Like many Blazer fans who began to speculate about who Kevin Pritchard was referring to in his conversation with Canzano at the Saturday Market, I've been trying to think of every imaginable scenario that would A) Put us in the conversation to be championship contenders, B) Fit the culture KP has managed to create here in Portland, C) Make sense to the other team, and D) Fall into the category of "Man, seriously, if you only knew who I was talking about."
I've seen many people throwing out names like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, K-be Bry-nt, and even Lebron James. I have a hard time imagining those players going anywhere in a trade...especially when you consider how much value their respective NBA franchises stand to lose if those players leave.
I imagine that many of you who have clicked on this link have already formulated arguments as to why "Duncan doesn't fit our timeline," or "Lamarcus is young and is only tapping his potential". Well I must say that I tend to agree with you. And, that is where this all takes an interesting twist. If in fact KP was referring to Duncan in his conversation with Canzano, and that is a HUGE if, it isn't because Duncan is his target...it's because KP's real target is Tony Parker. The key to getting Tony Parker, I believe, is to take back Tim Duncan, and help restock San Antonio's roster with some young promising players, better contracts, and free agent opportunities.
Quite frankly, San Antonio is in a bad spot. They are a team that was/is designed to win now with an abundance of aging players, and they faded towards the end of the season. Losing Ginobolli for the playoffs was obviously a big part of that, but I'm not convinced he puts them over the top anyway. I also think San Antonio is losing the appeal of a place where veterans are willing to take a pay cut and try to win a title. I may be wrong in this thought, but I don't think I am. So why would San Antonio do a deal with us?
Duncan is scheduled to make around $20 Million over each of the next 3 seasons and Parker is scheduled to make around $13 Million over each of the next 2. Since I don't see San Antonio getting any better (and only getting older), what is the point of keeping them around? That's what the Sonics/Thunder did with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Even though those guys have gone on to both reach the NBA finals, we've got to remember that they are both the 3rd option on their respective teams. Suddenly, the Thunder are supposed to be a fun and exciting team that's up and coming.
Portland has some guys that San Antonio wants. We know for sure that San Antonio recently wanted Przybilla as they tried to sign him. We know that they wanted Batum, but KP snatched him away. I'm sure they would be more than happy to have Aldridge, who is due to be an all star for the better part of the next decade. In fact, they probably like players like Rudy, Bayless, and Outlaw too.
So why not make a deal if it makes sense for both teams? Contrary to what some might say, The Blazers do have the ability to match salaries under the current CBA, as they can still use Raef LaFrentz in a sign and trade, and could probably somehow do an extension on Lamarcus' contract as well. Raef would be making some darn sweet money for 1 year as a Keith Van Horn type of throw in, but I could see San Antonio paying the salary for a year, if in the end it removes the financial obligation of paying for Duncan and Parker's big contracts over the next 3 years. It would be like what we did with Steve Francis when we traded Zach Randolph away. Plus, when Duncan gets to be about 36-37, we could then slightly retool our roster with his $21 Million Dollar expiring contract, and THAT COULD EXTEND OUR CHAMPIONSHIP WINDOW TO AS LONG AS IT MIGHT BE IF WE JUST STAND PAT NOW. The deal would have to include Aldridge, Batum, one of (Blake or Bayless), one of (Przybilla or Rudy) and some draft picks. We'd have to throw in what San Antonio wants, without completely gutting our bench. There are different combinations you could do to make this trade. This particular one would send Bayless, Rudy, Aldridge, Batum, #24 Pick, maybe some 2nd round picks, and LaFrentz's loop-hole contract. As much as I love Rudy, I just don't see him starting on the Blazers as long as we have Roy, unless we move Roy to the SF, which would be controversial to do.
PG-Parker, Blake, (Kopenen ?)
SG-Roy, ? (resign Fred Jones...you owe him KP)
PF-Duncan, Outlaw (Freeland ?)
SF-Webster, (Udoka in as part of the deal?)
PG-Hill or Bayless
SG-Ginibolli, Rudy, Mason
C-Thomas or Oberto
SF-Batum or Finley