and neither of those two guys will be happy playing 10-15 minutes. I’m leaning towards Frodo being dealt.
3. Wilkins or Gelabale will be traded this summer. Again, there just aren’t enough minutes for these guys. Damien averaged 25 minutes a game last season and Gelly averaged close to 18. That can’t happen on this team because the math just doesn’t work. Look at it from this perspective, bearing in mind that player minute averages don’t truly indicate the minutes used in a game, because of injuries:
That leaves 10 minutes for Damien and Gelly. As they say in Texas, that dog won’t hunt. Obviously, Wally could wind up at 10-15 minutes a night, and you figure he’s going to miss at least 25-30 games due to muscle pulls, ankle sprains, hair gel emergencies, etc., so there’s room for Damien or Gelly, but not both. Their only chance for reprieve would be, as Brian pointed out at SonicsCentral, if Szczerbiak gets traded in August, which is possible.
4. Johan Petro will be dealt this summer. This is the most likely of the possibilities, simply because I’m sick of watching the guy. C’mon Sam, you’ve done everything else right this summer, can’t you swing a deal for a late first-round, early second-round pick for the Frenchman?
5. Chris Wilcox might be traded this summer. This is the least likely, but still possible. Wilcox doesn’t play much D, takes minutes away from Collison and/or Green at PF, and he has value. In the light of the Thomas acquisition, The Seattle Times ran the possibility of Collison being traded up the flagpole, but I don’t think it will happen, simply because Collison fits so nicely into Sam Presti’s type of player, while Wilcox does not. Plus, Wilcox will be a valuable piece of trade material next summer, as his contract expires the following summer.
It’s a complicated situation, but when you attempt a wholesale slash and burn of a roster, as the Sonics have this summer, it’s inevitable that the pieces don’t fit back together easily. Somewhere along the way, Presti will have to find a 3-for-1 deal out there, even if it means adding a veteran he’d rather not have, or else the chemistry problems the Sonics endured last season will look like child’s play.
Wilcox is listed twice in the "roster as it stands today"...
nationally the consensus seems to be that Collison trade is a done deal, but he would seem to be exactly the kind of guy Presti wants.
whether or not Sene is sent to the D-League, he'll still take up a roster spot on the big club.
Thanks for the correction, Lemonverbena, it's fixed now.
As for Sene, I should have been more clear. I know he'll take up a spot on the roster regardless of where he plays this season. I should have made it clear that I meant he'll take up minutes if he's on the big club, simply because they have to get him some action this year or write him off completely. Since he needs to play to develop, it makes more sense for him to be in the NBDL (you could make the same argument for last season, but then, we did, and Bob Hill and Rick Sund didn't listen to us).
I just got through watching the Seattle-Chicago game in the Revue and Petro was impressive, so you might want to hang on to that kid. I can definitely see some twin towers action for you in the future with Petro and Sene (further off), because Petro can definitely play the 4. Imagine a lineup of Durant, Green, Petro and Sene all on the floor at the same time.
Hosley also looked impressive with the Marion-style game, basically getting a lot done without many touches or having plays called for him, and also made some excellent passes.
Green is a great passer and better shooter than I had anticipated, so the future is bright in Seattle and I'm not a Sonics fan.
Hey was the last anonymous poster Rick Sund.
Seriously, the twin towers of Petro and Sene. Quick, some one find out who this anonymous post is and stop him from drink the Sund Kool Aid. By no means should Petro be apart of the Sonics plans for the future, that is, unless he can be trade for something that fits into our future. As far as Sene goes, I would like to see him spend at least 3/4 of the season down in D-league logging as many minutes as he can. Then use the 2008 off-season to re-evaluate whether or not he's worth retaining for 2 million dollars (I think we have a team option on him) or if that 2 million could be better spent elsewhere.
Nope, not Rick Sund, just a guy a neutral observer quite impressed with Petro playing PF alongside Sene in the summer league game against Chicago.
