Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What would a modern NBA Expansion Team look like?

In 2004, the Charlotte Bobcats became the first NBA expansion team in almost 10 years, when the NBA opened its doors to Canada with the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies.  Since then, there has been mixed talk on whether the NBA should ever expand again, or if in fact, it should contract.  

Just for fun, I thought it would be cool to see what an expansion team might look like in today's NBA, a team that would be starting in the NBA for the 2011-12 season.  I've contacted team bloggers to act as their team's General Manager, and decide who they should/should not protect from the Expansion team, which shall henceforth be called the Centralia Hagfish (Copyright Mark Deeks,

First off, the rules.  I'll be trying to focus on the basic rules the NBA used when the Bobcats came into the league:

  • The Hagfish must select a minimum of 14 players who are under contract or are restricted free agents for the 2011-12 season.
  • The Hagfish may select no more than one player from each team.
  • The Hagfish can only select players that are unprotected by their team.
  • Each of the 30 NBA teams may protect a maximum of 8 players on its roster who are under contract or are restricted free agents at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season.
  • Each of the 30 NBA teams must designate at least one player on its roster to be eligible for selection by the Hagfish, even if the team does not have 8 players under contract or as restricted free agents for the 2011-12 season.
  • All players under contract selected by the Hagfish will be immediately placed on the Hagfish roster.
  • Any eligible restricted free agent selected by the Hagfish shall immediately become an unrestricted free agent.
  • Unrestricted Free Agents are not eligible to be protected or selected.
  • The Hagfish can engage in pre-Expansion Draft trades involving draft picks and players in which Centralia agrees to select or not select certain unprotected players in return.  (Note: This is the hardest part of this exercise to simulate.  For example, in the Bobcats expansion draft, they were given the 4th pick, and traded that to the Los Angeles Clippers for the 2nd pick, on the condition that the Bobcats would select Predrag Drobnjak)
  • The Hagfish can select players in the Expansion draft without regards to the Salary Cap.
  • When the Hagfish select a restricted free agent, they can use the same exceptions (Bird, Early Bird, Non-Bird) that their previous team would've been able to use.  They don't, however, have the right to match offers as the player(s) have become unrestricted free agents due to their selection in the expansion draft.
  • If a team over the salary cap loses a player that was under contract for the 2011-12 season, they will get a trade exception.
  • The Hagfish will not participate in the NBA lottery and will be given the 4th pick in the first and second rounds of the 2011 NBA Draft.
  • A team will not be permitted to re-acquire a player it lost in the Expansion draft for one year, unless the player is waived and not claimed by any other team.
So now that we know the rules, lets take a look at who the Hagfish can and can't pick after the jump.

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics: Chuck McKenneyRed's Army
Protected: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Nate Robinson, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal
Unprotected: Semih Erden, Luke Harangody
Chuck writes that if the Celtics meet current expectations (Eastern Conference Finals or better), they'll probably want to keep that main group, but if they don't, they might opt to dangle some of the bigger contracts like Robinson or Jermaine O'Neal.  He also thinks that its possible Danny Ainge would leave Kevin Garnett unprotected, as Garnett's salary and age are big detriments to his chances on being picked by the Hagfish.

Toronto Raptors: Scott, Raptors Republic
Protected: Andrea Bargnani, DeMar Derozan, Linas Kleiza, Amir Johnson, Ed Davis, Jarrett Jack, Solomon Alabi, David Andersen
Unprotected: Amir Johnson, Julian Wright, Jose Calderon
Scott doesn't feel that Julian Wright has much of a future with the Raptors, who already have a much better athletic wing in DeMar Derozan.  He also feels that the Raptors overpaid for Amir Johnson this summer and as such would leave him unprotected.  As for Calderon, Scott wants to be rid of the injuries, lack of defense, and contractual obligations, especially with Jarrett Jack being a much better option at the moment.

New York Knicks: Seth Rosenthal, Posting and Toasting
Protected: Amar'e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Ronny Turiaf, Timofey Mozgov, Anthony Randolph, Wilson Chandler, Toney Douglas
Unprotected: Bill Walker, Landry Fields, Andy Rautins, Patrick Ewing Jr.
Seth protected the most important Knicks, and although he thought about protecting Walker instead of Chandler for financial reasons, he thought Chandler was a better asset.

