Start of Summer Transaction Season
Rasheed & Villanueva Sweepstakes:
With the summer transaction season starting tonite, I'm most intrigued with what the top-tier teams will accomplish. Not much separates teams like the Cavs, Celts, Magic, Spurs, & the Lakers. All these teams look very formidable for '09-'10, but all these squads still have holes, particularly on the frontlines. (Though the defending champs can take care business by re-signing Odom & Ariza).
Cavs, Magic, and Spurs should be gunning hard for either Rasheed or Chuck Villanueva. A floor-spreading 4-man (or a Four-Spreader) is exactly what these teams need. Still think Sheed gives you more on the defensive end than Charlie, and since these teams are ready to win now, Sheed could be a better gamble for a 2-3 year deal. Acquiring Sheed or Villanueva could be the nudge each of these contenders need to separate from the pack.
Sheed or Charlie is exactly what the Cavs need to insert between Shaq & LeBron on their frontline. Varejao is now an unrestricted free agent, and even if Varejao is retained, the Cavs still need a face-up 4 to clear space.
Spurs need to add depth upfront. Imagine a finishing five of Parker, Manu, Jefferson, Sheed, & Timmy. Not just dangerous on offense, but pairing Sheed with Duncan defensively is a scary thought.
Boston has been rumored as another possible destination with Garnett pushing for Sheed. The Celts need more length on the backline and could be losing Leon Powe. But Sheed would have to be willing to come off the bench because K. Perkins has established himself as a quality starter.
With Hedo likely leaving Orlando, Rashard Lewis could be moved back to the 3 and Sheed/Villa inserted into the 4-spot. Thus, keeping the 4 out/1 in offensive set-up intact in Orlando, and their interior defense could possibly be more imposing.
Though the major issue with chasing after Sheed is: can you deal with extra-curricular crap he brings to the table?
I could see Sheed on the Cavs, Spurs, & Celts, but not so much in Orlando. Think he could be kept in check with Shaq & Bron around. Think he would respect Popovich & Duncan. Boston has KG to monitor Sheed. But keeping Sheed in line in Orlando is a big question mark. Just not feeling the pairing of Sheed with Stan Van Gundy.
Sheed's former teammate, Antonio McDyess could be a secondary option these title-contending clubs, as well. McDyess doesn't quite have the range of Sheed & Chuckie V, but is reliable from 17 feet, and a better rebounder than both of them.
Pistons & Ben Gordon:
Can't quite understand the rumors of Detroit's hot pursuit of Ben Gordon. Currently, Detroit has no starting quality bigs on their roster while their backcourt situation ain't that bad.
And where is Gordon gonna fit? You shouldn't throw around $10 mil per at Gordon to be a sixth man. You recently extended the contract of Hamilton and I don't think moving Rip to the bench is the answer. Rip made no secret about his displeasure of reserve duty earlier this year. Not understanding the logic behind this rumor unless Dumars is in the process of dealing Hamilton.
If I'm Dumars, my main focus would be on Paul Millsap before Gordon. With the news of Boozer & Okur staying put, Utah will be hard-pressed to retain Millsap. Millsap would give you a young starting-caliber 4, what's not to like. Also, check out if Marcin Gortat wants to fill out the gaping hole at center.
Detroit could have some competition for Millsap. Have to imagine Memphis will go hard at Millsap, especially if Villaneuva is scooped up by the Cavs. The Grizzlies' biggest need is an athletic power forward.
Orlando's frontcourt contingency plan:
If Orlando loses Gortat (which looks highly likely) and can't get their hands on Sheed or Villaneuva, they should try encouraging Spain's Fran Vazquez (Euroleague #1 shot-blocker) to come to the States.
Not positive of Vazquez's current contract situation, but if a reasonable buyout can be reached, Vazquez is an underrated option for Orlando. Like Gortat, Vazquez is a good athlete who's a good rebounder & defender. Like Gortat. Vazquez's offense is pretty much limited to finishing well off rolls or cuts. Though, Vazquez might have trouble guarding some centers because he does not have the heft of Gortat. Vazquez could come close to replacing Gortat's production at a cheaper rate.