People, people! All this talk and it simply does not matter. It is so cool we have one of, maybe the most savvy GM in the NBA. Draft Day is coming. KP will answer our questions in ways that will likely surprise us all. Welcome to KP's Slapfest '09.
Since we do have KP, anything stated as fact below, such as a high likelihood of having to keep such and such player, assumes that KP will not intervene with his Supernormal Powers and get the team some giant upgrade.
It is fine to talk, fun to speculate. But several factors are missing from most if not all of the analyses I have read to date.
Regarding one Trout
Travis Outlaw is a role player. He is not a back-up PF. He is not a natural starter at any position. He has too many holes in his defense. He is not reliable (goofy). Travis is hot and cold. He brings potentially unstoppable scoring and a high level of activity off the bench. He is special enough in that role to merit keeping. This is how he should be viewed. Put him on the depth chart with an asterisk, as a rover.
Regarding the Back-Up PF
Okay, yes, Channing is all but gone. (And the forgettable bigs we acquired during '08 training camp don't effect any equations. Ugh.) If we spend another year without a banger, an enforcer and defensive rebounder, who can body other bigs, and maybe present a back-to-the-basket low post threat, we will have missed the boat. This need is screaming! KP, get us a game-changer back-up to LMA!
Regarding the PG Situation
Yes, Sergio does not fit Nate's system (and he bounces the ball around way too much, reminding me of Damon's bad college-shot-clock eating habit). But Bayless as yet does not fit Nate's system either! Jerryd is not a true PG and would get posted up by most shooting guards. But he might fit with Roy. Jerryd can guard other 1's. But we need him to improve his shooting so he presents a credible threat to sink outside shots. BOTH Sergio and Bayless could go. But since Bayless still has upside here, keeping him is worth the risk of losing perceived trade value. Sergio, as many have said, has no upside under Nate. That leaves Blake, and he could go, too.
Oft villified, Steve brings a lot. He is a fine if not brilliant passer with a great Assist-to-TO ratio. He does not use much shot clock, getting the ball to the next option very quickly. He shoots the 3 VERY WELL. He is a little slight. His defense could be better. And he is not much at pushing the tempo in the open court. He reminds me of Steve Kerr, also not a jumper. If I remember right, Kerr did alright playing alongside an incredible 2-guard they had in Chicago a while back. They won some titles, right? With the 2-guard handling the ball alot on offense, especially in crunch time.
So: Whatever your analyses, if you have us selling out for a PG who needs the ball, please help us understand where that leaves BRoy. Do we trade Brandon, since he won't be having the ball much on offense? Or do we start Rudy, and bring Brandon off the bench in the sort of role his friend Travis has now? Don't just quote from FantasyBob.com. Let us know how the player fits the team, the existing personnel, and makes us better, not just different.
Besides youth, what needs fixing in this group is defense and the ability to score going full court. If Bayless is truly an upgrade at the defensive end (we should not burden our bigs, especially Greg, with picking up so much of the slack), then maybe he is the PG of the future.
Regarding the Need to Trade Now or Lose Value
This is a myth. I don't believe it. In fact, I think it could not be more untrue.
Here is why. Look at the trade posts. They try to match salaries, right? Well, the young talent we have is relatively under paid. That is the effect of the rookie salary scale. We have rights to sign these players to contracts matching their abilities. Besides the luxury tax and any reticence from PA, there is nothing stopping that. If we have Martell and Travis and Batum at the 3, and in talent level they are worth a ton, but we have to match salaries to make a trade work, we need to give someone a two- or three-for-one on the talent scale for a probable slight upgrade at one position ... think a second, does this in any way sound like a KP move? No. It does not.
What would KP do? He would wait until his chips reflected their actual value or better before trading them. He would wait for his players to get paid what they are worth before he matches salaries with other teams in trading talent. In this regard, standing pat is waiting until your security matures so you don't pay a penalty for early withdrawal.
The Likelihood of Trading Injured Blazers
Martell missed a year with multiple foot surgeries. Blake just underwent shoulder surgery. Oden is not yet 100% after micro-fracture knee surgery. How likely is it that we can get near-full-value value for these players in a trade? Please consider this is your analysis of trades involving these players before they have demonstrated a full recovery, meaning after they've played at least some pre-season games. That timing seems to be a real problem for many trade scenarios I have seen discussed.
Like everyone else, I would like to see upgrades in personnel. In KP I trust. And it is a truism that it does not matter how deep your bench is if your starters can't compete with the opposing starters. And I will entertain the idea that we should make the move now to acquire that key player so that we can get settled into the team we will become as we start our series of championship runs.
However, think about this: If we make a big move now, trading two- or three-for-one, we lose flexibility AND we lose value. We need to know if Martell will pan out. We need more time to evaluate how good Oden and LMA will get to understand what our needs will be. We need to know what holes need to be filled before we start filling them. (Please consider this when offering Joel in a trade -- I say we keep them both.) The team is closer. Fix what's broken and the maturation of your investment will give you the value you need to get any missing pieces at the least cost in talent.
Unless you are KP. Then do whatever you want.
Have a great Draft Day '09!