In light of the recent trade for Raja Bell I was thinking, we have a tough choice to make in the off season. Kelenna Azebuike may become a free agent due to his player option and before the injury I was almost certain he was going to opt out but now that he has gotten injured he may go the safe route and pick up his option since teams may worry about his health. Especially with the big 2010 offseason coming up he may not get a whole lot of attention. Now that we have Bell and his expiring deal as well we may have to choose between who we want to keep. Then throw in Corey Maggette and we have three wings who are all quality players. Who should we keep?
Are you Azebuike's replacement or just an expiring deal?
Buike has been great here. he's a hard worker, great player, great guy and his story from Kentucky to the D league to being a great NBA player is incredible. But at the same time he is a player who can be replaced. Maybe not to the fan love affair since Buike started with us but Bell may be able to replace him. Bell may also be more of a leader but may not be as effective as a player as he used to be. Buike holds the key to which stays and which goes, if he picks up his deal Bell will almost certainly be out but if not Bell would most likely be resigned unless his wrist turns into a constant issue. Lets say Bell gets surgery and him and Buike are done for the year, where do we go from there? Which player would you prefer? Then you get into Maggette. To his credit he is very good at what he does, and has been playing well lately but his contract will continue to kill us as much as Jack's would have. But Maggs is a great guy, and seemingly is Monta's best friend on the team now. But every now and then he will completely kill the ball movement even though his minutes have been reduced to games around only 20 minutes a game. Now a trade that makes sense would be him for Kenny Thomas or a deal of him and Speedy for Brian Cardinal and Mark Blount. Case and point the only way to lose him would either be for another bad contract like what we got with Vlad or depending on the other team's needs expiring contracts. Since our draft pick will either be a power forward or a wing who can do multiple things (like Evan Turner) 2 of the 3 wings we now have here may need to leave to make room for the rookie since we already know he will most likely be a top talent in the lottery knowing us.
We already miss you
If we pull off the Kenny Thomas deal we all of a sudden have a good amount of expiring contracts, maybe enough to get someone. Not like Bosh or Wade but maybe Ray Allen, Joe Johnson , Rudy Gay etc. It would be tough to attract any of them but money is the most powerful negotiator. If you count Buike's potential expiring deal with the Thomas deal we end up with $25,860,448 in expirings. Were still above 22 mil if Buike decides to come back as well.
Stay or go?
So were left with a tough decision at the end of the year and maybe even the trade deadline on who should stay. Who'd you rather keep?