In some ways, it was like Green and even Hosley kinda inspired those guys, because the ball was moving and unselfish passes were being made and the big guys were doing alright with it.
Petro looked the best, as he even started getting into the unselfish passing act, and was a beast going after blocked shots.
Sene like I said is further off, but he with good passers on the floor with him he was often finding himself with the ball and an easy look, and he also showed off a sweet jump hook (that will be unblockable if he masters it).
There's little doubt that Sene should get some NBDL time, and that his time to shine will not be this next season, but the guy looked pretty good, has a legit jump hook, and his length is incredible.
Even if you just keep him on and cultivate him along the lines of Diop for defense, he's going to be worth $2 million as the backup C behind Swift. That's basically what you're grooming him to be since Swift is going to be main guy.
And, as a part-time defensive option his value will be magnified if you've got Petro out there too - i.e. a couple legit shotblockers.
They're obviously not ready to go yet as a duo in the L, but patience and a few years could really give the Sonics an excellent big man outlook.
Also, as I said, if Sene masters that jump hook, which already looks pretty good, it will be unblockable.
As I said, down the road, maybe two seasons, a lineup with Durant at the 3, Petro at the 4, and Sene at the 5 is going to be pretty imposing on opposing offenses, at least in terms of getting shots up and over in the paint, and then if you've also got an ace defender, slasher and garbage man in a guy like Hosley out there too, at SG, the D has the potential to be stifling (and Green at SG would add length, not as tough defense, but give that extra playmaker on the floor because Jeff is a phenomenal passer).
You're forgetting about Robert Swift, who's better than both Sene and Petro. That's why I think Petro is so expendable, and why it makes sense to deal him now while he still has some value.
Petro is a real inconsistent player, and it's getting frustrating waiting for him to develop. Yes, he can hit jump shots with above-average range for a player his size, and yes he is quite mobile, but he disappears for too many stretches of time, and I don't see where he's all that useful on a team with Collison, Swift, and Thomas already under contract.
Nuss, it's your opinion that Swift is better than Petro and Sene. In my opinion Swift is complete garbage, he gained too much weight and his knees and ankles won't be able to support the new weight that he's put on. He's gonna get injured again, and will miss another season and his career will soon be finished, so please don't put too much stock into that theory. A bunch of tatoos' does not a good player make.
While I wouldn't mind any seeing any of the moves mentioned by Nuss, if the roster stays at 14, then where's the problem? Most teams try for that number. Seems the Sonics are set, imo. If Petro, Wilkins, etc., don't see floor time, big deal. Every team has marginal players on the bench who think they deserve more minutes. Isn't the goal to have players in reserve who are adept enough to step in and play in case of injury? Are the Sonics supposed to have even worse players on the the end of their bench who are so self-aware of their suckiness that they'd never dream of expecting playing time and just be happy to wave a towel?
Even if you were to say that the number of players is set, I don't think anybody in the Sonics' front office wants to see Luke Ridnour and Earl Watson on the team this season. Neither one thinks he should be a backup, and you don't want Kevin Durant or Jeff Green developing as a player in an environment where players are sniping at one another. Plus, Damien Wilkins isn't just going to sit at the end of the bench and be happy; this guy averaged 25+ minutes a game last year, and he's not going to take one for the team and sit.
It's one thing to ask 36-yeard-old veterans with bad ankles to sit, or to ask NBDL-type guys to sit, or to ask Petro/Sene/Swift guys to sit, or Quinton Hosley to sit, but Gelabale and Wilkins are young and improving players who have had a taste of getting minutes.
The only easy way to solve that problem is to deal Szczerbiak, then re-distribute the minutes accordingly.
Ridnour and Watson together may not be the long-term plan but it makes sense for both to play until PJ decides who works best with the young-uns. If it's determined that Luke needs to go, I wouldn't expect him to be moved until after he loses his BYC status. I would mind being wrong on that one though. :)
Damien's mpg were a bit skewed from RA's injury. The guy's going to be 28 in January. He's gotta start to realize that he's probably a journeyman at best. Then again, he may end up being the starting SG, lol.
