It's been a heck of an offseason thus far, and I mean that in the worst way possible. Since Stephenson is off the market we have about 3 choices: 1) Look to sign depth (most likely scenario but I can't see how any one would be happy with that) 2) Explore any and every trade angle (what I'm going to cover and what I think we should do) 3) throw money at an RFA and try to work out a sign and trade (possible but not highly likely). With the deals we're signing, it's fairly obvious that we're gearing up for 2016 so I'll keep that in mind in suggestions. Also, we have holes at point guard and power forward, so my list will be primarily targeted at those positions. I won't look up statistics, so feel free to rip any and all of my suggestions, I encourage it actually, because I learn a little something about players that I may not see all that much. Without further adieu:
The "You REALLY Want but Probably Can't Have" List:
Goran Dragic: My #1, I hope Daryl is on the phone with PHX right now trade target. He has two years at 7.5 with a player option on the 2nd year, so effectively he's a one year deal. With the way the market shook out, that number is a STEAL (makes that Lin signing look even worse in retrospect). Since the deal is effectively a one year deal, there is no way to know what PHX will do with Dragic going forward. Is being an up and coming, fun, scrappy team with no hope of a championship worth it going into the year? Chances are that Dragic isn't in their long term plans with Ennis and Thomas in the fold so would they cash out on Goran now? If they initiated trade conversations, what would the going rate be? There are just so many "ifs" in this scenario that I'm not sure they'd be bold enough to trade him (I think Daryl would in their shoes, but I genuinely don't know) so file this under "pipe dream" for now.
Paul Millsap: The guy we've all wanted for a while (he still has that Utah stink on him, but it could be forgiven). Basically "Chris Bosh lite" as far as what we'd want in a power forward. An expiring deal, like Dragic. Atlanta is in a similar situation as PHX. Atlanta is the poster boy for teams that aren't good enough to win it all but aren't bad enough to get a high pick and Ferry learned this year that he can't even get in the discussion on high level free agents so maybe he values the Pelicans' pick highly enough to engage us, I just wouldn't bank on it. Similar question that PHX is posing to itself though, how valuable is being good vs taking a gamble and being great. Another "pipe dream" but still in the realm of possibility.
The "Guys You Can Have, but Do You Want Them" list
Rajon Rondo: This pairing has seemed destined for a while but it doesn't happen. No one loves hit fit in our offense (though I think a better coach could make it work, but that's a different discussion) but he does give you Patrick Beverley level defense when healthy and has great court vision. Another expiring and I'm fairly certain that he won't ride with Boston through a rebuild, so this pair is destined for a split and unlike the other GM's we know Ainge will deal for assets. I think this has a better than 50% chance of happening simply because it presents the appearance of contending for this year while maintaining cap flexibility. He's my second most likely target.
Ersan Ilyasova: Decent fit for our offense but he gives you nothing defensively. 2 years and a team option on his 3rd isn't BAD but it makes him not your most flippable commodity. He's really the eastern conference's Ryan Anderson and he could, hypothetically, be a good fit next to Dwight, but his injury history and defensive issues make me leery. Another deal that we could make without much effort and he probably wouldn't cost you much at all, so I'd keep my eye out. (MIL sidenote: I'd also keep my eye one Henson. Good defender, cheap cap hit, and QO that 3rd year, which we could decline).
The "Makes Too Much Sense Not To" List (of one)
Thaddeus Young: The league's most obvious "tanking for assets" team has one veteran contributor left and it's this young man. Thad is still relatively young, has a good mid range game, and is a little bit better than TJ on defense. He's more experienced so HOPEFULLY he wouldn't take it on the chin from guys like LMA without a fight, even though he is still a bit undersized. We know that Hinkie wants assets and would entertain offers for any player on his team and Thad has 2 years at about 9.5 (player option 2nd year) per so it works with our timeline. He's not so entrenched that I think he'd demand to start, so if TJ comes to training camp and is lighting it up, Thad provides quality depth and can he give you minutes at the 3 in a pinch (stats seem to say TJ is a better player, hence the caveat (I know I wasn't going to look at stats initially but I got curious)). I think the odds of this happening should be off the charts... which probably means it won't even be discussed.
TJ's advanced stats from last year (per basketball reference)
Thad's advanced stats from 12-13 (the last year PHI bothered fielding a bball team)