Tres Joel-ie?

Included in our Big List of Things That Have Changed Now should be the position and fate of one Joel Przybilla.  He may not be as sexy a topic as the point guards or young wings but his importance to the team may turn out to be just as big.  Which begs the question...what is his importance to the team now?

The team signed him to a deal last summer that runs through 2011.  Next year's salary will be around $5.8 million.  The contract peaks in its final year at a shade over $7.4 million.  When he signed the contract I felt strongly that it was a good deal whether Joel ended up starting or coming off the bench.  That's an incredibly cheap salary for a quality starting center in the NBA.  It's not wholly unreasonable for a good backup either.  (And it usually pays to have depth with your big men.)  Of course this assessment was well before...

A.  He averaged 2 points and 4 rebounds for the season.

B.  He missed 39 games.

And...

C.  We got the chance to draft Greg Oden.

Is my assessment still accurate now?  What is Joel's fate and what factors govern it?  How do Oden, Durant, Zach, and Lamarcus factor in?  Can this team rely on Joel and if so in what role?  If we do draft Oden is Joel trade bait?  (I have a funny feeling about Philadelphia and have for a while.)  How much has changed now and in what ways?

Make free with your opinions and ideas below.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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