As we continue through the pre-draft phase of the off-season, let’s take a look at the roster under contract for the upcoming season.
Wilkins (assuming he will take his option)
That’s a total of 13, not including who the Sonics stumble across in the second round (and with four picks, there will be plenty of people to stumble across). Now, let’s eliminate a couple of players, just purely on speculation.
Luke Ridnour: I feel that it is very likely that Ridnour will be dealt this summer. It’s clear he doesn’t fit into the team’s long-range plans and he still has value in the league, although his contract is not exactly commensurate with that talent.
Earl Watson: Watson seems to be on the good side of the Sonic management, and his production this year was definitely improved over previous seasons. EW posted career-best marks in field goals made, FG%, FT%, and 2nd-best numbers in 3-point percentage, true shooting %, turnover %, assists/36, and points/36. Looking closer at the numbers, though, and it becomes readily apparent that Earl sacrificed defensive effectiveness for offensive productivity. He put up the 2nd-best offensive rating of his career this season, but balanced that with his worst-ever defensive rating. Still, only nine players (Nash, Paul, D Williams, Kidd, Calderon, Ford, and Jamaal Tinsley) posted better assists/36 minutes in the entire league last year, and that came on a team with absolutely no outside shooting. If I’m the Sonics I’m hoping Derrick Rose falls into my lap so Watson can come off the bench.
Chris Wilcox: Many suspect Wilcox will be traded this summer, but I think the wise move would be to wait until next February. While Big Weezy has been more inconsistent than not, he knows a big paycheck could be waiting for him he puts forth the effort over the next twelve months. Combine his soon-to-be-expiring contract with his ability to post numbers like 18 points/8 boards/2 flashy dunks, Wilcox could fetch something much nicer in return next winter than he will this summer.
Johan Petro: Another likely to be dealt, if only for his continuing ability to be 7’ tall. He showed some signs of life after the Kurt Thomas trade, but I can’t imagine Sam Presti envisages the Sonics utilizing JoPet too much in the next few years.
Mo Sene: Sadly, it’s possible the entire ’08-’09 season will be a write-off for Sene due to injury.
So, for argument’s sake, let’s say the Sonics are able to deal away Petro and Ridnour, perhaps in combination with one or two second-round picks, returning them an awful contract, or a surplus big man on another roster (or both!). That leaves us with 13 players minus 3 (including Sene here) plus 1 (the returning player), for a total of 11 roster members. If you add in two players from the second round, that makes 13 roster members.
Let’s say the Sonics take Rose at #2 and an off guard at #24, now your depth chart looks something like this:
PG: Rose, Watson
SG: Pick #24, Wilkins
SF: Durant, Green, Griffin
PF: Wilcox, Marshall
C: Collison, Mystery Contract
You have some flexibility with the 2/3/4 positions, but there is clearly a void at center (sound familiar, Sonic fans?). So much of a void that it might make sense for the Sonics to explore a big man with their multiple second-rounders, if not their 2nd pick in the first round.
In articles to come, we’ll start looking at possible veteran free agents the Sonics might pursue this off-season, but this at least gives us a road map for the year to come. Feel free to chime in with where/how I went wrong in the comments.
The early termination option in Damien Wilkins' deal can't be exercised until after next season, so he's definitely under contract at this moment in time. Adrian Griffin, moreover, has a non-guaranteed salary for next season; consequently, he'll most likely be waived sometime this summer.
Anyhow, I disagree with you about Johan Petro. In the meantime, Petro's a cheap, cost-effective backup at power forward -- especially considering that his closest comparison, Mark Blount, is earning a sizable salary with the Miami Heat -- therefore, it's probable that he'll stick with the team through next season.
On anoter note, Mouhamed Sene must be finally finished here.
The team option in Sene's contract for the 2009-2010 season shouldn't be exercised under any circumstances; plus, the dude should be released prior to next season, since he's useless to the Seattle SuperSonics -- which was the case even before his knee injury -- and would just waste roster space by being on the team.
Dammit, it's time for those of whom who figuratively fellated Sene for the past two years to concede that the giant, gangly stiff is a downright bust—and that's that!
I was going by the HoopsHype salary information, where it looks as though Griffin's contract for next season is guaranteed. It's not a big deal either way, although it would be nicer if they could waive him without any penalty.
As for Petro, do we really need a backup PF, considering the Sonics already have Collison and Wilcox, and Jeff Green figures to get more time there as well next year? I'd say that if the Sonics deal Wilcox this summer, they should keep Petro, but if they keep Big Weezy, they should deal Petro.
I'll back up AK on the Griffin contract; pretty sure I read somewhere that his deal for next year is non-guaranteed.
Even if Chris Wilcox isn't traded this summer, I still expect Johan Petro to be with the Seattle SuperSonics come next season.
Luke "The Golden Boy" Ridnour, however, is currently the only player who's probably being actively shopped by Sam Presti, even though the Minnesota Timberwolves and the New York Knicks are the only two teams that I can envision wanting him.
At this point, I'd just be glad if Ridnour was dealt for some scrub who's got an expiring contract (e.g., Malik Rose). This whole failed experience could then be written off as a loss.
To me, the main reason for trading Petro is just for roster space; if the Sonics can pair him with Ridnour in a 2-for-1, that frees up another spot for one of their 2nd-round picks. I don't think having/not having Petro is going to make a big difference in the number of games the Sonics win next season.
Sonics mini-camp notes
Calloway had a very good all-around season in NBDL, on ethe 5th best ever on PER.
Lyde is NBDL career leader in games & minutes, 2nd in rebounds, 4th in points. 1st in blocks. Had a strong 06-07 campaign. 07-08 was pretty average.
Dahntay Jones has improved his shot and might alright for a final wing spot if they need one.
The first 2 are longshots.
Calloway at 6-3 175 is a nice size. Don't know how fast but being light I'd think he might be. 25. 40% from 3 pt. Went for about 20 pts 6 assists, 6 rebs a game down there.
Seems like a good pick to give a summer league run and check out.
If the Sonics take another damn "project center" in this draft, I'm going to scream.
Draftexpress writeups suggest very few good defenders in first round (Rose, Westbrook, Hibbert, Mayo, Douglas-Roberts, who else?). If good defense is going to be a key part of team identity need to make that a priority in the draft, moving to where you need to be for those few guys and / or get defenders - who are not offensive liabilities- via trade, free agency or possibly in 2nd round.
I forgot the Lopez twins.
Presti better get at least one already good defender out of first round. Better than Green.
In second round Weaver and DJ White seem like good candidates.
AK1984, did you get banned from Sonicscentral? Haven't seen you post there in awhile.
Earl Calloway seems to be an interesting player. I liken him to be a Carl Elliot type point guard, good size, athleticism, can defend, distributor, had him on my 2nd round radar while he was at Indiana. He could be on a summer league team, and would be a good candidate should he play well over in Vegas. Intriguing player to conisder, and still relatively young. Worse case scenario, could be like Walker Russell Jr., but even he was a decent, run the summer league team point guard. I think Calloway would be a candidate for the summer leagues.
Thanks for the insight.
PGs can take awhile.
Wonder what the scouts said Calloway lacked and if he is over the hump.
wooohooo....OKLAHOMA..... i cant wait until they get here to a city that accually wants the team in it
You are probably waiting for 2 years.
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