Sunday, May 25, 2008

NBA Offseason Preview - Seattle Supersonics

Seattle Supersonics
Record: 20-62
2008-2009 Payroll (Source: $48.4M

Draft Picks: #4, #24, #32, #46, #50, #56

While the Sonics were stinking up the courts across the country, one thing become certain as the season reached a close. This is Kevin Durant’s team. With a glut of mediocrity (in other words, the entire roster minus the aforementioned Durant and perhaps Jeff Green) shaped across the Sonics roster, it’s no wonder that they have little to no sense of team identity.

The Sonics are at least two years away from any real talk of the playoffs. Therefore, the goal this season is to get tougher and develop some level of consistency.
Burning Questions: The same question asked about Portland last year will be asked of Seattle this year. With six draft picks, what is the Sonics plan (beyond moving to Oklahoma City)? Also, when will they begin to shed the expiring contracts of veterans who do not figure to be a part of the Sonics' long-term plans? Though unvisited in this post, will the Sonics make a play for a free agent this season (the dumb thing to do) or wait at least another season for Kevin Durant and Jeff Green to mature?

Perceived Needs: C, PF, Backup PG

If I Were GM ... I’d be prepared to offload the likes Chris Wilcox, Robert Swift, Saer Sene, Donyell Marshall and Adrian Griffin who are in contract years (Sene has a team option in 2009-2010) in order to clear the books. Also, I would settle once and for all on who the point guard will be by trading either Luke Ridnour or Earl Watson. Combined, they make $12.7M, but do their statistics amount to that figure? Not unless they are members of the Knicks. With six selections in the draft and three in the top 32, the Sonics can address holes while developing players who are seasons away from the NBA. The Sonics may package one or more of their second-round picks in an effort to offload salaries.

With the 4th selection, the Sonics must hope that the Timberwolves do not married to the idea of drafting Brook Lopez, who would be a dynamic set for PJ Carlesimo. If the Wolves do, the Sonics hold a ticket back into the 1st round at pick #24 (and a quartet of second-round picks) which can facilitate a trade for the Stanford big man. If worse comes to absolute worst, then the Sonics have to evaluate a vital question followed by a corollary. First, they need to determine whether Jerryd Bayless or OJ Mayo are capable of transitioning to the point guard position. If not, the Sonics have to consider trading down in the 1st round for cash or future considerations.

Since the Sonics have only 12 players under contract going into the season and at least 3 who are in the final year of their contract are likely to be used as trade bait, it would not surprise me if as many as four draftees are on the opening night roster.

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