Philadelphia 76ers: Jordan Sams, Liberty Ballers
Protected: Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Mareese Speights, Jodie Meeks
Unprotected: Elton Brand, Jason Smith, Andres Nocioni
Jordan didn't offer an explanation, but its easy to see what he did.  Brand and Nocioni are the worst contracts on the team (Brand's being one of the worst in the NBA), so losing them would be cause to rejoice.  Smith will be a Restricted Free Agent, and hasn't really made an impact in the NBA.

New Jersey Nets: Devin Kharpertian, Nets are Scorching
Protected: Brook Lopez, Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow, Devin Harris, Terrence Williams, Jordan Farmar, Damion James, Travis Outlaw
Unprotected: Johan Petro, Brian Zoubek, Ben Uzoh
Devin had an easy job deciding who to protect.  Other than Farmar, all the guys listed are either part of the future or a valuable asset for the Nets to have.  Petro, Zoubek and Uzoh were all signed for roster depth and don't really have too much upside.

Central Division

Cleveland Cavaliers: John Krolik, Cavs the Blog
Protected: JJ Hickson, Ramon Sessions, Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao, Daniel Gibson, Christian Eyenga, Danny Green
Unprotected: Ryan Hollins, Joey Graham
John didn't explain, so let me take a gander.  Hollins and Graham are both players that'd be easily replaceable if they left.  Plus, they're both not that attractive as trade chips, so its not worth protecting them over other players.

Milwaukee Bucks: Frank Madden, Brew Hoop
Protected: Andrew Bogut, Brandon Jennings, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders, Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Carlos Delfino, Darington Hobson, Jon Brockman
Unprotected: John Salmons, Drew Gooden, Corey Maggette, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Keyon Dooling
Two no-brainers (Bogut/Jennings) and three easy choices (Ilyasova, Sanders, Mbah A Moute) for Frank.  His real decision came for deciding between protecting the young, cheap prospects or the highly paid veterans.  He feels that the Bucks will come to regret spending so lavishly this offseason, and might want to dump one of those contracts, and since they can only lose one player, he might as well leave all 3 of the signings from this summer unprotected.  Delfino is on a cheap contract and is a contributor, so he's protected as well.  Brockman gets in for his rebounding, and Hobson gets in over CDR because CDR will be a Restricted Free Agent and has yet to make a consistent impact in the NBA.

Chicago Bulls: Mark Deeks, ShamSports
Protected: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Taj Gibson, Ronnie Brewer, Luol Deng, Omer Asik
Unprotected: C.J. Watson, Keith Bogans, James Johnson
I took Mark's explanation e-mail, copied it into Word, and it came out to 3 pages in 12 point font. Single spaced.  All joking aside, Mark really wants me to know that the Hagfish can have Keith Bogans if they want.  James Johnson is a rookie with a lot of talent, but he hasn't yet figured out how to apply that talent.  Mark points out that C.J. Watson is a nice backup point guard, but on a team featuring Derrick Rose, the backup point guard isn't too important.  Mark considered that Deng's contract might be unappealing to the Hagfish, and thus he could've protected one of Watson or Johnson, but he feels (rightfully so) that Deng is a very good player, and also probably the Bulls best trade chip.  He also thinks Asik is the better prospect for the Bulls to take a chance on over Johnson.

Indiana Pacers: Tom Lewis, Indy Cornrows
Protected: Danny Granger, Paul George, Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough, Darren Collison, AJ Price, Brandon Rush, Lance Stephenson
Unprotected: James Posey, Dahntay Jones
The Pacers are building for the future, which is why Posey and Jones have been left unprotected by Tom.  Neither of these players could be considered part of the future foundation of the team.

Detroit Pistons: Steve Kays, Detroit Basketball
Protected: Will Bynum, Rodney Stuckey, Austin Daye, Greg Monroe, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Jonas Jerebko, Ben Wallace
Unprotected: Jason Maxiell, Rip Hamilton, Dajuan Summers, Terrico White
Bynum, Stuckey, Daye, and Monroe were the easy choices for Steve as the Pistons are in rebuilding mode.  Villanueva and Gordon were the next, because even though they had disappointing Pistons premieres last year, they have shown they can be impact players in this league.  Wallace makes the list for big man depth while Monroe learns the NBA ropes, and also because Steve feels he should retire a Piston, not for some expansion team called the Hagfish.  Hamilton's contract, age, and injury history are becoming concerns though, and since his replacement in Gordon is already on board, he wouldn't mind seeing him go.  Maxiell is replaceable, and Summer and White aren't as important as the other Pistons young players.

