This post could be subtitled: Or how I learned to second guess and love hindsight.
I'm going to use Sergio Rodriguez as a case study here, but I would also toss out that players like TO, Martell, Channing, Rudy, and possibly even G.O. could be added to the list.
I remember Sergio's breakout game against the nuggets a couple years back. I think he had 22 points and 11 assists. I don't want to speak for everyone, but everyone was starting to think that this guy was going to be the next Nash. I mean, Nash can't play D either. He had the flare, the vision, and the playmaking ability that made fans scream for more. His play also made the front office's phone lines burn up with interest from other squads.
A decision was made, and Sergio remains a Blazer.
This season, Sergio has played well, but I don't think anyone would argue that his ceiling is as high as people had originally thought. I hear people say that they would be pleased if he's shore up his defense and develop a consistent outside shot. Maybe I'm wrong, but wouldn't that make Steve Blake 2.0? It might as well.
So now, I'm at the point where I'm asking, "What is Sergio's trade value now compared to his surprising (albeit short) razzle-dazzle rookie season?" Off the top, I'd say that it's less today than it was two seasons ago, though I'd be open to a counter argument.
If his trade value is indeed lower, than we should figure out if we are still better off not making the trade. Does the potential to be a special player always outweigh the possibility that he won't be?
Channing Frye had a great rookie season, and from what I remember, he was essentially labeled 'untouchable' by the Knicks front office. After a less than impressive second season, the knicks decided to cut their losses and deal Frye to us. What's Frye's trade value now? (that's rhetorical. i know it's nothing)
How many players have good rookie seasons, followed by weak second and third seasons, only to raise again and have great NBA careers. A handful.
All the players I listed at the beginning of this post could have already peaked in terms of their trade value. Does the fact that a player's trade value is at its highest point mean that a deal should be made? Of course not. But if you are going to trade a player, doesn't it make sense to get maximum value?
Finally, I suppose most fans would say that hanging on to a potentially good player is worth it, even if a trade is passed up, because that is how you find great players in this league. Jermaine O'neal is the textbook example of this. But while most people would say that getting rid of J.O. was the mistake that needed to be made so we would learn our lesson, I would say that maybe it's time we started roll the dice a little bit again. How long are we going to let our lives be run by this decision made by a former employee almost a decade ago?
Just because the trade for Double D didn't work out for us doesn't mean that similar moves are always going to be bad. In fact, considering how many of the blazers 'special young talents' are late first-round picks, I would say that if we traded one or two of these guys while their value is high, we might be able to sucker some teams into giving us a great deal for a player who will never turn out.