We have an opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap or the NBA draft? Drop us a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com.
Will the Pistons blow up their roster? — Sundeep Kothari, via Twitter
It all depends on the results. Detroit has just one playoff appearance during the current decade and needs to give fans a reason to keep coming to the team’s new home at Little Caesars Arena. The postseason is certainly within reach in a weakened Eastern Conference, and the Pistons will probably still be in the race when the trade deadline arrives in early February. If something goes terribly wrong, the first player on the trading block will be Andre Drummond, who is owed more than $52.5MM over the next two seasons and has a player option of more than $28.75MM for 2020/21. Next would be Reggie Jackson, who had a disappointing season while battling injuries last year and is owed more than $35.1MM over the next two seasons. Detroit isn’t projected to have any significant cap room until 2019/20, so there’s no way to blow up the team without moving those two.
Are the Suns the worst team in the NBA? — Dalai Llama, via Twitter
Anyone who watched their season opener against the Trail Blazers or Saturday’s rout by the Clippers could certainly reach that conclusion. Phoenix has chosen to rebuild with youth and the results aren’t going to be pretty, especially with so many good Western Conference teams on the schedule. The Suns might have as much talent as the Bulls, Hawks or Nets, but playing in the West will put them in the running for the league’s worst record. With Phoenix so far from contention, it makes sense to find the best possible deals for Eric Bledsoe, who has one year left on his contract at $15MM, Tyson Chandler, who is signed for one more season at $13.585MM, and Jared Dudley, who has another year left at $9.53MM. It’s time to fully embrace the rebuilding process and use those assets to create a brighter future.
What do the Wizards have to do to get a good seed and advance to Eastern Conference finals? — Swaggtastic Jackson, via Twitter
The season-ending injury to Celtics forward Gordon Hayward improved Washington’s chances. Boston and Cleveland both had massive roster overhauls this summer, while the Wizards kept their key pieces together. Markieff Morris is expected to return next month from abdominal surgery, which will put all of last year’s starting unit back in place. The bench remains unremarkable, however, and won’t be easy to improve with Washington already projected to be in tax territory for this season and the next two. The front office will have to be aggressive with trades between now and February for the Wizards to reach the top of the Eastern Conference.