FanPost

On Dec. 15, Brandon Bass will be traded; will the Blazers get him?

When Brandon Bass signed with the Orlando Magic as a free agent this summer, he was expecting to get more minutes than he had in Dallas.  In retrospect, that wasn't a very good call.  While Bass got some playing time early in the season, during Rashard Lewis' suspension, he's been riding the pine since Lewis' return.  With both Lewis and Ryan Anderson ahead of him in the rotation, Bass has racked up two straight DNPs (and he only got Bayless-like minutes in the few games before that).  The problem is that Bass doesn't really fit Stan Van Gundy's 4-gunner strategy.  Both Lewis and Anderson can hit threes and spread the floor.  Bass is a decent shooter, but he doesn't have that kind of range.

Still, it's crazy for an established power forward of Bass' skill level to be rotting away on the bench.  That's why I'm absolutely confident that, barring injury to either Lewis or Anderson, Bass will be traded as soon as he's eligible, which is December 15.  As that date approaches, Orlando's front office will receive inquiries and trade offers from a number of teams, and I'm pretty confident the Blazers will be one of them (the Blazers tried to sign Bass during the off-season).  It will be a bidding war and I suspect that Orlando will quickly pull the trigger on the best offer they receive. 

So what exactly are they looking for?  Orlando has two needs.  The most obvious is temporary help at PG in light of Jameer Nelson's injury.  The intensity of this need will depend on how Nelson's recovery progresses over the next few weeks.  Their other need is for an upgrade at backup SF (currently Matt Barnes).  Ideally, Orlando would like a good wing defender who can hit threes. 

So what do the Blazers have to offer?  Well, two weeks ago, this would have been an easy question.  With both Jameer Nelson and Travis Outlaw healthy, I think both Orlando and Portland would have readily agreed to a Bass for Outlaw swap.  Outlaw can play SF and would fit with Orlando's system.  Bass would be a good value in exchange for Outlaw's expiring contract.  But an injured Outlaw is of little use to Orlando.  

With Nelson's injury, however, Steve Blake may be exactly what Orlando's looking for.  Blake is the perfect stop-gap at PG.  He's an experienced starting PG who can hit threes and whose contract is expiring.  His salary also exactly matches Bass's.  While I think Orlando would readily agree to a Blake for Bass swap, I think the Blazers would be hesitant.  For whatever reason, McMillan is very high on Blake and seems to consider him integral to his rotation.  Roy is also very attached to Blake.  Personally, I think a Blake for Bass trade would be healthy for the Blazers in the long run.  It would give us a much needed post-scoring threat and would force Roy to learn how to play with Miller (who is better than Blake).  But, alas, I'm not running the show here.

The other obvious trade chip is Bayless.  Though Bayless has not yet proven himself to be an outside shooter, Orlando might be willing to gamble on his upside.  It would likely depend on what other offers they were getting for Bass.  From a Blazer perspective, trading Bass for Bayless would obviously help in the near term given how little Bayless is being utilized.  I'm not sure I'd make that move, though.  I'm still of the opinion that Bayless will be a very good NBA player if given the chance.  I'd rather clear room to move him into our rotation.

And finally, there's always the option of offering Andre Miller for Bass (to make it work, Orlando would need to use its trade exception or throw in someone else), though I think that's not such a good trade for either team.  Miller doesn't fit as well with Orlando's style and his contract is larger and longer-term (though he would be good at feeding Dwight Howard).  And from the Blazers persective, I'm still not ready to give up on the Miller experiment.  Moreover, if we're going to trade him, we may be able to get someone better than Bass.

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