A lot of things can happen in a year in the world of the WBA.
Players may decide to retire. Some will improve on skills while others will decline. Owners will look at ways to change their teams. Some will look to rebuild others will look to be more competitive.
Kevin Hitch decided to make changes last year. The team traded Latrell McDyess. It was just one year after acquiring him in a trade. In a shock, he also traded the other part of his back court duo, Heinrich Rarich. He was averaging 25 ppg and drafted 14th by the Pandas. However, his contract was expiring. Hitch didn’t believe he could resign the young star. He was traded for another star. Acklin came over from the Giants. At only 24, he may become the face of the franchise. The Pandas drafted Waidermar Bermeister in 2022. He was ready to step up as the starter.
The team missed the playoffs last year. The team battled injuries down the stretch. This allowed for a top pick again this year. Hitch has Dorian Philippe as one of the top players on the board. He quickly drafted him. The Shanghai draft room went crazy. Team officials believe he is a better fit at shooting guard then at the point.
The team tried to build in free agency also. Many General Manager believe that Comas Neetar was a great signing. It is a three-year contract averaging around 10 million a year, but the last year is a team option. Trevor Tomlin was added to back up the point. In addition, Hitch brough back Senecca Redd and Guy Welty. Walker Walter and Grant Gilbert were also added.
Just when you thought the Pandas were done making changes, a trade happened. The Gargoyles picked up the phone. Hitch was excited about the offer, but failed to jump right away. How could Pedro be offering Curry in a deal? It seemed too good to be true. Negotiations went back and forth. In the end, the trade would benefit both teams. Los Angeles got Frank Ryan, Chad Nolan and Hassan Pomeroy. In exchange, Shanghai got William Curry, Tyrell Dudley and a Gargoyles 2025 first. LA got money off the books, but they were good players and contracts for Hitch’s team.
Shanghai has moved up in the power rankings and are 3-0 in the pre-season. The future looks bright. The team has cap room and appears to have no bad contracts. Dudley is not wanting to resign yet, but he will be a priority. Besides these transactions, the Pandas have their own first rounder in 2024 along with two seconds. However, the team has three first round picks in 2025. They have their own, the Gargoyles and the Firestorm pick. Hitch could wait and use them all, he could trade during this season to add players or even make trades to move up or add draft picks in 2024.
The Panda fans are excited about the season. Can the coaching staff get the team to the playoffs and win during them?