Monday, June 02, 2008

Blazer Blueprint

In the midst of Lakers-Celtics mania, I can't stop thinking about ... the Blazers!

Okay, in all seriousness, it has more to do with the 19-day layoff between the conference finals and the duel for the grand prize, but either way, my mind has wandered back to my favorite team and what they should do next.

Without diving into all the nuanced information regarding salary structures and player availability, I believe I have stumbled onto a blueprint for my hometown team. Consider:

Move #1 - Trade blogging All-Star Channing Frye, Jarrett Jack, Sergio Rodriguez, and Josh McRoberts to Miami for Udonis Haslem. All the fodder is required to make the numbers work, but the deal is excellent for both teams. Portland can clear some roster sports for Rudy Fernandez and their upcoming draft picks and get a veteran big man to add to the rotation for next year in the process. Haslem is a hard worker, a solid rebounder, and can knock down the 15-footer, which means he's perfect to play between Roy and Oden. As for the Heat, they would get a young big man to throw in their frontcourt mix with Michael Beasely and could add Jack to the backcourt with Wade.

Move #2 - (This one's a stretch) Trade LaMarcus Aldridge and the #13 pick for the rights to the #1 pick (and whoever has to be thrown in to make the numbers work). With this pick, the Blazers could select Derrick Rose ... and be set for the next decade. Chicago should be uneasy about drafting the hometown hero when they so badly need a post presence and are about to play sloooooooooooow ball under Doug Collins. Adding Aldridge to their young roster makes all the sense in the world and still gives them the #13 pick to play with. As for Blazers fans who would argue against dealing Aldridge, let me just say that the power forward pool is a lot deeper in the next two free agent classes. Plus, Rose is insanely good.

Move #3 - (Another stretch) Trade Travis Outlaw and Joel Przybilla for Tayshaun Prince. We are already starting to hear the whispers in Detroit that change is coming. Prince has the most years left on his deal and is coming off a career-worst series against Boston that maybe, just maybe, gives Portland a shot to snatch him up. Prince is the ideal guy to play the 3 for the Blazers, while Detroit could start turning the reins over to Rodney Stucky, Outlaw, Jason Maxiell, and Amir Johnson, with Billups, Sheed, and Rip still on board to give them one more shot at a title next year. I know this one is unlikely, but it is also the least necessary.

Move #4 - Make a play for Boozer in '09 or Amare in '10. Two massive free agent classes are on the horizon and both are loaded with power forwards. Part of my rationale for moving Aldridge is that you don't want to have a logjam at the position when a franchise free agent becomes available. Portland is set to have plenty of cap space in either of those two summers (a loose estimate puts them about $22 million under in 2009, before loading up the young guys with extensions - even with Prince's $8.5 million). I don't know if Portland can preserve that cap space until 2010, but if they can, Amare could be ripe for the picking. He has an opt-out year that summer and is not being paid the max. Plus, the Suns will be on the way down (way down) by then while the Blazers are jousting with the Lakers for Western Conference supremacy. I feel it in my bones - Amare in Portland!

Okay, maybe not. Which is why Carlos Boozer could be such a nice prize next summer. He's also making less than the max and has an opt-out year, so he could be on the move. I suspect the Jazz will get him paid up, but you never know - they seem pretty down on him these days. In Portland, Boozer wouldn't be asked to man the block (on either end of the floor) - just rebound and hit 15-footers.


The net effect of these moves is the following:

PG - Derrick Rose
SG - Brandon Roy
SF - Tayshaun Prince (or Outlaw)
PF - Udonis Haslem
C - Greg Oden
6th - Rudy Fernandez
B - Steve Blake
B - Martell Webster
B - James Jones
B - Big Man TBD (2nd round pick - or Prezbo)

PG - Rose
SG - Roy
SF - Prince (or Outlaw)
PF - Carlos Boozer/Amare Stoudemire
C - Oden
6th - Rudy
B - Blake
B - Webster
B - TBD (or Prezbo)

How does that team NOT win a title?

(If you answered either "The Lakers" or "Those deals would never happen in a million years," well, shut up.)


Anonymous said...

By 2010 Shaq is gone and so is the $20 million per year contract. So the Suns should have the resources to keep Amare. That is if hes improved his play on the defensive side of the court, or put enough defenders around him to stop exposing this weakness.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a big fan of PFs who don't play defense, like Amare and Boozer. Bad perimeter defense hurts your team, but I think bad interior defense kills it.

Plus, I think there's not enough shots for Amare/boozer, Oden, Roy, and Rose.

I like your 2008 version of the team better than the 2010, in other words.

Brandon said...

Boozer certainly wasn't hitting 15-footers for the Jazz in the playoffs this year.

But by all means, if you want a guy who doesn't play defense, is soft going to the hoop, slow laterally, and gets the easy rebounds, go for Booz.

We'll take Aldridge in exchange for him.


jsuns1 said...

I'm a suns fan, but I live in Dallas. I'm starting to lean towards becoming a portland fan and less and less of a suns fan. I still have hope for the suns, but there's such excitement about portland (in my view) that I'm going to get nbalp (nba league pass) just to watch the suns and portland next yr. Oden is going to be a lot of fun to watch...

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