Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Kidd Trade

Yahoo has reported a possible three-way trade involving the Nets, Blazers, and Mavericks, and Henry over at True Hoop has done a terrific job of breaking it all down.

Like Henry, I'm a vocal Blazers fan and my first instinct was to analyze this trade from Portland's perspective. I know that many in P-Town are kind of freaking out about this deal, because it involves sending Travis Outlaw to the Nets. Look, I'm the biggest Outlaw fan there is (seriously, when we watch Blazers games and Outlaw scores, my brother looks over, nods, and says, "Nice, you're boy just scored." People actually call me now when he has a big night or hits a game-winning shot. So I'm the last person who wants to see Outlaw traded. That said, Devin Harris is a unique player. He has great hands, tremendous quickness, and an innate ability to get to the rim. Once he stops trying to take so many charges (thereby avoiding foul trouble), he's going to be a true game changer. And for all the chatter about Dallas (and therefore Harris) being unable to defend big guards (like Baron Davis), the truth is that small guards still run the West. Aside from Deron Williams or Baron (both of whom could be checked by Brandon Roy), who is Harris going to be guarding? Last time I checked, it was a bunch of little guys named Nash, Paul, Parker, and Iverson. (Seriously, go through every team in the West and try to find a backcourt that Harris/Roy couldn't adequately defend. Utah is the only team that can go really big, but Brewer isn't an offensive threat. You know what, I'll spare you the trouble. Expect that to be my next post.)

Additionally, I believe Harris fits better into the big picture in Portland than Outlaw, Frye, or Jack (the three guys rumored to be traded). Jack doesn't fit at all. Frye is giving them good minutes but clearly has a ceiling and is going to be the odd man out next year when Oden comes back. And while Outlaw - as Henry pointed out - clearly retains value on this roster going forward, I worry that he could stunt Aldridge's development. Portland's best shot at winning a title is giving their own version of the "Big Three" (Roy, Oden, and Aldridge) maximum breathing room. Several months ago I marveled at Outlaw's play and decided that Portland had to include him in its long-term plans. That said, if they want to play a shooter (Webster or Jones) at the 3 (and I think they do), then it means Outlaw will be getting most of his minutes at the 4. Thus, at the expense of Aldridge. And that just won't work, because Aldridge needs to be a 35 mpg, 18-22 ppg, 10-12 rpg guy - a poor man's Tim Duncan. Titles are going to be decided by his growth and evolution. And if Outlaw is going to crowd that development by virtue of his own spirited play, then Portland might have to move him simply to prevent the logjam.

If all that is true, then why not trade Outlaw when A) his value is sky high and B) a terrific point guard can be acquired in the process? It's a genius move. Blake is a nice piece and Sergio (or Taurean Green) may very well pan out, but Portland is shaping up to be a title contender in the next three years. Doesn't it make sense to aggressively seek out the needed point guard now? It's not like they are getting Derrick Rose in the next draft or something.

Oh, and one other thing. The Blazers have Rudi Fernandez stashed overseas and he's going to need minutes at the 3 when he comes over and does his Manu Ginobili impersonation, so dealing Outlaw opens things up there as well. I always thought the Blazers had all the needed pieces to be The Next Spurs, with one lone exception: their version of Tony Parker (Sergio was always a stretch). Now they have all the key ingrediants and the chance to roll out the following roster:

PG - Devin Harris
SG - Roy
SF - Webster/Jones
PF - Aldridge
C - Oden
6th - Fernandez
B - Webster/Jones
B - Blake
B - Prezbo (I've decided to give Przybilla this nickname in honor of The Wire)
B - McRoberts/Green/Player X

Ladies and Gents, I present your 2010 NBA Champions.

As for the Nets, this trade makes quite a bit of sense as they get to start over.

But the Mavericks? I have no idea why they would make this deal. Harris is the right guy to man the point for them already and Kidd is just going to bring his nasty jump shot, bloated turnover stats, and inability stay in front of any guard under the age of 35 to Dallas and bog down a sneaky good Mavericks team. They lose financial flexibility, speed, youth, and Jerry Stackhouse's bench scoring. Honestly, I have no clue why they would make this trade.

Luckily, I'm a Blazers fan.

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