Rose Garden Speculation

The buzz around the arena generally contradicts Chad Ford's earlier report from this afternoon that the Blazers are likely done trading.  

[Note (6:43PM): Ford has now updated his report to concur with the talk going on here in the building].  

Media sources inside the Rose Garden continue to believe something large is still in the works.  

One source noted his unusual inability to contact a go-to management source (even after the Ruffin/Diogu deal), speculating that his Blazers management contact was simply too busy dealing with offers to return phone calls and/or text messages.  This source also said that today's deal does not in any way impact the value that RLEC possesses in the eyes of other teams that are struggling financially.  "Other teams will call and call and call. They want that chip."

Another media source confirmed reports that Pritchard continues to field phone calls, concluding that you as a fan should "continue holding your breath until noon."  This same media member used the Salmons deal as evidence that RLEC will move.  "That's the package the Kings got for Salmons?  The Kings would have rather had RLEC and Salmons made sense here in Portland.  If Portland doesn't get Salmons, that's a signal they have something better on the table."  

The flipside to this line of reasoning, of course, is that it could be a signal that Portland wants to keep the salary relief for themselves.  Another caveat to the line of reasoning above: Chicago did take back Miller's contract.  Portland was not likely to do this.  Chicago did burden the Kings with Nocioni's extra-long deal, so it's not like the Kings maximized their ability to shed salary commitments.  The feeling is Portland could have made a much better offer for Salmons than Chicago ended up making, if Salmons was their target.

One other thing to keep in mind: Both Chad Ford and Ian Thomsen have written at some point that they believe Portland will probably stand pat with RLEC.  Those two guys are at or near the top with league-wide sources.

Kevin Pritchard was not courtside before the game, as he usually is.  No surprise there.

Whether the Blazers turn the phone calls into another move remains anyone's guess.

UPDATE:  A third media source checks in to add to the confusion, stating "Doing this minor deal and leaving it at that is straight out of the Kevin Pritchard and Tom Penn playbook. They move on from this deal with solid flexibility and do the heavy lifting when they prefer to do it -- around the draft or during the offseason."

UPDATE 2:

Here's Quick's very clean explanation of a trade exception

.Catching up on some internet rumors, here's Adrian W.'s take on Yahoo...

The Bucks have been engaged in talks with the Portland Trail Blazers about a package that would include Jefferson for the expiring contract of Raef LaFrentz and Travis Outlaw. The Cavaliers have been active in seeking talent to surround LeBron James for a title run.

The Blazers are also taking with the Nets about Vince Carter, an Eastern Conference official said. The proposed deal now is Carter, Maurice Ager and Chris Douglas-Roberts for LaFrentz, Outlaw and Sergio Rodriguez.

Here's Chad Ford's latest...

Another source also confirmed that the Blazers did make a call to the Bucks to renew discussions of a possible Jefferson for Raef LaFrentz swap. The two teams had spoken on and off about a deal for several weeks but the Bucks hadn't heard from them in recent days.

The Blazers, as of this evening, were also still trying to find a way to put together a better package for Gerald Wallace after the Bobcats turned down an preliminary LaFrentz for Wallace offer earlier in the day. The Bobcats would still like the Blazers to take back Nazr Mohammed or to throw Nicolas Batum into a deal.

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)

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