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.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Trade Deadline


Just got word from a Bucks source that the team is highly unlikely to do a deal involving Richard Jefferson or anyone else on the roster.

"We're going to stand pat, I think" the source told me.

The Bucks had discussed several Jefferson trade scenarios with the Blazers and Cavs, but talks cooled this morning and haven't picked up with just under 20 minutes to go before the trade deadline.

Hey guys, we are about 45 mins away from the trade deadline, and no deals for Portland yet. This is what I have found so far. Check back today for updates.

Henry Abbott, TrueHoop: A plugged-in source just told me that the Blazers are done, and will not be making any moves before the deadline.

Of course, a great offer at the last minute could change that, but that's considered unlikely.
What's this about? All that talk and no big move?

Part of this, I think, is that they have been driving a hard bargain. Another part of is that they are in a position to use Raef LaFrentz's cap room this summer, plus their new trade exception, when the market will be depressed thanks to the economy. Portland will likely be able to make either a lopsided trade or a free-agent signing.

Another part of it is that I'm convinced Portland gets into some trade talks as pure intelligence gathering.

By negotiating with the Nets about Vince Carter, the Bucks about Richard Jefferson, the Bulls about Luol Deng, the Kings about John Salmons, the Bobcats about Gerald Wallace -- and a zillion other such talks -- the Blazers get real insight into what everybody really wants. They get to fill in the blanks about the 29 other team strategies. It's like seeing the other team's playbook.

Chad Ford: A Blazers source says the Blazers are now leaning strongly toward not making a major trade before the deadline. They have been in talks with the Nets, Bucks and Bobcats for days, but as of 11:30 a.m. they say nothing is hot.

Says one Blazers source, "I don't see a deal. We like our players long-term. We don't want to mess with our chemistry."

The Blazers have looked at everyone from Gerald Wallace to Richard Jefferson to Vince Carter. But up until now, they haven't been able to come to a deal they're willing to do. They've wanted draft picks from the Bucks and Nets and have been unwilling to take back Nazr Mohammed in a deal with the Bobcats.

However, don't close the door completely. When pressed, the source conceded that if they got a better offer in the next few hours, it was still possible that they could make a deal.

And a counter from Ben at Blazers Edge:

With roughly 2 hours to go, Dwight Jaynes just tweeted (@dwightjaynes) that he thinks the statements coming from Henry, Chad and John Canzano could simply be a "negotiating posture" in the run-up to a deal. Makes sense, and it's curious that all 3 writers reported very similar information (Raef staying and the team pursuing options in the offseason) in short order. Either KP or TP took a break to return some messages or they were looking to actively put the word out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Trade Talk; Memphis Preview

Breaking News: There has been a 3-team trade involving the Blazers, Bulls, and Kings. The Blazers are trading Ike Diogu to the Kings and getting Michael Ruffin from the Bulls. The Bulls are trading Drew Gooden, Andres Nocioni, and Cedric Simmons to the Kings for John Salmons and Brad Miller. Check out the trade here.

This essentially is a cost cutting trade by the Blazers, and why not. Diogu doesn't even play and this trade will save us $2 mil in salary not to mention lower our overall payroll. And since we are over the luxury tax by about $8 mil, this will reduce the amount of tax we will have to pay the league at the end of the year by $2. So this basically saves Paul Allen $4 million dollars. Also, this generates a trade exception for us which we can use before tomorrows trade deadline. Basically that says in another trade we can take back about $3 mil in salary that we don't trade away (the difference between Diogu and Ruffin's salary). Here is the official press release from Trail

PORTLAND, Ore. – As part of a three-way trade with Sacramento and Chicago, the Portland Trail Blazers have acquired forward Michael Ruffin from Chicago in exchange for forward Ike Diogu, who is sent to Sacramento, General Manager Kevin Pritchard announced today.

Trail Blazers also gain a $3 million trade exception, which they can use for one calendar year.

“We want to thank Ike for his time with the Trail Blazers, and hopefully this trade will give him an opportunity to play more minutes in Sacramento,” said Pritchard. “This move will give us trade flexibility going forward with the $3 million trade exception we gained in the deal.”

