Note: This article also appears on Raptors Republic
Update (July 7): Detroit removed from list due to Josh Smith signing, Sacramento moves down, Milwaukee, Cleveland sign free agents.
And just to stir the pot a little, here’s a recent Hoopshype article that some might find interesting regarding how most stars ended up on their team.
Update (July 6): Utah Jazz added, Atlanta Hawks moves down, Milwaukee Bucks move down.
With the 2014 Draft having as many as eight possible All Stars, according to NBA scouts, as well as the ultimate prize of Andrew Wiggins, who is considered the best high school prospect since LeBron James, and several others who have the potential to be franchise players themselves, there has been a lot of talk about the number of teams that are tanking in order to take advantage of what most believe to be the most talented draft in a decade.
Without a scorecard, it’s difficult to tell who is and who isn’t, so we’ve compiled this information to help.
Lots, including going after Bledsoe and Ujiri turning down Detroit’s offer of Villanueva and Stuckey for Gay
Impossible to tell what the plan is for the Raptors just yet. We know Ujiri doesn’t want to just dump salary, but may be willing to part with Gay and others for picks. We’ll have to see.
Tanking Rating: 30
Traded All Star Jrue Holliday to New Orleans for Nerlens Noel and their 2014 first round pick (top 5 protected)
Traded for Royce White for “future draft considerations”
Recent Rumours: None
Absolute textbook tanking. And if you’re going to tank, you can’t really do it any better than this. Not only do they trade away their best player, they get a very good center prospect who will probably miss half the season and a pick in draft you’re tanking for.
Acquiring White is an asset grab for a team that doesn’t care about winning. If he works out, great. If not, no big deal.
Tanking Rating: 100
Lost Al Jefferson to Charlotte and Paul Milsap to Atlanta
Probably won’t re-sign Mo Williams
Welcome to the tank, Utah! For people who think that cap space is only used for signing free agents, I give you the Utah Jazz. They knew they wouldn’t be an attractive destination for free agents, so took on $23 million in expiring contracts and sent out less than half a million. And as thanks for taking these salaries, so they could sign Andre Iguodala, the Warriors also sent Utah two first round picks.
Believe it or not, losing Al Jefferson isn’t a big deal for the Jazz, as he is such a horrible defensive player and the Jazz played better with Derrick Favors, anyway.What hurts them is by losing three starters (including Williams) their front court depth, which was a strength, is suddenly gone. And now they have a rookie as their starting point guard.
Tanking Rating: 90
Recent Moves: None
Recent Rumours: None
The Magic are going to rely on their pure lack of talent, rather than fancy trades, to tank. Still the Magic aren’t as bad as you may think. Jameer Nelson is only 30 and a decent point guard, and Arron Afflalo should bounce back after a poor season, Nikola Vucevic is on his way to becoming one of the better young centers in the league and Tobias Harris made everyone immediately forget about J.J.Redick.
In fact they may need a trade in order to really be bad next season. Of course they still have Turkoglu…
Tanking Rating: 80
Signed Al Jefferson to three year deal, $40 million contract
Amnestied Tyrus Thomas
Recent Rumours: None
By signing Jefferson to that huge deal, the Bobcats have signalled they are not trying to tank. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, acquiring Jefferson isn’t actually going to prevent them from losing, so whether they want to be or not, Charlotte is still a threat to get a top pick next year. Jefferson is certainly a very good scorer and rebounder, but his defense is horrible and despite his scoring talents, his True Shooting Percentage is actually pretty poor.
If they truly want to win some games, they will need to make more moves than this.
Tanking Rating: 80
Are looking at Monta Ellis.
The Suns aren’t necessarily trying to get worse, but as long as Michael Beasley is putting on a Suns uniform, they’ll certainly be in the hunt for last place in the league. Honestly though, it’s tough to figure out what exactly the Suns are doing and I’m not even sure they know. If they were smart, they’d be trading away guys like Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic who are in their prime, past their prime or simply redundant respectively. Those guys obviously aren’t helping them win, and holding onto them does nothing.
Tanking Rating: 70
Hired Brad Stevens as head coach for 6 years and $22 million.
There have been rumours of both Dallas and Detroit being interested in Rajon Rondo, but none that Boston has considered moving him.
“We’re not tanking”, said Danny Ainge. “This is the Boston Celtics.”
The same Boston Celtics that tanked for Tim Duncan and failed, and tanked for Greg Oden and Kevin Durant and failed, the latter when Danny Ainge was actually in charge, so it’s kind of hard to take him at his word.
