Editor's Note: Front-paged. Let us know what you think of these plans! - LJ
1. Draft a C or PG
We probably won't have a starter caliber player in mid-first round right off the bat, so we'll need to be looking for the long term and still sign starters for the position we draft. Luckily for us, there should be multiple quality Cs (Kelly Olynyk, Rudy Gobert, Alex Len, Mason Plumlee, Isaiah Austin, Gorgui Dieng) and several PGs (Michael Carter-Williams, C.J. McCollum) potentially available. It's not a high quality draft, but it is a big draft, with a bunch of solid 7-footers coming out.
2. Find a starting caliber PG (assuming no CP3)
Jarrett Jack and Eric Bledsoe are starter-caliber PGs that have been coming off the bench behind stars. Calderon, Billups and Teague are also worth looking into (Teague is restricted, but might be worth a bid). NO BRANDON JENNINGS. PLEASE.
3. Extend a QO Collison
We all have our beefs with Collison's decisionmaking, but he'd be a high-quality bench sparkplug and, worst-case scenario, a decent temporary starter. His next salary is only $3.3m, so maybe we luck out and nobody bids much more than that. Otherwise, let him walk.
4. If Mayo does not opt out, great. If Mayo opts out and wants more than $20m/3yr, let him walk and find someone else.
Mayo would be a great bench SG, but he has been unreliable in the clutch, has not jived well with Dirk and his production has gone from brilliant/MIP quality to utterly mediocre. I'd prefer a player like Tony Allen. Tyreke Evans would be worth an RFA bid for. J.R. Smith would also be worth a look and probably be cheaper than Mayo, though he's a gamble on court and in the locker room.
5. Keep Marion unless a great deal appears from a team willing to trade a quality asset to shed salary or something.
Marion is still one of the best bang-for-your-buck SFs in the game. His efficiency is in line with many players making $2-8m more than him. And he'll expire at the end of the year, so we'll still be able to compete in 2014 free agency or use him as a trade asset at the deadline. He's a better deal than trading him so we can pay Josh Smith a max contract (unless that is what is required to sign Dwight... if the math would add up.)
6. Find a C with great defensive and rebounding skills that will complement Dirk's game. (Assuming no D12)
Dalembert, Splitter, Okafor and Pekovic would all be quality Cs that fit this standard for better or worse. If Brand will come back for cheap, he'd make a great bench 5. I'd also see if Greg Oden is healthy again and consider rolling those dice.
6. Re-sign Brandan Wright for 5 years, $20m
He should be our primary backup PF from here on out. He is also insurance in case Dirk goes down with more injuries, as is unfortunately likely at his age. At $4m a year, with his production, he'd be a quality trade asset.
Possible Starting Lineup #1: Jarrett Jack, Tyreke Evans, Marion, Dirk, Sam Dalembert
Possible Starting Lineup #2: Jose Calderon, Tony Allen (would offset Calderon's bad D), Marion, Dirk, Tiago Splitter
Possible Starting Lineup #3: Chauncey Billups, J.R. Smith, Marion, Dirk, Nikola Pekovic
Bench: Collison, Carter, Crowder, Wright, Sarge, rookie C