An eight-year veteran, Ruffin, 32, averaged 1.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 403 career games with Chicago, Philadelphia, Utah, Washington and Milwaukee. He has not appeared in a game for Chicago this season.

Diogu, 25, played in 19 games for Portland this season, averaging 1.4 points and 0.9 rebounds in 3.8 minutes per game. He was acquired by the Trail Blazers from the Indiana Pacers along with the draft rights to Jerryd Bayless on July 9, 2008. Diogu has posted averages of 5.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 177 games during his four-year NBA career.

First off, I want to say thanks for everyone that took the time to listen to our first podcast, which was posted last night. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to listen to it, don’t worry you can go back and access by clicking on “First Podcast!” in the previous posts section.

Goose and I would truly appreciate any feedback on the podcast. What did you like, what didn’t you like? We will try to improve on any discrepancies on the next one. If you don’t want to leave a comment on the blog, feel free to email me at and I will get back to you!

Oh and in unrelated news, in attempt to be as cool as me, Buhler started a blog, check it out when you get some time.

Trade Update

Well there hasn’t been anything revolutionary happen yet today. According to one source, Kirk Hinrich is the most likely Bull on the move, but it doesn’t involve Portland. Interesting.

Another nugget that was just broke on Blazers Edge is the fact that the Sacramento Kings Bobby Brown, and John Salmons will not be playing in tonight’s game versus the Hawks. Could this mean a trade has been submitted to the league? I will keep you posted on this as more information becomes available.

ESPN’s JA Adande says that although the New Jersey Nets are downplaying the fact that they are shopping Vince Carter, he is still very much in play.

Quite simply, the Nets "want off Vince," one general manager said said.

Carter is due $16.3 million next season and $17.3 million in 2010-11 (likely taking any team with him on the roster out of play for the 2010 free-agent derby).

But don't be surprised if Carter, a 10-time All-Star, doesn't bring back All-Star talent in return -- especially if a trade with Portland for Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract and Travis Outlaw goes down.

"It comes down to New Jersey giving Vince away," another GM said. "They're hemorrhaging money."

Although Devin Harris has surpassed Carter as the team's best player, Carter is still the biggest name, so at first glance trading him wouldn't make sense in a star-driven business. But as the general manager said, "They're not selling tickets anyway," and Carter isn't enough of a box office draw to cover his $15 million salary this season.

With a mediocre team playing in a lame-duck, 27-year-old stadium and ground yet to be broken on a new arena in Brooklyn, the Nets have averaged 14,805 fans per game this season. That ranks 25th on the league's attendance list.

"They're hurting," the second general manager said. "The league's hurting. The world's hurting."

Also according to ESPN’s Chris Brossard, the Bucks badly want to move Richard Jefferson, and most likely will.

As of right now, my feeling is that the Blazer’s will make a big trade involving Reaf’s expiring contract before the trade deadline. I also think it will be someone who we haven’t heard much about, or someone who has already been “ruled out” as a possibility. I think the market is to much in our favor for us not to find something we like. KP is just waiting until the last possible minute to pull the trigger just to make sure something better doesn’t come along.

What are your guy’s predictions?

In non-trade news, check out a great article today about Blazer’s president Larry Miller by the Oregonion’s Jason Quik. Check it out here.

Game Preview

Tonight’s game versus the Memphis Grizzles is one marked by the return of Darius Miles to the Rose Garden. How do you think he will be greeted? I think with boos, but is that justified? I am not going to lie, if I was going to the game I would probably boo him. Anyways, the Grizzles are the cellar dwellers (and yes I rhymed that on purpose) of the NBA. They have only won 15 games so far this season, but are a young team that shows some promise. OJ Mayo (Orange Juice Mayonnaise) has been having a great rookie season and is averaging 19.3 ppg for them. Another rookie, Marc Gasol, leads them in rebounds per game with 7.1. They have a very athletic and versatile swingman in Rudy Gay, and a couple PG’s in Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley rounding out the roster. Memphis only averages about 3 more possessions a game then the Blazers so the pace tonight should favor the Blazers. Memphis also is in the bottom 3rd of rebounding teams, which is another one of Portland’s strengths. If we do what we do well tonight, we should have no problem walking away with a win.

