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Welcome To NBA Tank Nation

Wiggins presser2The 2014 NBA Draft is one the most anticipated drafts since the Cavaliers took LeBron James in 2003. There are just as many potential superstars available next June. This draft is so enticing that some NBA fan pages are actually promoting going winless next season just to have a chance at a game changing player like Andrew Wiggins – 76ersWinlessFor Wiggins.

The usual suspects expected to tank for Wiggins include Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix and New Orleans, although there is still time to change their minds and both Charlotte and New Orleans are doing things that will add wins next season. These teams have been overtly joined by Utah, Philadelphia and possibly by the “I think thou dost protest too loudly” Boston Celtics. After Friday’s announcement by Dwight Howard that he’s taking his talents to the great income tax free state of Texas, the Lakers may soon be on this list as well. It’s not too late to join this exclusive club for other NBA franchises and you can believe there are fans of certain teams that are wondering why their club isn’t on board yet.

Reasons for tanking the 2013-2014 season extend beyond the unusually deep and franchise changing draft next summer. July 2014 could see a jaw dropping list of available free agents if certain players opt out of their contracts. It will still be impressive if just the players on expiring deals are there.

Just some of the best players who can decide if they would like to be free agents next summer include:
ETO – early termination option, PO – player option

LeBron James – ETO
Dwyane Wade – ETO
Carmelo Anthony – ETO
Chris Bosh – ETO
Zach Randolph -PO
Rudy Gay – PO
Tim Duncan –PO
Amar’e Stoudemire – ETO
Andrea Bargnani – ETO

Some of the notable players on expiring contracts this season are:

Kobe Bryant
Paul Pierce
Dirk Nowitski
Luol Deng
Paul Gasol
Andrew Bogut
Danny Granger
Ray Allen
Vince Carter
Marcin Gortat
Shawn Marion
Emeka Okafor
Caron Butler
Metta World Peace

Just to tease some teams, there could be some pretty impressive restricted free agents available as well:

DeMarcus Cousins
Paul George
John Wall
Greg Monroe
Derrick Favors
Avery Bradley
Lance Stephenson
Eric Bledsoe
Evan Turner
Larry Sanders
Ekpe Udoh

These lists do not represent every free agent expected to be available in July 2014, that list would just keep going and going and going. Hoopsworld keeps a reasonably comprehensive and up-to-date list of all the possible 2014 NBA free agents. If there ever was a year to clear salary cap space, this is it and those teams that can combine the ability to land a franchise changing rookie with one or more franchise players could be setup for a long run of success.

The teams best set up to go WinLessForWiggins and attack free agency next summer include:

Charlotte Bobcats – ready to go.

Orlando Magic – setup up to do both.

Utah Jazz – joined Tank Nation and cleared the decks for next summer.

Philadelphia 76ers – just need to dump a little more talent and they are there.

Phoenix Suns – ready, but could use a salary dump.

New Orleans Pelicans – recent moves may have taken them out of this race.

Dallas Mavericks – have the potential to join the club.

Detroit Pistons – would find it easy to get on board.

Los Angeles Lakers – tweak the roster and tell Kobe to rehab next season and they can do it too.

Boston Celtics – did half the job, hired a college coach and just need to finish the work they started.

Toronto Raptors – would need to dump a couple of key players to have a shot at tanking.

Sacramento Kings – may not do it on purpose, but wouldn’t find it hard to join.

Washington Wizards – have the potential, but probably too good to tank.

Milwaukee Bucks – will probably have trouble with the tanking aspect.

Should your team go WinlessForWiggins and create salary cap space for the 2014 free agent class? Let us know in the comments below and tell us how you feel about NBA teams joining Tank Nation.

Stephen Brotherston has covered the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre since 2009. A member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association, Stephen is the editor and publisher of Pro Bball Report.

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