Blame it on the sick wife and sleeping child, who are shutting down the wild whooping and champagne showers in this particular corner of Rubio Nation. But the five minutes of celebration are over, and it's time to talk about what has to happen from here on out to make this a successful offseason. I'm going to go ahead and say that the Rubio signing (God, that feels good to type) isn't enough, since it's merely the culmination of a 2009 transaction. I'll outline my personal ideas below the jump, but let's talk about who to target in the draft, trade market, free agency, etc., with the obvious caveat that nobody knows how the CBA will shake out. In short, how can Kahn make this signing really, truly matter?
At this point, ranking our assets, I would go Love, Rubio, pick #2, Ridnour, Beasley, Wes, Randolph, Pekovic. The rest of the guys are essentially cap holders (unless Webster's back magically heals, in which case I'd wedge him between Randolph and Pek). Rubio is set at the 1, Love at the 4. We don't have a shooting guard, as last year's trials with Wes in that role demonstrated. Pre-injury, Beasley was fantastic, even out of position at the 3. First question, then, is what to do about the SF position. I don't think you can continue to force two starters out of position. You need to field at least one wing in his natural position. So either Wes is benched and we roll with a Beasley out of position at the 3, or Beasley is benched, and we let Wes be the first starter to get subbed out each night. Or, of course, one of the two could be traded. I'll get back to this in a minute.
The center spot is a mess. Darko is Darko, and Pek seems to be behind on the learning curve. I really don't want to rely on either guy as an every-game starter. Randolph got spot duty here at the end of the year, but he's really barely even a small-ball five. As with the 2 spot, we don't have the solution on our roster. (As you can see, I haven't yet bought into the idea that Wes, Beasley, and Love can hack it as our starting 3-4-5. I can't imagine just how badly we'd get killed on D if our guys are going to funnel traffic over to Love.)
That leaves us short two starters. The #2 pick should be enough to plug one hole - either by drafting Kanter or Biyombo (yes, I'd be okay with starting Biyombo day one. It's not like we have anything to lose, right?), or by trading for a decent SG. I don't think we can draft Williams no matter what. It duplicates what we have at the three (a miscast power forward in Beasley), and I don't think Beasley is a good enough asset to bring back a starting caliber SG or C. So we're burning assets in that scenario.
The wild card is Irving, if CLE decides to go with Williams and Knight. I say take him and don't think twice. Start Irving and Rubio both. It's not like we have a better SG option currently. Find a creative coach. Make it work. It's really Kahn's ultimate chance to rectify Flynn over Curry. We all agree that a Rubio-Curry backcourt could have worked, right? So swap Irving for Curry. Better passing instincts than Curry (obviously), potentially as lights-out a shooter (though lacking Curry's obscene range), and about the same size. Not the traditional way to go, but you simply cannot pass on Irving at #2. There's BPA, and then there's BFuckingPA. I hope that King Kahn understands this. (I am sure he does. King Kahn knows all.)
So of the draftees available, and the known available (or commonly insisted upon) trade and FA targets, who makes the most sense to add to Rubio-Love? For SG, I'd rank them something like this (bearing in mind salary, cost of acquisition, overall fit, etc - this isn't my ranking of best overall SGs): Affalo, Burks, JR Smith, Harden, Turner, Mayo, Iggy, Ellis. For center, I'd say Biyombo, Kanter, M Gasol, Jordan. If we can draft Biyombo and Burks (hello 2 for 4+8!) and sign Affalo or Smith, I'd be pretty stoked. If we could go to war next year with the following roster, I'd be willing to let Kahn work out the rest of his contract in peace.
Rubio / Ridnour
Affalo / Burks
Wes / Beasley (6th man)
Love / Randolph
Biyombo / Darko
If a deal can't be made to move up for Burks, then throw any and all of Pek / Flynn / Webster / Wes / #20 / Ellington to get some 2012 picks laid away. This should probably done regardless.