When I look at Memphis, I can’t help but think of how lucky we are to have such a stellar young team. We play 4 rookies significant minutes. Memphis, OKC, and Golden State are the only teams who are even close to as young as Portland, and each one of those teams is among the worst in the NBA. So to say that the Blazer’s are ahead of schedule is an understatement. So let’s all take stock of what these guys are doing out there and sit back and enjoy the ride instead of always criticizing them for not closing out a game, or not showing up against an elite team.

Good news is, the Blazers are expected to have Steve Blake back in the starting lineup for tonight’s game. Blake went through a full practice yesterday with no pain and seemed to be fine. I think after last time they are taking a cautious approach and are not going to bring him back too soon.

Oden however will not be able to go tonight after the swelling in his knee did not subside as much as anticipated. He is still questionable for Friday’s game and will be reevaluated before that game.

Keys to the Game

  1. Make Memphis Shoot Jumpshots
    1. We need to win the points in the paint battle tonight and not let Memphis get to the rim. Make them shoot contested jumpshots and lean on our superior rebounding.
  2. Play Our Game
    1. If we do what we do well, tonight’s game should be a breeze. We need to control the tempo, rebound, and hit open shots.
  3. Focus on the Game Rather Then the Trade Talk
    1. With all the trade talk swirling around, it would be hard to concentrate but that’s exactly what we have to do tonight.

Gambler’s Corner

Portland -11.5

Over/Under 194.5

I am going to take the Blazers and the under. I think Portland will come out refreshed and reenergized coming out of the all-star break. And I am sure Nate has relayed the importance of finishing this season strong, and that starts tonight.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

First Podcast!

Below is our first podcast. Click the link below to download it so you can listen to me and Goose talk about the Blazers while you run, work, or even shower?

Download Podcast

Check back for any breaking NBA trade news. Thanks guys!

Trade Day is Almost Here!

NBA Trade News

It was announced today that a trade between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Orleans Hornets happened today. The trade sends Tyson Chandler to the Thunder and the expiring contracts of Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox to the Hornets along with the rights to the Thunder’s 2nd round pick from 2008 Devon Hardin.

This move immediately makes OKC better, and they are really starting to look like an up and coming contender in the west. With a foundation of Durant, Westbrook, Green and Chandler they are poised to make some noise sooner then later. Not to mention the fact that they will still have about 8 million in cap room this summer to sign a free agent, and they have 5 first round picks in the next two years. You think the Blazers have assets…The thing that makes this sad though is the fact that they were just ripped from the city of Seattle and robbed us of some very promising I-5 battles in the near future.

The other side of the coin is what this does to the Hornets. Now many people think that this is going take them out of playoff contention, but I want to caution those people. Wilcox and Smith are no scrubs. Wilcox is a legitimate 14-7 guy and as any Blazer fan knows, Joe Smith has a deadly mid-range game to compliment his veteran savvy. While I agree that this takes them out of championship contention, I don’t think we can count them out of the playoffs quite yet.

Could this be the move that gets everyone else moving?

Raef’s Contract

I have been getting more then a few questions on what is so special about Raef’s contract and why it is such a topic of interest when it comes to making potential trades. Basically the idea behind trading Raef (or any expiring contract for that matter) is to give a team financial flexibility for a player of better talent. In Reaf's case, there is a huge push to trade him before the deadline because if we don't then we won't realize the full value of his expiring contract ($12.8 mil). The reason we wouldn’t realize the full value is because you cannot go over the salary cap to sign a free agent, but you can trade players that are within 125% + $100,000 of the same salary. So in our case we could trade for a player that makes $16.1 Million for Raef strait up. What makes Reaf’s contract even more valuable is that since he is hurt and out all season, insurance is paying 80% of his contract. Pile that on top of the fact that it is expiring and that is why everyone sweats it.

