Each year there are several NBA teams that sit in NBA mediocrity, either being on the edge of the Playoffs or at the back of the Draft Lottery. Frustrating for players and fans alike, these teams are best to offload assets and blow it up!
Michael Jordan is one of the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of Basketball shoes. But a great player does not always make a great owner. Charlotte are in salary cap hell and have no conceivable way of improving the team in the short team. Short-sighted trades and mammoth contracts for mediocre players have been the hallmark of Jordan’s ownership of the team.
Having only made the playoffs once in the last four years, management have been reluctant to push the rebuild button. This is probably because they have All-Star Kemba Walker on their books.
Rather than pair Walker with another all-star, Marvin Williams, Nicholas Batum, Cody Zeller and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were all paid like All-Stars. Though they are good role players, spending 65% of your cap on four-year deals for these guys was a terrible decision.
This year they are one game out of the Playoffs in the Eastern Conference. If they were to make the Playoffs they would likely be bounced in the first round. It gets worse for the Hornets as Walker is a free agent this year. He will demand a max salary which will go on top of the 102 million that the Hornets owe to their current players. Rather than pay the luxury tax for a team that can’t contend for a title they may be better to let Walker go. If they feel they have to pay Walker rather than lose him for nothing, then the best course of action would be to trade everyone else and rebuild through the Draft.
The Washington Wizards are having their worst season in recent memory, John Wall is out for at least 12 months while key players Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre have been traded away. With no cap space and only one fit star in Bradley Beal, Washington have no hope of improving their team in the short term.
Wall’s $170 million contract starts next year. Between him, Beal and Ian Mahinmi they are capped out with no way of signing free agents. Though they have their first-round picks moving forward they have given away their second-round picks for the next five years.
They could theoretically make the playoffs, but they are four games back from the eight seed so this is near impossible. It would be better for the team’s future if they looked forward to next year and work on improving their draft pick while also developing their young guys.
The Memphis Grizzlies have had one of the stranger seasons in recent memory. After starting the season twelve and five, only eleven more games were won till the All-Star break. Young rookie Jaren Jackson Jr was one of the shining lights through an up and down first 50 games.
Around the trade deadline, franchise cornerstones Marc Gasol and Mike Conley were both put on the trade block. Season ending injuries to Jackson, promising youngster Dillon Brooks and free agent acquisition Kyle Anderson killed any chances of Memphis making the playoffs. Unable to find a trade for Conley, Gasol was eventually traded to Toronto.
Though they have now won three of their last four it seems they have now embraced the tank. Trading away a lot of the pieces from previous years teams they have a small group of guys that they can now focus in the immediate future. Finding a home for franchise great Conley should be a priority for the offseason. They could also benefit from taking on bad money to get more picks and young assets.
New Orleans Pelicans
If the New Orleans Pelicans haven’t already blown it up, the time is right to push the reset button. Having never really been in the playoff race this year, Anthony Davis put the league on notice when he requested a trade. Having stupidly turned down a mega offer from the Lakers for superstar Davis, New Orleans now move into an uncertain off-season. Though they may have a strong offer round the corner from the Celtics, New Orleans should have looked to move Davis and others with the first strong offer that was received.
With plenty of expiring contracts and intriguing prospects on the books, NOLA should look to be sellers in the off-season. Through the last 20 games they can play their lottery picks from 2017 and 2018 to see who is worth investing in. Though Anthony Davis is as good as gone this off-season, its important they look to secure the future of the franchise.