I like Gelabale but it's hard to say he deserves minutes. If he shows a little more moxie and sheds the "passive" label, then there's a much stronger case for minutes. Too much of an unknown right now.
Really, there are quite a few unknowns on the team. Will Wilcox perform harder under PJ? Can PJ teach Petro how to snag a board? Will Swift be able to run? How will West fit? It might make more sense to have this be an evaluation season (at least the first half of it) and then make more moves later.
I'm sure the Sonics would love to deal Wally's no-D ass but doubt they'll find a taker. He and Thomas may end up being the aging vets that have to sit while other players get a look.
I think we are going to do pretty well this season, even if Presti stands pat. A lot of people look at this team, having lost our two primary players, as being much worse than we were last year. Nevertheless, I believe, in fact, that we have improved. In fact, I don't think there would be too many issues scoring either, maybe in crunch time in a close game unless Durant really is better than advertised or if Wally proves he is healthy, but otherwise, we could still be a pretty good offensive teams. The Summer League Numbers are shabby, but could you compare Brandon Heath, Jermaine Jackson, or Zabian Dowdell to one of the league's best passers in Luke Ridnour, whose past first-mentality is a perfect compliment to Jeff Green and Durant. Now don't go crazy here, I'm not saying Luke is one of the best PG's, I'm just talking about his playmaking and passing. Now back to my rant. Yes, we lost Ray Allen, but we also added West who can average about 12-14 ppg, Wally who can average 8-12ppg depending on his role and health, Green who can average 12-14 ppg, Thomas who can average 6-8 ppg, and Swift who can average 10 ppg, totaling up to 48-58 ppg which completely offsets the totals Allen/Lewis put up last year, not to mention the improvement on defense that the additions would be. In addition, Durant alone could put up the numbers that Lewis did last year. Maybe not as efficiently just yet, but he certainly is capable of it. In addition to that, it is not crazy to speculate that Wilcox, Collison, Ridnour, and Gelabale would improve upon a badly coached season and just due to seasoning alone. Now, don't take me wrong here, I am not arguing playoffs, though that is within the realm of possibility, but I believe they will actually have a better record than last year.
1)Even if Mo Sene is send to the NBDL, he'll still take one roster spot.
2)I think Watson is the odd guy out, cause we just received a younger, taller and better shooting version of him in Delonte West, who should be our primier back up at the 1 and 2 spots.
3)I think Wilkins should be on his way out, cause he's more expensive and could net us something solid. Gelabale is way to cheap to net us anything else then maybe a pick or another 2nd round guy on his rookie contract.
4)I also see Petro on his way out and think he'll be paired with either Earl or Damien(or even both) in another move.
5)I don't see Wilcox being traded, at least not as long as we don't get back an upgrade at the 4 or 5 spot in such a deal.
Him, Nick and Thomas are the only somewhat reliable post players on our squad right now, as Swift comes back from major injury and sure will need some time(i think Nene is a good example for Swift and he needed the first 2 months of the season to get back to 100%) and with Petro and Sene still being pretty raw, and trading him for something else would have us one injury to a big man away from big trouble.
Though, i also expect a couple more moves by Presti, cause i don't think that this is the roster we're going to go into the season with.
Since we are all in the speculator frame of mind, I hit ESPN's Trade Machine. Here are some interesting trade ideas...
Sam Cassell, Aaron Williams, 2007 2nd Round Pick
Earl Watson, Damien Wilkins, Johan Petro
I think this works for both teams. The Clippers get some needed depth with Wilkins and Petro and a PG with a lot more left in the tank.
The Sonics gets some veteran experience and almost $10 million in salary clearance next off-season.
