Alright, here we go:
Step 1: The good old standby, with a minor tweek. We trade Blake and Sergio to Chicago for Hinrich. This saves Chicago a lot of money, and they get to fill their backup PG spot at the same time with a more reasonable contract. Now, I'd expect Chicago to waive Blake after this trade and keep Sergio, since Blake is payed $4 million and Sergio is payed ~$1 million.
I moved Travis Outlaw to this trade to give Chicago the same flexibility. This is slightly overpaying for Hinrich now, but it's under the assumption that Chicago plans to not guarantee Blake.
- Steve Blake
- Sergio Rodrigez
- Travis Outlaw
- Cap Space
+ Kirk Hinrich
Step 2: Waive rights to Frye, LaFrenz, Ruffin, Shavalik. This clears our maximum realistic cap of about $9.2 million.
- Channing Frye
- Shavalik Randolph
- Michael Ruffin
- Raef LaFrenz
+ Cap Space
Step 3: We use the #24 pick to draft a backup PF, something like Hansborough, Mullins, etc.
+ Rookie PF
Step 4: We do a S&T with Toronto. Webster, Cap Space and a 2009 2nd for Marion. (I expect people from both parties won't like this trade, but I think it's a definite improvement, and helps both teams.) Marion's contract would be something like 3-4 years, $25 million (~$8.3 million per). The thing I like about this for Toronto is that it gives them flexibility, rounds out some corners, and gives them value. Webster is both a shooter and defender... both things Toronto lacks. We also give Toronto about $4 million in cap space.
- Martell Webster
- 2009 2nd Rounder
- Cap Space
+ Shawn Marion
Step 5: Sign both Roy and Aldridge to extensions. Roy at the max (unless for some reason he wants to take less to give the team flexibility... which incidentally isn't something I'd hope for, he deserves to get paid), and Aldridge at about $10 million per. This effectively kills capspace in 2010, but really, who was Portland going to get instead of Roy or Aldridge in 2010 anyway?
- 2010 Cap Space
+ 2010 Brandon Roy
+ 2010 Lamarcus Aldridge
Step 6: Use our remaining cap to re-sign the recently waived Steve Blake to a 3 year $4 million per contract, with the fourth year unguaranteed (like currently). This would mean that at age 32, we'd basically have a team option on Blake. I expect a lot of criticism for this move, especially since it depends on Chicago waiving him after the trade (although that seems like a no-brainer to me with the trade I proposed), but I think this is a great move with the remaining cap space that is guaranteed to not make us worse, and is likely to make us much better. After this trade, we no longer have appreciable cap space.
- Cap Space
+ Steve Blake
Step 7: We bring Ime Udoka back for the vet min (which you can do regardless of your cap). Ime was a fan favorite while he was here, is at worst an average defender, has plenty of experience, and would help round out the 3 spot really well.
- Cap Space
+ Ime Udoka
Step 8: We bring over Joel Freeland to play in the US and fill some minutes at PF if needed. Most likely he'd spend next season in the D-League, but he has been solid in Europe this last year, showing marked improvement, and this could be our last year to bring him over. Serviceable big men will always be valued in the league.
Final Position for 2009 - 2010 season: After this series of moves, none of which I feel are far fetched, Portland would be in prime position to push for the ring next year, and every year after for quite some time. It also positions Portland with a very high quality team at a very cheap price.
The two trades, Hinrich and Marion, have been talked about, although I don't think I've seen the scenarios I outlined tried. Regardless, I like the look of this roster:
PF: Aldridge/Marion/Rookie PF/Freeland
All for about $59 million in 2009 and about $69 million in 2010.
Well, fire away.
Corrected for contract realities and CBA quirks.