If we just let the contract expire, it comes off of our books, and right now as we are slated, we will be an estimated $7-$8 mil under the salary cap (the salary cap number is based off revenues and ticket sales throughout the league in the previous season, so it is expected to go down for the first time since there has been a salary cap in the NBA. The salary cap number is announced after the draft and before free agency (July 1st)). And that $7-$8 mil in space is based on the assumption that we renounce our rights (basically let them walk for nothing) to Frye and Diogu, and pick up the team options on Blake ($4 mil) and Outlaw ($3.7).

The reason so many teams want expiring contracts right now is because they are over what is called the luxury tax cap. There is a salary cap (Approx $59 mil) and a luxury tax line (Approx $71 mil). When a team exceeds the luxury tax line they have to pay dollar for dollar for every dollar they are over. This money is split 30 ways (for 30 teams) and each team under the luxury line is given 1/30th of league wide luxury tax paid. So when a team is over the luxury line, they not only have to pay an extra tax, but they miss out on getting paid their share of the luxury tax bonus.

So as you can see many fans think we should make a move right now and obtain full value for Reaf’s contract. However I am definitely not in the camp of we HAVE to make a trade to maximize Raef's contract. I think it is people over-reacting and assuming that just because Paul Allen is a billionaire, he likes losing money. We are in a postion of power. This is a buyer’s market and we have one of the, if not the most, coveted asset on the market right now. So I think unless the deal is perfect for us we should just stand pat, and see what we can swing in the summer.

Blazer Trade News

Chad Ford had some good stuff today on potential trades, and other information. Here is what he had to say about the Blazers:

Here's a look at what we're hearing:

The hottest name at the trade deadline? A guy who hasn't played a game this season: Raef LaFrentz of the Portland Trail Blazers.

"If you asked owners in the league who they'd rather have right now, LaFrentz or Stoudemire, I think more than half of them would prefer LaFrentz," one executive told me. "That's how screwed up this thing has been. I guarantee you [Blazers GM] Kevin Pritchard has gotten better offers for LaFrentz than the Suns have gotten for Stoudemire."

That might have been confirmed Monday when the Suns' interest in trading Stoudemire cooled dramatically. Some of that has to do with the hope that new coach Alvin Gentry will inject some life into the listless Suns. But much of it has to do with the fact that the Suns haven't gotten a great offer for Stoudemire.

Meanwhile, sources confirm that the Blazers have been getting a steady flow of offers for LaFrentz, including two significant new ones Monday.

The focus for the Blazers right now appears to be at the small forward position. It appears that three players -- Gerald Wallace, Caron Butler and Richard Jefferson -- are on Pritchard's radar screen. A fourth one, Mike Miller, is also a favorite of the Blazers, but the Wolves have been reluctant to include him in a deal.

Sources say the Blazers have intensified their focus on Wallace. He's young, athletic and physical, and he doesn't need to score to be an impact player. He has four years and $38 million left on his contract, which is a lot, but given his age and production the past few years, it's not unreasonable. The problem for the Blazers is that the Bobcats want Portland to take back Nazr Mohammed as part of the deal. That could be a deal-breaker for Pritchard.

Butler might be the best player of the group when he's healthy. He was an All-Star last year and is excellent in the mid-range game. He too has a reasonable contract, with just two years and $21 million left on his deal. But it's unclear what the Wizards would want in return and whether they'll ultimately opt to keep Butler and reevaluate the team when Gilbert Arenas returns. If the Wizards are to make such a deal, certainly they'll want the Blazers to take back Etan Thomas' contract, and they'll likely also demand one or two young players from the Blazers. That price might be too high for Portland.

Jefferson is the most available. The Bucks need to clear his salary from their cap if they're going to re-sign their two restricted free agents this summer: Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions. Sources say there have been conversations that have included both Jefferson and Milwaukee point guard Luke Ridnour, though the talk has quieted down. As a proven scorer and defender who's played in the NBA Finals, Jefferson has some appeal for the Blazers.