Larry Hughes, 2008 2nd Round Pick
Watson, Wilkins, Wilcox, Petro
Cleveland is in desperate for some fresh blood and depth after getting their butt handed to them in the final. With this, they have instant depth and more salary flexibility. Seattle gets a starting shooting guard who fits the Presti model: Tough defender and good ball handler. Good compliment to Ridnour and allows West to fill a role as a PG/SG swing man, which I think he can excel at.
Antawn Jamison, 2008 conditional First Round Pick (i.e. a non-lottery pick)
Earl Watson, Damien Wilkins, Chris Wilcox, Johan Petro
Again, another depth for more salary relief. This would make the Wizards one of the favorites for SE conference title. For the Sonics, combine this $16 million with Thomas's $8 million would give us $20! million next winter to play with.
The other teams that might work for trades are Minnesota (they desperately need a PG, but do I want Ricky Davis in return?) and Charlotte (they need a lot, but don't know how to make it work.)
Just some ideas. There is a reason why someone like Presti is in charge, he could probably pick these trades apart and probably get something better.
In Presti I trust...
That Clippers deal doesn't makes much sense, cause we don't need another pg and that package should be worth more than that. We're also more on a two year plan, thanks to Wally's contract, and that's why Corey Maggette(who'd make way more sense as we need another scorer) should be the guy to trade for. That package, to me, should also be enough to convince the Clippers into trading him, cause Maggette isn't needed that much in Los Angeles(they just drafted Al Thornton) and they need a pg.
That Cavs deal is just bad. I don't want Larry Hughes and his horrible contract anywhere near the Sonics. He's earning just as much as Ray and it makes no sense adding such a huge contract, which runs 3 more years, while rebuilding. Hughes also never plays a full season due to his injury problems.
That 3rd deal is nice, but I don't see the Wizards being interested in it. They're already trying to unload Antonio Daniels(who's got the exact same contract as Watson) and sure won't look to add Watson's contract.
BTW: I don't want Ricky Davis and the rest of Minny's roster is either on their rookie contracts(therefore making it hard to deal for them) or grossly overpaid.
The Bobcats might have some interest in Wilcox or Petro, but i'd only trade the frenchman. Like it or not, we need Wilcox, cause he's one of the few somewhat reliable big guys on our squad and right now it looks like we'll need his offense, due to not having enough scorers on our team.
While we're throwing trade ideas out there, what about Nene? Denver's got a glut of bigs, and he's looked pretty solid at times (ok, and horribly injured at times too). But he is a PF that can defend, rebound, and score, and I'd be willing to bet he could tear Collison's arms off (and I like Collison) Wheezy and Petro (and maybe one of our numerous draft picks?) work in the fancy trade machine thing, assuming that Denver would trade him. What do you guys think?
So far in his career, I dislike Petro as a player on the floor. Sometime between now and midseason, some team with a high draft pick is going to need a center with some experience and they will remember that dingle recent summer game and give the Sonics more than a 2nd round pick.
Ridnour should be kept. He has more potential than Watson, especially with Ray Allen out, which offensively meant slowing the game down . The new Sonics squad is far quicker than last year and Luke should flourish. He is entering his 5th year, a time when most PGs finally get it together. Also, any defensive liablity on Luke's part is covered by the far greater height & quickness at the 2 guard with Ray gone and the Sonics will get much more defense out of the small forward position with Rashard gone.
Here's my trade proposal - very rough:
Wally + Wilcox + Wilkens + Watson + Petro +(if necessary) one or both of Sonics #1 picks next year in exchange for Kevin Garnett + other valuable player(s).
If not KG, then somehow package a number of our players for some other valuable player. Sonics need to end up with fewer players. Also, I do not think the Sonics can possibly trade Wally's $24 million salary unless he is packaged with other players.
I would be happy playing this season with the team we have, but teams win championships with upper-echelon players (like Ray Allen & Rashard)and the Sonics just traded away two of the best in NBA.
Gelabale has super potential - he could be Tayshaun Prince. Damien Wilkens should get near-zero minutes and be happy. Likewise with Delonte West. Watson should warm the bench as insurance against injury by West or Luke. West should be the 3rd guard, behind KD and LR and he should be 6th man of the year (unless Collison gets that honor).