Southeast Division

Orlando Magic: Evan Dunlap, Orlando Pinstriped Post
Protected: Dwight Howard, Ryan Anderson, JJ Redick, Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, Mickael Pietrus, Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat
Unprotected: Brandon Bass, Chris Duhon, Quentin Richardson, Daniel Orton, Stanley Robinson
Evan's method was to decide who was definitely not expendable, and who was definitely expendable.  Howard, Anderson, Redick, Nelson and Lewis fell into the former category, while Orton and Robinson fell into the latter.  The easiest call for him of the remainder was Vince Carter, who can still be a force and is a partially expiring contract thanks to his partially guaranteed deal.  Next came Gortat, who is a good value and perhaps the Magic's best trade chip.  The final choice for Evan was Pietrus, who is the teams best wing defender, and for a playoff team, that's a necessary skill.  He also feels that Duhon and Richardson are unlikely to be picked in the Draft due to their age and contracts.

Miami Heat: David Dwork, Peninsula is Mightier
Protected: Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, Da'Sean Butler, Eddie House 
Unprotected: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, James Jones, Mario Chalmers, Patrick Beverley
Six of these selections were completely obvious for David: The Miami Thrice, Mike Miller,  Haslem and Anthony.  Those guys are the future going forward.  He also opted to protect Butler because he thinks his skillset will fit well within the team, and he picked Eddie House over Mario Chalmers because House's outside shooting better fits in with this Heat team.

Washington Wizards: Mike Prada, Bullets Forever
Protected: John Wall, Javale McGee, Andray Blatche, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, Yi Jianlian, Al Thornton, Nick Young
Unprotected: Gilbert Arenas, Kirk Hinrich
Mike leaves Gilbert off because of his huge contract.  Its a similar situation for Hinrich, as the Wizards are rebuilding, and Hinrich doesn't look to be part of the future foundation.

Atlanta Hawks: Kris Willis, Peachtree Hoops
Protected: Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford, Marvin Williams, Jeff Teague, Zaza Pachulia, Jordan Crawford
Unprotected: Mike Bibby
Bibby is the easy choice for Kris, as he's become a defensive sieve, and the team should be really hoping that Jeff Teague shows he can be the starter this year.  Even if he doesn't, the team will still be looking for an answer at the Point Guard, and Bibby is no longer the solution.

Charlotte Bobcats: Brett Hainline, Queen City Hoops
Protected: Gerald Wallace, Tyrus Thomas, DJ Augustin, Shaun Livingston, Sherron Collins, Boris Diaw, Gerald Henderson, Derrick Brown 
Unprotected: Stephen Jackson, Matt Carroll, Desagna Diop, Eduardo Najera
Brett definitely would like the Hagfish to take any of these players, but especially Diop or Jackson, as they have expensive contracts and are getting older.  As for Carroll and Najera, they're not really considered assets like the guys on the protected list.

Southwest Division

Dallas Mavericks: Rob Mahoney, The Two Man Game
Protected: Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Rodrigue Beaubois, Shawn Marion, Brendan Haywood, Jason Terry, Dominique Jones, Ian Mahinimi
Unprotected: Alexis Ajinca
The Mavericks are perennially trying to have the pieces to contend for a title, so that was how Rob viewed his selections.  The only tough choice was between Mahinimi or Ajinca, and Rob decided that Mahinimi would be more of a contributor than Ajinca, who has yet to make a meaningful impact in two seasons.

San Antonio Spurs: Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell
Protected: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter, DaJuan Blair, George Hill, James Anderson, Richard Jefferson, Alonzo Gee
Unprotected: Matt Bonner, Curtis Jerrells, Gary Neal, Garrett Temple
Andrew wants to ensure that the Spurs can remain competitive now and for the future, so that is the logic behind his picks.  Jefferson has a lengthy contract, but its at a position the Spurs don't have much depth at.  He also mentions that if Tony Parker received an extension, he'd bump Gee off the list.  But since he hasn't yet, Andrew prefers Gee's promise to that of Temple's.

