So the news just broke this morning on Yahoo Sports, that the (6) preseason games Darius Miles played in count against the (10) he needs to play to come back on the Blazers payroll. So he is now only (2) games away from that. It is now easily conceivable that some team will sign him to a 10-day contract and play him 2 mins in 2 games (especially teams with significant salary cap space this offseason that would be competing with the Blazers for free agents, like Memphis, Miami, Oklahoma City, Detroit, and Minnesota). So I would say it is almost certain that we will have Darius Miles on our payroll for the next two seasons.
Some of you might be freaking out about how we just lost the chance to sign a free agent, and how Darius has come back to haunt us again. Well I have a few reasons for you to back off the ledge and realize hope.
- Many of the local media and fans are freaking out about the extra 9 mil on our cap. But like I explained in Darius Miles Update Part 2, I think it is safe to assume that the Blazers will exercise their option on Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw next year, leaving our cap space at approximately $8.40 mil. I heard on the radio this morning that we should not exercise our options on Blake and Outlaw, and use it towards a free agent. What annoys me is they say this, but what is that extra $7.6 mil going to get you? Who do you have in mind that you need that extra cap room for? Hedo Turkoglu? Carlos Boozer? David Lee? Paul Milsaup? Allen Iverson? Jason Kidd? I personally don’t think any of those guys is worth the $15+ mil we would spend on them. People just spout off like a chicken with their head cut off about cap room, but have not plan behind it. Plus I am not sure that you can let someone like Travis Outlaw walk for nothing. He has significantly more trade value then the negative his salary brings our team. So don’t get caught up in the media saying we need to cut guys to make room! Who are we making room for?!?
- You will also hear from many media sources that this effectively removes the Blazers from the list of teams who can vie for free agents this summer. That is incorrect. But you already know that because you come here to read your Blazers information and you know that even if we keep Blake and Outlaw, we will still have $8.4 mil to work with.
- Lastly we still have Raef LaFrentz’s expiring contract. What makes things interesting now is, the value of that contract is worth more to the Blazers if we trade it rather then let it expire. What I mean by that is if we let it expire we will only be able to realize $8.4 mil of the $12.7 mil contract. But because you have to match salaries to make trades, we can essentially use all $12.7 mil of Raef’s contract to take on new players who’s contracts extend through the 2008-2009 season. I personally think this increases the likeliness of the Blazers making a trade before the deadline (Feb. 19th). Maybe that extra piece will help us make that extra push to for sure get into the playoffs?
So where does that leave us today? I highly doubt Pritchard and Co. will make a move anytime soon, as long as Miles still has 2 games to play, and does not want to make a panic move on speculation. But as soon as he does or February hits you can bet he is going to be burning up the phone lines. Pritchard (along with the rest of the organization) that our goal this year is to make the playoffs. So if February starts creeping up and we don’t look like we are a shoe in for the playoffs, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we made a trade that would both help us I the short term and long term. I fully trust KP to do his due diligence in finding who that player is, then using our laundry list of attractive assets to obtain that player. In KP we trust!
Another new development is this article (big ups to Fox for finding the article) just released about how Portland has issued a league-wide e-mail warning owners who pick up D Miles for the sole purpose to play him two games and put his contract back on the Blazers books. The article states
"Such conduct by a team would violate its fiduciary duty as an NBA joint venturer. In addition, persons or entities involved in such conduct may be individually liable to the Portland Trail Blazers for tortuously interfering with the Portland Trail Blazers contract rights and perspective economic opportunities. “Please be aware that if a team engages in such conduct, the Portland Trail Blazers will take all necessary steps to safeguard its rights, including, without limitation, litigation.”
Looks like a good move by President Larry Miller to hopefully scare off any teams who potentially try and stick us with Miles' contract.
-Kyle and Goose