Unsigned draft picks: Meet our "third team"

Since there is little current news to discuss about right now, here is a short scouting report on the Portland Trail Blazers' current unsigned draft picks (not including Petteri, who is short of making the roster and has been discussed a lot lately). Why did I get this idea? Cause I saw Rudy play (rather poorly) against Argentina in a test game for the Olympics and realized we have two potential Blazers in that matchup.

Now let's meet our "third team" (here is some music if you want to imagine them running out on the court - though I think the Heat are using this):



As guard, Doron Sheffer (36, Israel), drafted 36th in the 1996 NBA draft (trade with Clippers). Value: Former teammate of Ray Allen with the UConn Huskies, member of their "All Century Team". Former player for European powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv. Now really none (retired).


As forward, Marcelo Nicola (37, Italy/Argentina), drafted 50th overall in the 1993 NBA draft. Yes, we are a little short on guards here. Value: Former All-Euroleague second team and national player for Argentina. Now also none (retired).


As small forward, Guillermo Federico Kammerichs (28, Germany/Argentina), drafted 51st in 2002. Value: 6 years of experience in Spanish ACB and a Spanish minor league. Now apparently back in his home country. Current national player for Argentina (bench but on Olympics team, take that Sergio). And maybe the mustachio gets cool again (video) ;-)



As power forward, Joel Freeland (21, UK), drafted 30th in the 2006 NBA draft. Value: Two years of experience in the Spanish ACB playing for Gran Canaria. Summer league. Ultimate value yet to be determined once he gets more minutes again on a solid team. Extremely quick and highly coordinated for a big man, with a good shot, yet a little skinny. His potential has been compared to David Lee prior to the draft.



As center, Nedzad Sinanovic (25, Bosnia-Herzegovina), drafted 54th in the 2003 NBA draft. Value: Experience in Bosnia, Belgium, Spain (Real Madrid) and German Bundesliga (Cologne). Last season not very impressive with 6 ppg, 4 rpg. And wohoo, he is 7'3" (but no he is not the next Sabonis despite having the same size)!


Now what could we do with them?

Unsigned draft picks of course can be traded alone or as part of a larger deal (no cap value), most recently e.g. Marc Gasol to Memphis in the trade for his brother. And it was also just demonstrated that due to obscure rules it's sometimes useful to have the rights to guys who didn't officially retire with the league (Aaron McKie in the same trade, Keith Van Horn in the Jason Kidd trade). But that requires somebody who played a number of years in the NBA before, and would be eligible for a substantial "veteran's salary" in order to make sense for inclusion in a trade as an "expiring contract". Thus the later option does not apply to any of them.


So what's the point of having two retired unsigned draft picks who will never ever play in the NBA? Did no GM clean the books?

Obviously the jury is still out on Joel Freeland, at some point in the future he might be able to come over. But who expects Kammerichs and Sinanovic to play for the Blazers in the future if they couldn't make the jump to the NBA yet? Wouldn't it make more sense to try and trade the two guys for another second round pick? Some team might have use for a white stiff giant, and unlike Morrison our "Stache" actually can be seen playing on a pro basketball court.


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