Houston Rockets: Assorted Readers, The Dream Shake
Protected: Chase Budinger, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry, Jordan Hill, Aaron Brooks, Patrick Patterson, Courtney Lee 
Unprotected: Brad Miller, Jermaine Taylor
I deduced who Houston would protect on my own, and then confirmed with several readers on the Houston Rockets Blog, the Dream Shake.  The basic premise is that the Rockets would want to keep all their assets.  Miller is Yao insurance, but losing him wouldn't hurt too bad, because if they lose Yao again anyway, they're going to want to have these young players.  Taylor is the least valuable young player and so is unprotected.

Memphis Grizzlies: Allen Law, Straight Outta Vancouver
Protected: Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, Hasheem Thabeet, OJ Mayo, Mike Conley, Sam Young, Xavier Henry, Tony Allen
Unprotected: Hamed Haddadi, Darrell Arthur, DeMare Carroll, Greivis Vasquez
For this exercise we assumed that the Grizzlies had ended their standoff with Xavier Henry and Greivis Vasquez and signed them to rookie deals.  Rudy, Marc and Mayo were locks for Allen to protect.  Then he opted to protect his most valuable young players, leaving a few for the unprotected list.
New Orleans Hornets: Rohan, At the Hive
Protected: Chris Paul, David West, Emeka Okafor, Marcus Thornton, Trevor Ariza, Quincy Pondexter, Craig Brackins, Marco Belinelli
Unprotected: Aaron Gray
Rohan didn't explain, but the choice was either between Belinelli or Gray.  Belinelli was the better talent, although losing him would provide some financial relief for a cash strapped franchise.

Northwest Division

Utah Jazz: Basketball John, SLC Dunk
Protected: Deron Williams, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Gordon Hayward, CJ Miles, Raja Bell, Mehmet Okur, Sundaita Gaines 
Unprotected: Othyus Jeffers, Francisco Elson, Jeremy Evans
John wants to protect the core of his team, and none of the players left unprotected would really impact the team if selected.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Royce Young, Daily Thunder
Protected: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, Serge Ibaka, James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Thabo Sefolosha, Eric Maynor
Unprotected: Daequan Cook, B.J. Mullens, Royal Ivey, D.J. White
Royce didn't explain his picks, but he didn't really have to.  All 8 of the guys in the protected list are guys you don't simply want to lose, while the guys on the unprotected list you wouldn't lose any sleep over.

Portland Trailblazers: Ben Golliver, Blazers Edge
Protected: Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden, Nicolas Batum, Jerryd Bayless, Wesley Matthews, Andre Miller, Marcus Camby
Unprotected: Luke Babbitt, Elliott Williams, Rudy Fernandez, Dante Cunningham, Armon Johnson, Jeff Pendergraph
According to Ben, the Blazers are in win now mode, so Veterans stay while youth goes.  The 8 protected guys look to be the 8 players who soak up the most minutes for the Blazers the next couple years.  The only player on the protected list that Ben might consider leaving unprotected is Andre Miller, given his age, salary and uncertain fit.  The toughest player for him to leave unprotected was Dante Cunningham, an emerging talent on a cap friendly deal.  He also mentions that the vast majority of Blazers fans would be thrilled if the Hagfish took Moody Fernandez off their hands.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Zach Harper,
Protected: Kevin Love, Jonny Flynn, Wesley Johnson, Nikola Pekovic, Michael Beasley, Wayne Ellington, Corey Brewer, Martell Webster
Unprotected: Darko Milicic, Kosta Koufos, Luke Ridnour, Lazar Hayward, Anthony Tolliver
The easiest person to offer up to the Hagfish for Zach is Luke Ridnour, as his contract would be superflous when/if Ricky Rubio comes over.  He also thinks that Tolliver and Milicic can be nice pieces, but doesn't like the length of their contracts.  Koufos regressed in his sophomore year, and he might not even get much more time in Minnesota.  Hayward was the tough choice, but Zach feels Webster is better suited to the team as a mentor to Wes, Corey, and Wayne.

Denver Nuggets: Jeremy Wagner, Roundball Mining Co.
Protected: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Ty Lawson, Nene Hilario, Chris Andersen, Arron Afflalo, Renaldo Balkman
Unprotected: Al Harrington
The Nuggets had to leave one player unprotected, and Jeremy offered up Al Harrington as the player with the worst contract.  He wants the Nuggets to be in a position of financial flexibility, especially as it looks like they might have a rebuilding project on their hands depending on what happens with Carmelo.  As such, he's willing to offer a future first rounder to the Hagfish to take Harrington as long as it has protections that start from lottery protected in 2011 to top 3 protected in 2014.  The pick would be unprotected after that.

