10 NBA Teams That Need to Blow Up Their Roster
Although they can't just press a button and start over, quite a few NBA teams could stand to blow up their rosters and begin again.
Ten of them, in fact, would benefit tremendously from making some personnel changes and ushering a new era into the history of their franchises. The current one just isn't going to work out.
Some of these squads are struggling tremendously, working hard to stay afloat in the rough waters of the Association. Others might make the playoffs, but they don't really have a legitimate shot at winning a title.
And if you can't win a title, you should probably make a few changes.
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There's a slight chance that the return of Avery Bradley could boost the Boston Celtics' chances of competing during the 2012-13 season, but it's more likely that the C's top out as a low-level playoff squad in the Eastern Conference.
And if this isn't the year, what exactly makes Boston fans think that a title will be forthcoming in the near future?
Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are the unquestioned stars of this squad, but only Rondo is still in his prime. As KG and the Truth continue to age, the title window will only keep closing.
Boston isn't content to be irrelevant for any extended period of time, which means that a move or two needs to be made.
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The Cleveland Cavaliers don't have too many keepers on their roster right now.
Kyrie Irving is poised to become the league's next great point guard, so he definitely qualifies. Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller have displayed enough promise to merit inclusion as well. But that's just about it.
Anderson Varejao is undoubtedly the second-best player on the Cavs, but he should be moved if Cleveland is serious about ever becoming a contender right now. The floppy-haired big man would be much more valuable to a contending team, on which he could serve as an extremely glorified role player and energy guy, than he is on the bottom-feeding Cavaliers.
It would be tough to part with a talent like Varejao, but the Cavs need to do exactly that if they're serious about climbing back toward the top of the Eastern Conference.
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Even a healthy Dirk Nowitzki isn't going to turn the Dallas Mavericks into anything that even resembles the squad that won the 2011 NBA title.
O.J. Mayo has broken out in a big way, but he and—to a lesser extent—Brandan Wright are the only players on the roster that should remain a major part of the team's long-term plans. Guys like Jae Crowder could be featured as well in the future, but the older players with any remaining trade value should be shopped.
Mark Cuban is no stranger to making big moves, and breaking up a roster just a few games into Dirk's return would certainly be a bold one, but who better to press the issue?
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The Detroit Pistons have a number of intriguing young pieces, but some of the older guys are getting in the way. I was an advocate of trading the veterans away during the offseason, but they're still there, so I'll keep recommending it.
If the Pistons truly want to let Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler develop into the players they can be, they need the other guys to get out of the way.
I'm looking at you, Charlie Villanueva, Tayshaun Prince and Corey Maggette. Villanueva in particular has been playing well during the 2012-13 campaign, but even he still holds back the younger members of his team.
It's time for Detroit to fully commit to the rebuilding process, even if it means that the present has even fewer wins in store.
Los Angeles Lakers
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Injuries have kept the Los Angeles Lakers from realizing their full potential during the first half of the 2012-13 season, but this whole experiment doesn't appear to be so promising even when the injury imp isn't plaguing the purple and gold.
Something has to change in L.A., even if it's as simple as just trading away Pau Gasol for a fresh face.
The Lakers haven't played poorly on offense, but the whole defense thing is constantly giving them trouble. The rotations aren't working, and the whole team often seems uninspired on that end of the court throughout the game.
Remember, this is the Lakers that we're talking about. Mediocrity isn't exactly accepted.
A week from now, we could look back at this slide and laugh. Things could click for the Lakers at any point during the season.
But as for right now? Has anything actually pointed toward a turnaround?
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The Phoenix Suns might have been able to compete for a playoff spot in the tough Western Conference if Michael Beasley had been able to live up to even a penny of his three-year, $18 million deal, but that simply hasn't been the case.
If Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski is correct—and he usually is—the Suns recognize that the ceiling isn't too high for the current roster. As a result, it's time to make a big move, and according to Wojnarowski, they're after Rudy Gay:
The Grizzlies have been shopping Gay to multiple teams, and found an interested trade partner with the Suns, sources said.
There's no framework of a possible deal in place, but the Grizzlies have expressed a strong desire that any package involving Gay include Suns forward Jared Dudley and future first-round draft picks, sources said.
There are undoubtedly players worth keeping on this roster. Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat tend to stand out in that category.
As for the rest of the team, well, it's time for some changes in the desert.
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Judging by the 13-22 record, things aren't exactly working out for the Sacramento Kings, and it's not due to a lack of talent on the roster.
As any college freshman knows, chemistry is important. And that, quite frankly, is just something that the Kings don't get.
Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, Jimmer Fredette, Isaiah Thomas and Aaron Brooks can't all just keep coexisting in the Kings' backcourt logjam. Someone has to be moved.
After all, if things don't start looking up in Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins might go crazy.
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Fortunately for the Toronto Raptors, they have a number of pieces that could prove intriguing to some other teams around the Association.
Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon come to mind.
While the former's value has been declining as injuries and ineffectiveness have tampered with his 2012-13 campaign, the latter's value has been rising as he's sparked the Raptors with his incredible passing skills and court vision.
The Raptors are a few pieces away from actually making some noise, and shipping off the two aforementioned veterans could certainly help for the future.
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For the Utah Jazz, the need to blow up the roster a little bit is actually a positive thing.
Sometimes it seems like every player on the Jazz is either an established talent or a guy just waiting to break out. That hasn't manifested in anything more than an 18-18 record, but that could change with a successful move.
Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, one or both, could be moved. They're both established All-Star-caliber talents, but they'll be free agents after the 2012-13 season. Trading one of the big men could be a great way to bring in some new talent.
Plus, the Jazz have Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter waiting in the wings. Each has displayed immense potential—to varying degrees, of course—and could one day become better than the incumbents.
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A 5-28 record should be all the justification necessary for the Washington Wizards to feel the need to blow up their roster.
John Wall may not have played for even a second of the 2012-13 season, but he's not going to be able to single-handedly turn things around. Things just really aren't working out in Washington, and that's about the status quo for the Wizards.
The problem is that there's just not too much talent worth building around for this squad. We're not counting Nene Hilario and Emeka Okafor, who are too old to be considered franchise centerpieces at this point.
Something drastic needs to happen to this roster.