One wild card for the Blazers is Vince Carter. His contract is the most expensive of the group, but Carter has been fantastic this season and would give the Blazers the biggest bang of anyone out there. It appears unlikely the Blazers will go that direction, but New Jersey would certainly listen if Portland wanted to do a deal.

Chad goes on in another article to propose what he thinks the Blazers should do:

Trail Blazers send Raef LaFrentz, Sergio Rodriguez and Nicolas Batum to the Bobcats for Gerald Wallace and Sean May

View this deal in the ESPN Trade Machine

Why should the Blazers do it?
This is the perfect market for a team like Portland to pick up an excellent player without giving up much in return. Rodriguez and Batum have promise, but Wallace is the real deal. He would add the kind of toughness and versatility that could put the Blazers over the top.

Why should the Bobcats do it?
They are rebuilding this team in Larry Brown's image. This deal gives them some young talent, but more importantly some cap space. Given their recent moves, they could use it.

Will it happen?
The Blazers are in an enviable position. They have what might be the best asset in the NBA right now in LaFrentz's contract.

Sources say that they have their choice of Wallace, Richard Jefferson or Caron Butler if they're willing to send a few young players and LaFrentz's contract. Wallace, Jefferson and Butler all have their strengths, but for the Blazers' needs, I think Wallace is the best fit.

To be honest, not a big fan of that trade. Not a big fan of Wallace, the guy is constantly hurt. He gets hurt every year. And while he is very good while he plays, he sits out about 1/3 of every season.

Wallace games played by year:

08-09 = 41 (of 52) And counting.....he is still recovering from a broken rib and slightly collapsed lung

07-08 = 62 (of 82)

06-07 = 72

05-06 = 55

Not to mention the fact that Wallace has had 3 concussions and there is a very realistic possibility that if he gets another one he could be forced to retire. Plus not to mention the fact that Sean May hasn't played at all this year because he is too out of shape to stay on the court.

I just think Raef's contract is worth way too much to take a flyer on Wallace. We are in an extreme buyer's market and sit in a position of power, we should not have to compromise, we should just be able to pick which deal we want the most.

In my opinion the only player worth making a move for here is Caron Butler. But as Chad Ford points out in his chat, he will not come cheap.

Ralphie Bristol CT: Who do you expect Portland to end up with at SF? It seems like its gonna be Wallace, Butler, Jefferson or Carter going by what your article says.

Chad Ford: (1:05 PM ET ) Sounds like their primary target is Gerald Wallace. The problem is that Charlotte wants them to take back Nazr Mohammed in any deal. Richard Jefferson is an easier get, but he's got a bigger salary, is older and isn't as good of a defender. I think Caron Butler is the best fit, but I'm not convinced Washington will let him go. Vince Carter is intriguing, but you have to worry about chemistry a bit with him. Bottom line, I think the Blazers will do a deal and I think it will be something that lands them Wallace or Jefferson.

I think we will have to give up a lot to get Butler, like Bayless a lot. But then again I could be underestimating Washington's desire to get under the luxury tax and free up some money. To me, I like Butler, but I am not sure he is worth giving Bayless up for, that's tough for me. Because I like Batum a lot too, and in time I think he could be the answer at SF. Not to mention Martell when he comes back.

I have a feeling as the deadline nears, teams will get more and more desperate to make a trade to get under the tax line, and better offers will come across Portland’s plate. KP knows this and so if the Blazer’s do make a trade, don’t expect to be any earlier then Thursday at 10:30 AM Pacific time.

Hypothetical Trade

Simmons Trade

Yesterday on his podcast, Bill Simmons was throwing out random trade ideas, and one he brought up was bringing Mike Conley to Portland. He proposed this trade (Click to see it in ESPN’s trade machine):

Blazers Give: Jerryd Bayless, Ike Diogu, and the corpse of Reaf LaFrentz (with his amazing expiring contract)

Blazers Get: Mike Conley, Hakim Warrick ($2.2 mil expires this year), Darko Milicic ($7 Mil, expires next year), and Greg Buckner ($4 mil, expires next year).