Pacific Division

Los Angeles Lakers: Rey Moralde, The No-Look Pass
Protected: Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher, Steve Blake, Shannon Brown
Unprotected: Luke Walton, Matt Barnes, Devin Ebanks, Derrick Caracter
The Lakers are in Win-Now mode.  Anyone who isn't essential to that was left off the list.

Los Angeles Clippers: Peter Kim, The No-Look Pass
Protected: Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman, Eric Bledsoe, Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes
Unprotected: Baron Davis, Willie Warren, Marqus Blakely
Peter feels that in Davis's two seasons with the Clippers, he has been a major disappointment and leaving him unprotected is the way to go, with the added bonus of giving the Clippers more flexibility if he's taken in the draft. Warren and Blakely are easily replaceable if selected.

Phoenix Suns: Alex Laugan, Bright Side of the Sun
Protected: Steve Nash, Goran Dragic, Robin Lopez, Josh Childress, Hakim Warrick, Channing Frye, Jared Dudley, Gani Lawal
Unprotected: Hedo Turkoglu, Matt Janning, Earl Clark
Alex believes that Hedo Turkoglu (due to his age and expensive contract) and Matt Janning are the players easiest to leave unprotected.  The conundrum to him is who to leave unprotected out of Frye, Warrick, Clark or Lawal.  In the end he settled for Clark, even though he believes Clark could be the Gerald Wallace of this expansion draft.

Sacramento Kings: Tom Ziller, Sactown Royalty
Protected: Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Omri Casspi, Donté Greene, Jason Thompson, Hassan Whiteside, Beno Udrih, Pooh Jeter
Unprotected: Francisco Garcia
TZ left the Kings lengthiest contract on the table.  The choice for him was between Udrih or Garcia, and at this point in time, Udrih provides more bang for the buck.

Golden State Warriors: Rasheed Malek, Warriors World
Protected: Stephen Curry, David Lee, Reggie Williams, Monta Ellis, Dorrell Wright
Unprotected: Andris Biedrins, Charlie Bell, Brandan Wright, Ekpe Udoh, Jeremy Lin, Vernon Goodridge
Rasheed does not have a very high opinion of the Warriors players outside of the ones he listed, so he was the only one to opt out of protecting the maximum amount of players.  He writes that Curry and Lee are the future, Williams is a future 6th man of the year candidate, Ellis underrated, and Dorrell Wright fits Golden State's system perfectly.  I agree with Rasheed's sentiments, but I also think it highly unlikely that Golden State would leave their lottery pick in Udoh unprotected in a year where he wasn't even given a chance to play,  and Lin is on a very cheap contract.

So the Hagfish have several players to choose from.  It's true that they can pick players without regard to the Salary Cap, but the only problem with that is that they will be operating on a 66% salary cap for their first year, and a 75% cap for their 2nd year, so we don't want to spend too much.  Taking this year's salary cap for example (about $58 million) would leave us with a 66% cap of 38.28 million.

This team will not be able to contend immediately or for the near future.  As such, I want to remain flexible with a slew of young players.  

So lets start picking players shall we?  I must pick 14, but I can pick more.

Boston has a couple of good prospects available in Erden and Harangody.  Both could fit well on the Hagfish, and both are on minimum contracts.  As such I'll opt for the 7 foot Semih Erden.

The Raptors have two bad contracts and Julian Wright.  I'll pass.

New York has a couple nice players.  I'll pick the versatile and cheap Landry Fields.

I don't want anything to do with Brand or Nocioni's contracts, and Smith rights aren't worth it. Thanks Philly, but I'll pass.

Petro isn't good, and Zoubek and Uzoh are unknowns.  I think I'll take Brian Zoubek just to see if he could make the team.  He's a monster on the Offensive glass, and rebounding is one of the most translateable statistics from College to the NBA.  He'll be a Free Agent.

Ryan Hollins is cheap, young, and still has some upside even though he hasn't been very good lately.  I think I'll take him.

I think I'll stay away from the Bucks bad contracts, but I would like Chris Douglas-Roberts rights.

