Friday, July 3, 2009

Hangin' Out The Passenger Side

Orlando has already lost 50% of their ten-man Finals rotation: Battie, Alston, Lee, Turkoglu and Gortat will all be playing elsewhere next year. That leaves just Howard, Lewis, Nelson, Redick, and Pietrus (plus Anthony Johnson, who saw no floor time in the Finals). Other than the 2006 Miami Heat, I can't think of any past champions that radically switched their supporting cast in the previous summer. Now, Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson are fine additions, but that's still only eight players under contract, who comprise salaries of about $66 MM. The league minimum of players is 13. While there are plenty of bench-level free agents to be had, I wonder how many of them can be contributors to a championship team. Robert Swift? Brian Skinner?
UPDATE July 20th: I was wrong. I wish to amend my above post. Orlando re-signed Gortat, surprisingly. The loss of Alston is really not a dear blow, given that Orlando also has Tyronn Lue and Johnson on the bench to play PG. Orlando has also signed Brandon Bass and Matt Barnes as free agents. Both Bass and Barnes are good perimeter shooters, which fits with the team's current strategic model. This was actually a very good summer for Orlando, at least on paper. The loss of Turkoglu will hurt, but adding Vince Carter is spectacular.

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