Not sure if you were aware, but the Sonics drafted this kid out of Texas called Kevin Durant. Heard he might be pretty good someday ...
Sorry, that was overly sarcastic. You're right, great teams need great players (with the exception of the Pistons, I guess), but I think Kevin Durant is that guy for the Sonics, not Kevin Garnett.
I like the idea of landing KG. It wouldn't hurt to have KD playing next to KG. The star of today would have the back of the star of tomorrow. "Someday" is the key word, Nuss. Expecting this kid to handle the load on day one is a bit much, imo.
I think the Cassell trade is a more realistic idea, however.
KD is a rookie and has to run around the shower to get wet.
Garnett is a big man and plays like one.
I did say I am happy with the team as it is, except that there are too many good players who need to sit and get zero minutes.
I do not think Wally, Wilkens & Watson will be happy sitting. And all 3 can play SG where I have Durant & West penciled in, and those 2 need all the minutes they can get (West will also get some minutes at PG). The same jam exists at SF, where Green and Gelabale will need all the minutes they can get.
It looks like Sacramento will sign Sonics' free agent Mike Wilks, who I wanted to keep as insurance at PG. He could start, but he didn't whine when he sat. I wish Watson would shut-up, sit and be happy. But Watson was trouble for the coach & locker room last year, and it was bad for Ridnour too.
West is an upgrade over Watson in size, skill and upside potential. Playing time can't be split 3 ways at PG, so it is goodbye to Watson, hello West.
One more problem for the Sonics is that they have 3 2nd round and 2 1st round draft picks next year. There is no room for all these players. Ideally, the Sonics will make a big move to add one or two current or future stars in exchange for several draft picks and players. Alternatively, we should package several for a real high draft pick.
The problem is that all the smart teams are trying to do the same thing. Everyone wants to package a bunch of end-of-the-bench players for a star.
The best NBA teams essentially used 7 or 8 guys in the playoffs. It is better to have 8 top players than 14, unless the injury bug hits early & hard.
I totally agree with the argument that you can have too many good players. I don't think Presti is going to pursue someone like Kevin Garnett though - I really believe he is looking at this situation from the perspective of the team being competitive in 2 or 3 seasons, not right away. With the free agent class next summer being so lucrative, he's better off using Thomas' expiring contract and all of his draft picks and going for someone at that time (please, please, please, let it be Gilbert Arenas; how sweet would it be to team Agent Zero with Durant?).
Alright, a little more brain storming. Here are some more ideas. Whether they are good ideas...
Watson, Wilkins, Petro, 2008 2nd Round
This gives Denver some depth at SG/SF and at center while Watson allows them to have a point guard they can have on the floor when AI switches to play the two. Seattle gets a another young PF/C who fits in nicely when we lose Thomas next year. Very unlikely to happen.
Maggette, Aaron Williams
Watson, Wilkins, Petro
Now we are talking! This actually works well for both teams. Clippers get a PG with something actually left in the tank, a decent swingman to compliment Tim Thomas and a young center to back-up Kaman. The Sonics get what they need the most, a scorer from the 2 slot to take pressure off Durrant. Williams is done and his contract expires this year.
Cassell is an intriguing idea, and I've wondered if the Sonics might go after him b/c of his expiring contract.
Still, Sam I Am can be deadly if things aren't going well. How happy would he be to share minutes with Luke Ridnour? Especially when he's looking to get one more contract before he retires? I don't know if his negative vibes are a good fit for a young team like the Sonics. Plus, Cassell probably doesn't want to play for a team that has little or no shot at making the playoffs.
Like Denver, the Sonics are loaded at SG & SF. Durant and Green will need lots of minutes to develop, so there is no reason to upgrade those positions.