As much as Mark may want me to take Keith Bogans, I think I'm going to take C.J. Watson from the Bulls.

The Pacers have a couple of guys known for defense available, and I think I'll take the cheaper one in Dahntay Jones. He's a bit overrated, and you cannot rely on him for offense, but his contract is cheap and he fills a need.

Having DaJuan Summers rights could be useful, but I think I'll take a chance on Terrico White as a potential bench sparkplug.

The Magic have a couple young players that I'd be interested in seeing in a Hagfish uniform (Daniel Orton is not one of them) and in the end I pick Brandon Bass, a talented player lost in a very deep Orlando team.

The Heat are another deep team with a potential treasure for the 'Fish in Mario Chalmers.  He can develop into a very nice point guard and having his rights could be good.

I'm going to steer clear of Arenas and Hinrich's contract.  Arenas alone would take up more than half my cap in the first season.

Mike Bibby is my next pick.  As a veteran and expiring contract, he could end up being a nice trade chip or simply a good mentor (Ok, even I'm laughing at that part) for some of these young players.

Eduardo Najera is my least favorite player in the entire NBA. Just thought I'd put that out there.  Also, I don't want any of the players the Bobcats are offering.

Alexis Ajinca is a project, but big men are hard to come by, and if he pans out, this pick looks good.  If he doesn't, it didn't cost me much.

I got to see Garrett Temple play last year for the Kings and Spurs and came away very impressed.  I think he could end up being a very good backup guard in the league.  So I'm picking him.

Brad Miller and Mike Bibby back together again... Nah (sorry Trey)

The Grizzlies' DeMarre Carroll showed some promise last year.  Let's hope he can do the same for Centralia.

To New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Utah, thank you for the offer, but I think I'll pass.

Ben was right. Leaving Dante Cunningham unprotected sucks because his rights belong to Centralia now.  The 'Fish don't want to deal with Fernandez, and I'm not sold on Babbitt in the NBA.

It was between fellow Greek Kosta Koufos and Lazar Hayward for me with Minnesota, and I stuck to my roots.  Koufos can be the next Mehmet Okur if he puts his mind to it.

I've opted to take the Nuggets offer of a Future First Rounder as long as I took Al Harrington from them.  I'm assuming I get cash in the deal as well.  Harrington's final two years are only 50% guaranteed, so he could end up being a nice trade chip in a year.

I opted for Devin Ebanks over Derrick Caracter from the Lakers.  Ebanks could bloom if given the minutes he won't see in Los Angeles for a year or two.

Willie Warren has really dropped off the map from watching him in Summer League, and with his checkered past, I think I'll skip the Clippers.

I'm going to take a chance on Earl Clark from Phoenix, because its low risk and high reward.

Sorry El Flaco, I know you'd be an awesome teammate, but I don't want your contract.

I could take Udoh from the Warriors here as Rasheed left him unprotected, but I'm going to be fair and assume the Warriors protected him.  As such I'll take Jeremy Lin.

So I've selected 20 players in the Expansion Draft.  Of those players, 5 are now Unrestricted Free Agents whose rights I hold.

Here is the Projected Depth Chart (not in any order) for the Centralia Hagfish, players in Red are the Free Agents.

C: Semih Erden, Kosta Koufos, Brian Zoubek, Alexis Ajinca, Ryan Hollins
PF: Brandon Bass, Al Harrington, Earl Clark
SF: Devin Ebanks, Dante Cunningham, DeMarre Carroll
SG: Dahntay Jones, Terrico White, Chris Douglas-Roberts
PG: Jeremy Lin, Garrett Temple, Mike Bibby, Mario Chalmers, C.J. Watson

This is but a rough sketch of what the beginning of the team will look like.  Some, if not all, of those free agents might sign elsewhere.  Trades can happen before the beginning of the season or perhaps during draft night.  Cuts will occur during training camp.  But to me this is a young team with some veterans that even though might not win many games, will still bring excitement to the fans and should be competitive enough that they won't embarrass themselves.

The Hagfish also will have the 4th and 34th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, as well as a Future 1st-rounder from the Denver Nuggets.  All in all, I think this team has the makings of one with more promise than that of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004 (last year was their first playoff appearance if you'll remember)

So what do you think of my choices? Would you have picked differently?

