Like a moth to the flame, like yin to yang, I find myself typing the words. As Dave pointed out, for every trade proposal, there are immediate comments that the Blazers should go forward as is. I believe I'm one of the chief offenders at this.
But there is a reason. Actually, several.
1) 54 wins isn't the cap on this team.
If you think otherwise, then by all means, read no further. It does seem odd if you do believe that, however, given the fact that the Blazers played with the youngest playing rotation in the league, and still have every significantly contributing player under contract for next year. Young players on good teams typically don't regress early on. (Sorry, Channing.)
Also, one win. ONE. Seperated the Blazers from the 2nd seed in the West. Obviously there's no way to know what the win column is going to look like next season, but it stands to reason that whoever makes it to the Playoffs in the West will be a good team, One-seed to Eight-seed. That means that one more win could again make all the difference.
2) Channing's departure opens significant minutes.
Travis Outlaw was most effective this year when he was playing the Power Forward position. Canning Frye played 746 minutes this season (sure, a few monstrously innefective minutes at Center) which means that with his (presumed) departure that's about 700 minutes that Outlaw can play at Not-Small-Forward. Opening up time for both Webster and Batum. LaMarcus is already locked in for 30+ minutes per night.
3) Last year's rotation was too much.
Minus Ruffin, Shav, Frye, and (presumably) Sergio, and taking nothing back, the Blazers have 10 players out of 11 who I estimate played about 85-90% of the minutes last season. A lot of teams don't go as far as 10 men in a game in the first place. Even if you have two good young players, splitting their minutes won't make either of them happy, or produce like you'd want. I believe Dave made this point as well. But the Blazers won't have that problem next year, even if they keep their draft pick.
- PG: Blake/
- SG: Roy/Rudy/(Batum)
- SF: Webster/Batum/(Rudy/Roy/Outlaw)
- PF: Aldridge/Outlaw/(Draft Pick?)
- C: (Przybilla/Oden)/Aldridge
We woudn't have the Attack of the Clones problem at power forward anymore, minutes are opened up for everyone, and best of all, every player gets enough minutes to contribute. Logic suggests that another year together will help improve the defensive side of the ball significantly as well, especially because in this scenario, you use Batum as your "attack dog" on defense, spotting him up on K*be, Melo, Wade, Parker, etc.
4) Free Agents aren't free.
I'm not totally against signing a free agent. But what's the long-term cost? Yes, there's Paul Allen, who we all know will go over the cap if he thinks a championship is close. But there is also the question of how much, and for how long.
Also, look at the crop of Free Agents out there. Do any of them excite you? I mean... REALLY excite you to the point where you're having dreams playing in a Blazer uniform? If so, I'm sure your comment will be below shortly. For myself, I look at this crop and go... "Meh." None of them has that ring of "Instant Contender" Especially when you can look ahead one year and see 2010 ripening on the vine.
5) There's still time to the next Trade Deadline.
The Blazers have everyone of consequence under contract for this upcoming season, and on a team that finished with 54 wins, that has to be nearly unheard of. Why not let it play out for a little longer? Do you really think Rudy's value is as high as it's going to be? Do you really think Travis couldn't be marketed a little bit next season to regain the value he lost during the playoffs? The NBA is still experiencing the shockwaves of the economy, and probably will for a while longer yet. Teams that think they'll be contenders next year will fall off the table, and then start looking to trade, usually at a better value. Making a trade right now seems premature to me, unless it's of the blockbuster variety. There's nothing wrong with those, but they don't come along very often, and it could come at any time. Suffice it to say, I'm not holding my breath. The Blazers could well use #24 and Sergio to aquire a guy like James Jones. Not expensive, but he was a great asset while he was here.