Adam (Eldridge): Chad, since Bosh to OKC doesn’t look like it will work, what are the chances David Lee goes there? Or do you see the Thunder not making any big moves this off season?
Chad Ford (1:38 PM): I’m not sure Thunder will spend their money … I hear they’re willing to take back a player with a contract in order to move up higher in the draft. If they can get Top 5, look for them to run toward DeMarcus Cousins. In top 10, Daniel Orton.
This makes for an interesting question: Is it better to play the free agent market and try and find the right player for the right price, or use that cap space to essentially draft another young, but talented guy and develop him? I honestly don’t know what’s better at this point. At first glance, you’d say get the veteran piece that helps you have a chance to win NEXT YEAR.
But then again, Sam Presti’s mindset is to build a core that grows together and at this point, despite the success of last season, Presti probably doesn’t intend to deviate from his initial plan. Plus, when you sign draft picks instead of big free agents, you give yourself a little more cap space flexibility (that dud player with a big expiring deal will be valuable to someone soon) and also, it’s a way to keep your payroll down a bit. It’s an interesting question. I do know that I’m beginning to fall for Daniel Orton a bit and with him moving up draft boards, he’s not going to be there at 21 most likely.
One scenario that’s been floated in this here blog’s comments is a deal with the Jazz that brings Andrei Kirilenko and his $17 million contract that expires at the end of 2011 in for Utah’s No. 9 overall pick. To me, if OKC is wanting to move up to at least get Orton, that’s a pretty perfect deal. Kirilenko doesn’t strap you for the long term. He’s a productive player that will fill a need behind Kevin Durant and won’t be a dead weight contract. And the Jazz might be interested because they need some relief because they (likely) want to re-sign Carlos Boozer and maybe Kyle Korver and need to shuffle some money around to do it. Remember how we got Eric Maynor? Yeah, that situation might pop up again.