Now while it is very hard for me as a Blazers fan to accept the idea of parting with Jay Bay Bay, I feel like this might be a good deal for Portland. Here’s why:

1. As anyone who has watched Greg Oden play this year, he doesn’t seem to carry himself like he used to when he was in college. He seems to be taking himself and basketball a little too serious, which is fine if you are Jerryd Bayless, but he is not. Oden is more Dwight Howard and Shaq. A gentle giant with a quick wit and an undeniable charisma. This is one of the reasons why we took Oden over Durant. But now, after missing his entire rookie season, and feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders, Oden has turned into a somber, sulking big man. Even my Mom, who is by no means a basketball analyst noticed it when we were watching a game together. Oden means so much to this team and has limitless potential, so wouldn’t you do everything possible to maximize his potential? I think bringing in Conley is a step in that direction. Yes Conley is a talented player in his own right, but the returns you could reap from Oden are worth giving away Bayless.

2. What else I like about this trade is that it basically way-lays Raef’s expiring contract to next year. And if you think teams are scrambling for expiring contracts this year, just wait until the trade deadline next year. With an amazing free agent class coming to fruition after the 2010 season (LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Joe Johnson, Dirk, and many more) teams are going to be doing all they can to get under the cap to sign these guys. This means talent at a discount, and as many of you have already stated, you are not wild about the talent available to us this year. So why not buy yourself some more time? Granted this move takes us out of the running for any free agents this summer (besides our mid-level exception), but I don’t think there is anyone out there that makes more sense then Conley and cap flexibility next year.

What do you guys think? Do you agree with me?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Trade Update, All-Star Weekend, & Misc. News

Trade Update

There is not much new on the trade front. The same names are popping up over and over again. There are talks of a deal with Milwaukie for Richard Jefferson and Luke Ridnour for Reaf, Sergio, and Outlaw. I am not too wild about this one, with the idea that we are giving up all of our financial flexibility just for Jefferson. While he is good, I am just not so sure he is the best we could get in this buyer’s market. If we use Raef’s contract I think we should really make a splash and get the ideal fit for us, otherwise just wait for it to expire and go into summer with 8 mil in cap space to wheel and deal.

Another rumor floating around was a deal for John Salmons, but this time for Channing Frye and possibly Sergio Rodriguez. This is somewhat appealing to me, but it does make me nervous thrusting Bayless into the fulltime backup PG position. But it would definitely be a vote of confidence in his direction. If we could get Salmons for just Frye and Sergio, then I say you have to pull the trigger, I am just not sure if they will give him up for that little.

All-Star Stuff

Well, Brandon Roy did it again. He had a great all-star game and ended with 14 points (7-8 FG), 5 boards, and 5 assists and 0 turnovers in 31 minutes. Roy was easily the most efficient player in the game, and a few writers acknowledged it. J.A. Adande gave Roy a B+ for his efforts on Sunday, along with’s Chris Mannix who wrote:
Typical Roy. He's the West's most efficient perimeter player and half the crowd didn't realize he was on the floor. Some day, when the Bryants and Shaqs are retired, Roy is going to get some much-deserved recognition. I think.

Unfortunately Rudy was not so lucky. I personally thought he got hosed by the judges when the decided before the thing even started that there was no way Rudy was going to win. I thought his first dunk was the most creative out of the entire group, but he still managed to get the lowest score? You can’t tell me that his behind the back, off the backboard dunk was worse then Nate Robinson jumping off of Wilson Chandler’s back (and by the way missing the first one). But yet, Nate’s got a better score. Ah well, I guess it’s all fun and games.

Misc. News

News broke that Oden suffered a chipped bone in his knee after colliding with Corey Maggette on Thursday night before the Rookie game. He is listed as day to day and it is unclear if he will be able to go for Wednesday’s nights game versus the Memphis Grizzles.

John Canzano actually wrote an article that I agree with.

With 3 days left before the trade deadline, I am sure rumors are going to start getting hot and heavy and I am excited to see which team makes a move next. Hold on, and I’ll keep you updated as soon as I hear anything!