The way the team is currently constructed, Ainge might WANT to tank, because with Rondo still on the team and if Jeff Green plays anywhere close to how he did at the end of the season, then this is a team that is good enough to compete, but probably not make the playoffs, putting them in that dangerous no man’s land the Raptors usually find themselves.
Trading Rondo will put them clearly on the tank track, but as it is they could go either way.
Tanking Rating: 50
Lost Mike Dunleavy to Chicago via free agency
Signed O.J. Mayo to 3 year, $24 million deal
Signed Zaza Pachulia to 3 year, $16 million contract
Monta Ellis looks to be gone elsewhere. Also look as though they’re trying to re-sign Brandon Jennings.
Losing Dunleavy hurts, because the Bucks were a better team with him on the floor, but replacing Ellis with Mayo might actually be a lateral move for the Bucks because, despite Ellis’ offensive talents, he never meshed with Jennings, very well, and his defense has always been beyond bad.
Signing Pachulia is more peculiar than anything. He’s a good defensive player and rebounder, but they’ve already got a fairly deep front court.
Really, if anyone wants to know what mediocrity looks like, take a look at the Bucks. Until they re-sign Jennings or sign someone who might actually make an impact, they’re just a move or two away from tanking.
Tanking Rating: 40
Offered, then rescinded 4 year, $56 million offer to Andre Iguodala
Sign Carl Landry to 4 year, $26 million contract
Had been in talks with Jose Calderon but he rebuffed them because did not want to play for a still-rebuilding team.
The Kings aren’t trying to tank and with the trade they may actually be better than last season. That is unless DeMarcus Cousins has a complete meltdown and pulls a Latrell Sprewell on his entire team which, let’s be honest here, is probably a good bet.
The Landry signing, despite the fact it will probably have little impact, shows the Kings are serious about improving.
Tanking Rating: 20
Re-signed Kyle Korver to four year deal, $24 million contract
Signed Paul Milsap to 2 year, $19 million deal
Signed DeMarre Carroll to 2 year, $5 million contract
Are apparently open to a sign-and-trade with Houston for Josh Smith. What they get in return will either move them up or down.
They lost out on Dwight Howard, but signing Paul Milsap isn’t a recipe for tanking. He’s not a big difference maker, but he will basically replace Josh Smith’s production, should he leave as expected. Atlanta appears to be trying to remain competitive, instead of tanking. The Hawks won 44 games with Josh Smith, and if they replace him with Milsap, they should win a similar number of games, again.
Tanking Rating: 10
Signed Earl Clark to 2 year, $9 million contract
Signed Jarrett Jack to 4 year, $25 million deal
Apparently offered a boatload of assets for Kevin Love, but were turned down.
The Cavs have been trying to win since they drafted Kyrie Irving, which is why they took Tristan Thompson over Jonas Valanciunas, who wasn’t going to come over for a year. They’ve made a point of drafting guys who they thought would help right away, instead of projects, even if it meant on passing up guys who will probably be better players.
As long as Anderson Varejao is healthy (and as long as there is peace in the Middle East), the Cavs have a shot at the playoffs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pull off a trade for a veteran in order to solidify their playoff chances.
Signing Jack is a step in the right direction for the team. His leadership should help.
Tanking Rating: 10
Re-signed Martel Webster to four year, $22 million deal
Signed Eric Maynor
Washington has been quiet on the rumour front, the only time their name has really come up was with the two signings.
The Wizards have had three top 5 picks in the last 4 years, and their only misstep was when they took Jan Vesely at 6. Their record last year when Wall was playing was impressive and there’s absolutely no reason to believe they aren’t going to go all out to make the playoffs in an Eastern Conference basically begging for playoff teams.
Tanking Rating: 0
New Orleans Pelicans
Traded Nerlens Noel and their 2014 first round pick (top 5 protected) for Jrue Holiday
Traded Greivis Vasquez and Robin Lopez for Tyreke Evans (sign and trade, 4 year $44 million)
Re-signed Al-Farouq Aminu to 1 year, $3.7 million deal
Were interested in Corey Brewer, but that may have changed with the acquisition of Evans.
Are now interested in acquiring Omar Asik, made available with Dwight Howard signing with the Rockets, and Houston will most likely be after Ryan Anderson in return.
Like the Pistons, the Pelicans gave up their 2014 first round pick, so are also bound and determined to make a run for the playoffs next season. They have talent, in Holiday, Evans, Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson and the perpetually injured Eric Gordon. In the East, they’d probably be a lock, but in the West, it’s doubtful.
If the Pelicans get Asik, an Asik-Davis front line would grab every available rebound and stop more penetration than a case of genital herpes.
Still, the only way this team gets a top five pick is if they beat the odds and jump up from the teens.
Tanking Rating: 0