We really could use an upgrade at PF or C. If we can upgrade at center, the other team will be able to use Petro or Sene. Unfortunately, there are very few opportunities for a trade at the center position. Collison and Kurt Thomas (both about 6'9") can back up Swift okay, but Swift is a huge unknown, since he never played better than mediocre and had just an okay summer 2006 before being out for more than a year.
More likely, the Sonics can use a monster-type power forward upgrade over Wilcox, someone like Elton Brand or Kevin Garnett or Jermaine O'Neal. Nene is a possibility.
Cassell would make a great insurance policy bench warmer. He would not be happy getting zero minutes.
This next season needs to be a time to get playing time for a future nucleus. Right now, the nucleus is KD, Green, Wilcox, Swift, Collison, West and Ridnour. I hope Gelabable's development makes us add him to the list. Petro makes the list by default until he is traded.
I do not see the following as part of a long term nucleus: Kurt Thomas, Wally Sz, Damien Wilkens, Earl Watson, Petro or Sene.
I'd agree with that thought about the nucleus, with one caveat: I get the feeling the Sonics like Watson more than Ridnour now. Watson was mentioned by both Presti and Carlesimo this summer in conjunction with the "defense-first" mentality they appreciate, and I don't recall hearing Frodo's name once. Honestly, I'm not of a mind that one is a huge improvement over the other, so whoever they can get the most for in a trade would be fine with me.
Otherwise, the idea of seeing how Swift develops this year is a smart one. Likewise for Gelly, West, etc. It makes more sense to see what you've got on hand before going out and acquiring other pieces. If Swift turns into a 12-10-2 blocks type guy, which is possible, then he can be a valuable piece of the puzzle for the future.
Good lord, not Jermaine O'Neal. Don't get me wrong, he's good, but his contract is enormous. Is Brand a free agent next year? I really like his game, and he doesn't seem to need to have a team be his. That's why I like Nene, he's a banger down low, which (I think) the sonics could use to help give Durant a freer hand on the wing. Elton Brand would be awesome, but I don't think he's going to be available.
We should definitely deal watson before luke. Luke has way more potential, especially with our up-tempo-to-be offense.
We can't really afford to trade wilcox unless we get a decent big man in return. We need a big man who can put up points AND rebound, so otherwise we have to hang on to him for a year (and then presti can trade him...)
I agree that west should play the third gaurd spot, I think he'll be a fantastic asset coming off the bench and being able to play either point or SG, especially with his defense.
Really, we are filled up at every position except PF and C. We could maybe trade for a SG without clogging our roster too much, but i dont even know about that. Luke, West, Gelly, Green, and KD all need enough playing time to fill up the playing time for 1-3, especially with wally sitting on the bench. It remains to be seen if swift can play and take the 5 spot this year along with thomas, and as long as we have him we will need wilcox to score some points for us at the 4/5 spots. Plus Collison needs some playing time to develop.
The only thing that makes sense is a consolidation trade where we trade at least 3 players (including watson and petro, and hopefully wilkens too) for one and maybe a draft choice. I really do believe that Presti can pull off a great "our garbag... i mean depth... for your talent" deal, so i look forward to seeing what exactly it is.
Well, gotta love how quickly rosterbation posts can disintegrate into madness.
As Nuss said, I believe that the Sonics want to keep Watson and Collison. They need players to implement the defensive mentality and Watson is a much better defender than Ridnour.
Wilkens may get moved in a minor deal with Petro, however moving Ridnour will be very difficult because of his BYC status. It would require a multi-team deal. The Sonics missed their best chance to move him when they couldn't get the Atlanta pick.
I think the rest of the roster overhaul will likely occur next offseason when more teams have flexibility.
Sam has proven to be a very good wheeler dealer so far, so if he can come up with something, I'm all for it.
A good point re Ridnour and BYC. It's really too bad they couldn't get Atlanta to commit to the draft-deal for the draft pick. I'm uncomfortable thinking about another year of Watson/Ridnour, but you're right that it seems as though we're stuck with it for at least one season.
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