Friday, February 20, 2009

Trade Deadline Recap & Hawks Preview

Trade Breakdown

Well the trade deadline came and went without a major move by the Blazers. The only move they made was trading Ike Diogu to Sacramento for Michael Ruffin. I assure you Michael Ruffin will never step foot on the floor in a Blazer’s uniform. He has been out all year with an ankle injury and I can’t imagine any scnerio where he would be activated.

So why did the Blazers make this trade? Well the main reason is it generated a $3 mil trade exception. What is a trade exception? Trade exceptions are exactly what they sound like. They are exceptions to the normal trading rules of the NBA. With this one in particular, we are essentially able to “buy a player”. We can effectively obtain a player who’s salary is $3 mil or under without having to match salaries. This is the same exact way we got James Jones two years ago. We included Fred Jones in a trade to New York, and generated an exception. We then went to Phoenix, and paid cash for James Jones. Another bonus is, to take on James Jones contract, we required Phoenix to also sell us their first round draft pick who turned out to be Rudy Fernandez. Pretty good deal huh?

Now I am not saying we are going to do something exactly like this. The trade exception can be used in multiple ways. For example, it is assumed we will have roughly $6 mil in cap space this summer to sign a free agent or facilitate a trade. However with the $3 mil trade exception we can trade for (or buy) a player that has up to a $9 mil salary. So in theory we could trade a 2nd round draft pick for Caron Butler, if the Washington Wizards were desperate enough to get him off of their books. Now I am not saying this is going to happen, but you can see how it opens up even more possibilities for the Blazers.

I personally really liked this move, and most casual fans have a hard time understanding why we did it. Well fortunately you aren’t one of those guys cause of the knowledge bombs I just dropped on you. It’s ok, you don’t have to thank me.

As far as the Blazer’s standing pat and not “taking advantage” of Raef’s expiring contract, I think the Blazer’s did the right thing. However it is impossible to tell because we will never know what was truly on the table, but I trust KP. We are not in panic mode. We are not needing to sell more tickets. We are not one piece away from a championship (well, unless you count LeBron as only one piece). We are young, and we are not in a hurry! Why sacrifice cap room, and one of our young guys for a 32 year old Vince Carter? Do we win the NBA championship with him this year or next? I don’t think so.

From all of the quotes, Kevin Pritchard believes that teams will be even more desperate this summer to shed salary. So even though we don’t have as much room to work with, maybe the right piece becomes available at the right price. Maybe it will be even more of a buyers market. Also, from what I have read from national media sources, it sounds like teams were expecting the Blazers to feel like they HAD to move Raef before the deadline so they were low balling us. Sometimes the best trade is the one that is never made. (I know I can’t believe I just said that either.)

My plan is to do another podcast this weekend discussing all of the other trades that went down, and how they affect the Blazers. Also there were a couple of suggestions on how to improve the podcast, and I think one we can upgrade right away is answering your guys questions or opinions. I am planning on doing the podcast either Saturday or Sunday, so if you have any questions or comments, please email them to me ASAP at and I will get them on the podcast!

Other News

News broke today that Amare Stoudemire is out for 8 weeks because of surgery to repair a detached retina. This is a HUGE bonus for the Blazers in their quest to reach the playoffs. Just as soon as it looked like the Suns were going to gain some momentum this happens. Does this take them out of the playoffs? What do you guys think?

Game Preview

Tonight’s game versus the Hawks (32-22) will be a tough one. Atlanta is a pretty good team on the road (13-16), and has made a large jump from the start of last season to where they are now. They are lead by Joe Johnson who leads them in scoring (21.4), assists (6.1), steals (1.1), and minutes played (39.6). Their lineup is rounded out by the sharp shooting vetern Mike Bibby, former 2nd overall pick Marvin Williams, the uber athletic Josh Smith, and ex-Florida big man Al Horford. After those guys, their team gets a little dicey, so if we can get these guys in foul trouble they will be hurting.

Greg Oden is out again tonight and is not expected to play Sunday either.

The swelling in his knee has not subsided, and there is still stiffness. He is still listed as day to day and will keep being evaluated. An update on Martell Webster is he is still wearing his boot. This is not good news, and it has been stated that he is expected to take about 4 weeks after his boot is off to get back. Not sure if we are even going to see Martell at all this year.

Keys to the Game

  1. Be Aggressive on Offense
    1. We must be aggressive and take the ball to the hole. The Hawks play somewhat small starting the 6’9” Josh Smith at PF. He is their only legit shot blocker, so it would serve LaMarcus well tonight to get a few pump fakes in. This will also hopefully get them in foul trouble and make them go to their thin bench early and often.
  2. Rotate Sharply on D
    1. The Hawks can shoot, so we must make sure and anticipate and help out. We cannot sit back and give them open looks from 3.
  3. Play Like We Want It
    1. With Phoenix possibly slipping a few games without Amare, we need to capitalize and secure our place in the playoffs. We need to play like we want it.

Gambler’s Corner

Blazers -4.5

Over/Under 192

I am going with the Blazers and the under. The Blazers tend to play better against better teams, and I am hoping that is the case tonight.


  1. Ill go with the Blazers and the under.

    I think Phoenix will be hurting. Good thing we didnt go after him right! Who are they going to have fill in for the athletic big man. It also really hurts their new/old style of offense if you have to rely on Shaq as your primary big man. Shaq is going to get worn out and I think now that the Suns are going to be the 9th team.