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.