Also, in commemoration of Trey Kerby soon leaving Ball Don't Lie, as Owner of the completely fictional Hagfish, I would like to announce that a honorary jersey will hang in the Aquarium (that's the stadium's name) for eternity in his honor.

And finally a huge thank you to everyone who helped contribute for this article.


  1. Nobody in Centralius would buy tickets to see that gotta think of PR; nobody's payin to see Mike Bibby, Al Harrington, and some tall foreigners get there asses beat every night.

    LOL, great job though. That was fun to read.

  2. on the pistons they forgot prince....

  3. @Anonymous Tayshaun Prince is a Free Agent when this fake draft would take place, so he can't be protected or picked.

  4. To (re)address the PR: Who is the face of the team?

    For the sake of some kind of local draw, would Iverson/T-Mac be considered as a potential free agent? (Give Shaq equity in the team and he might even play.) I know that they would not really be a guaranteed draw in most NBA cities, but maybe with a new team one of them would be an identifiable face that people know how to root for. They'd be here for a year or two, so there is no huge detriment to long term development (relative to the benefits of establishing a fan base).

    Baron Davis might be a necessary pick to have some star power, but I don't know how much he would eat from the salary cap.

    Also, maybe they could luck out with a deep draft and use the #4 picked-player as their selling point - starting new, together, or something.

  5. Davis would be a pretty big contract for them to have. Someone mentioned I could've taken Stephen Jackson and had him and Al Harrington be crazy together to draw tickets.

  6. Regarding the "fan-wow," the fact that this is Centralia's first pro team will more than fill the seat for the first couple of years. Gilbert Arenas or Elton Brand will not sell enough additonal tickets to offset their bloated salaries. Using the Bobcats as the most recent example, 6-year man Jahidi White and 4-year man Marcus Fizer were their most tenured draftees, and none of their selections really had an NBA pedigree to that point. Great read, Akis.

  7. @Rob Thanks Rob, you bring up points I should have better clarified for readers in the article. And the Bobcats only took White because they were paid to by the Suns (A first rounder that became Sean May and cash, this freed up the money for them to sign Steve Nash, so it was way worth it in the long run)

  8. A clever read Akis.

    For coach: Veteran looking for a gig or up-and-comer seeking his first job?

    I like Lawrence Frank for the job.

    Collecting assets in the form of future build is certainly the way to go. Draft picks, rookies with veterans able to handle the load, mentor and charm the community would be my choice. You plan on not setting the most games lost in a season record as you strategize a team personality for years 3 and 4.
    I like the selections you have except for Bibby who I would be afraid of being unfocused and a significant defensive liability.

    - bte

  9. I left out my choice for up-and-comer coach for the Hagfish: Sam Cassell

  10. Bibby is probably going to be a trade chip. Expiring contract and a still deadly shooter, a contender would probably give up a draft pick or young guy for him.

    As for Cassell, I like it. Ugliest mascot and Ugliest coach!

  11. This is a very talented unit, you give them 2 high draft choices and cap-space and look out

    Jose Calderon/Mario Chalmers/Mike Bibby
    Chris Douglas-Roberts/Bill Walker/James Johnson
    Bill Walker/James Johnson/Luke Babbitt
    Jason Maxiell/Amir Johnson/Luke Babitt
    Darko Milicic/Ryan Hollins/Brian Zoubek

  12. You wouldn't take Chapu??? Are you crazy??? Do you want the team to suck???

  13. Great work - I enjoyed this immensely. I think I'd skip Bibby as there seems little point in having him on such a team when there are so many young players to work through and see what they could be.

    I'd take Jermaine Taylor instead of Bibby. Jermaine is a guy who could very easily be the top scorer on a bad team, and could work into be a very good "instant offense" guy off the bench later. He's got an NBA level scoring game, is a surprisingly good passer, and will fight hard on D. He did very well at NBA summer league, even working in a bit as a ball handler.

  14. I love the idea here, but there are massive errors in compiling the names who would be available for selection/protection - ranging from the minor (controlled overseas players) to more major (Glen Davis missing from Boston, Jamario Moon from Cleveland, several others). Add to that the substantial impact from looking at this when FA is mostly over (as opposed to before the draft - none of this year's draft picks would actually need to be protected as they wouldn't have been drafted yet) ... and you're left with a bit of fun, but not very realistic.