Brian T. Smith
interviews Blazers VP of Basketball Operations Tom Penn about the addition of Shavlik Randolph. Smith writes...
Blazers forward Shavlik Randolph, who was signed to a non-guaranteed contract Wednesday, was acquired by the Blazers with the team's second NBA hardship exemption. Randolph can remain with the team until injured players Rudy Fernandez and Nicolas Batum return.
Smith also posted this welcome-back interview with Shavlik
As Tom Penn mentions in his interview with Smith, the contract guarantee deadline complicates this situation. Joe Freeman writes today
that "it seems likely that Randolph won’t last past Jan. 6 with the Blazers."
Yes and no. It's unlikely (not impossible) that the Blazers went through all of this shuffling only to rent Shavlik Randolph for the 4 games between today and January 6.
The cheapest, most flexible approach for the Blazers regarding Randolph would be to waive him on January 6 and then re-sign him to a 10 day contract (or two) after he clears waivers, as they monitor the rehabilitations of Rudy Fernandez and Nicolas Batum. This approach would prevent the Blazers from paying Randolph a guaranteed contract while also extending his stay in Portland longer than just 4 games.
As for the other hardship exemption, the best strategy would seem to be to wait until after January 10th no matter what, otherwise they'll have to waive that player to avoid guaranteeing his contract.
After January 10, the Blazers can re-assess their team health/needs, Randolph's contributions, and the rehabilitiations of Rudy Fernandez and Nicolas Batum.
One possible scenario for the second hardship exemption if Randolph succeeds in contributing: the Blazers could continue to re-apply for their second hardship exemption until Randolph plays through two 10-day contracts, or roughly the first week of February. At that point, the Blazers would have to guarantee Randolph's salary through the rest of the season; this is unlikely given that they have to waive him as soon as Fernandez and Batum come back. Instead of guaranteeing Randolph, they could let him go and use their other hardship exemption to sign another big man for up to two 10 day contracts, which would take the team through most of February. At that point, both Fernandez and Batum will likely be back.
The end result of this scenario would be renting a 16th body (first Shavlik, then the other player) for roughly two months without shelling out any guaranteed money.
It goes without saying that all of this is predicated on no other Blazer getting injured for an extended period of time. So knock on your wood.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter