There are no long-term strategies in the NBA anymore.
The annual movement of players made every team’s goal on a year-by-year basis.
It’s hard to keep a franchise’s core intact even for half a decade because of NBA free agency.
This unprecedented wave of player mobility shifted the power from the teams to the players.
Disgruntled superstars have their ways of playing together in hopes of winning a championship.
Likewise, winning one title isn’t a guarantee that the marquee player will stay long-term.
That said, NBA general managers constantly assess their squads to build the roster that will make them competitive.
However, some teams are headed for the reset button because their current setup isn’t working anymore.
They’ve reached the ceiling with their current flock of players that a rebuild is imminent.
While revamps are not always wrong, it often entails trading away a cornerstone player who endeared himself to the fans.
It’s a bittersweet moment because it’s sad to see a beloved NBA player leave town.
But often, with these rebuilds, it’s the best decision to make the team competitive again.
3. New Orleans Pelicans
Zion Williamson’s injury puts the New Orleans Pelicans in a tricky situation.
It’s hard to see this roster being consistently competitive without him and no definite timetable for his return.
As it stands, the former Duke standout is a failure because he can’t stay healthy.
In that case, it won’t be surprising if Brandon Ingram demands a trade.
I think the @PelicansNBA are going to shock a lot of people this season.
All right. Back to my silence/hiatus/self-exile or whatever.
— Angie Thomas (@angiecthomas) November 30, 2021
He’s wasting his talent playing for a team that’s going nowhere, even with Williamson.
Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin must also get the boot from the franchise because his roster moves brought back little dividends.
Jonas Valanciunas is a positive addition, but his impact won’t be enough to turn the team’s fortunes around.
Jonas Valanciunas had a CAREER-NIGHT (39 PTS, 7 3PT, 15 REB, 2 STL) in the @PelicansNBA WIN over LA! 🔥
Performance of the Night is presented by Kumho Tire. pic.twitter.com/gEyprV7SWJ
— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) November 30, 2021
Therefore, it would be better to trade away Ingram and Valanciunas while still getting value for them.
It’s hard to assume that Williamson will ever return to full health, and keeping the only assets they have will prolong their misery.
2. Portland Trail Blazers
In some ways, Damian Lillard explored the possibility of playing elsewhere.
Unfortunately, the Blazers are playing the role of contenders that can only do so much before their season disintegrates.
They’ve reached the Western Conference Finals once and got swept by the Golden State Warriors.
Time for another Portland Trail Blazers old fashioned rebuild! pic.twitter.com/oo0UzDPMA5
— PM (@OhItsPM) November 30, 2021
Other than that milestone, the conference semifinals always seemed to be the end of their road every year.
At 11-11, Portland looks to be a playoff team for the ninth straight season.
But playing that deep into the season robs them the opportunity of drafting better prospects.
They have been stuck at the middle picks for so long that they haven’t had a third star beyond their high-scoring backcourt.
Rebuilt the Blazers, ready to rebuild the Raiders https://t.co/twfHOnt4WT
— Jordan D. Hill (@JordanDavisHill) December 1, 2021
It’s okay if they’re satisfied bouncing off the competition in the second round.
But at some point, Lillard will bring his title quest elsewhere.
The Blazers must be willing to let him go because he will be worth high draft picks and some starters.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
This choice is the easiest because they came together for one goal only.
If they don’t win the championship, these players will look to jump ship.
LeBron is the only positive on the Lakers this season.
They are +1 with LeBron and -63 without LeBron in point differential. pic.twitter.com/gMuiWWsQrK
— StatMuse (@statmuse) December 1, 2021
Sadly, it’s not turning out well for the Lakers because of their 12-11 slate.
A team with their talent shouldn’t have 11 losses, but that’s where they are.
They don’t play tight defense, possibly because they’re all a step slower.
That said, expect many of their players to sign elsewhere if they don’t lift the title trophy after this season.