I've been talking with the folks over at The Dream Shake since this morning. They're on to an idea that before recent events seemed near-unthinkable. They're pondering shopping Shane Battier. Here's what's changed (my interpretation, not theirs):
1. Yao Ming is out indefinitely. Tracy McGrady is eternally questionable and maybe on his way out of town. That's a ton of scoring power out the window...the two main pillars of the franchise entering the year. Battier is an amazing complementary player, perfect alongside those guys. If they're gone Houston needs more firepower. All of a sudden Battier looks like a nice piece who doesn't fit anymore, kind of like your beautiful sandcastle after the tide has come in. It's under that flood somewhere but you're not getting much use out of it anymore.
2. Just today, as reported below, Ron Artest committed to the L*kers while Trevor Ariza reportedly agreed to join the Rockets. On the surface this appears to make Battier more valuable to Houston, as the guy he formed a battery with is gone. But Ariza is, in many ways, a younger, cheaper Battier. They could use a contrast there.
I would also argue that Battier is a better fit in Portland than anyone we've considered so far, including Hedo Turkoglu. His defense, distance shooting, smarts, dependability, and seamless blending would be huge assets. He's also relatively inexpensive at $6.9 million in the coming season and $7.4 million the season after. He's not going to help the offense the same way Turkoglu would which would mean the Blazers would probably have to upgrade offensively at point guard. But with Battier in the fold you might not be afraid to take on an offensive-minded point. The backcourt would be weak defensively but Batiier, Aldridge, and Przybilla/Oden (provided neither went in the deal) would be plenty intimidating at the big positions. I wouldn't scream at all about Andre Miller being added to this mix, for instance, nor Ramon Sessions (if he's leaving Milwaukee).
Dreamshake's initial offer which you can read here is Battier for Rudy Fernandez and Travis Outlaw. You can see where that makes a certain amount of sense for them. They get younger. They get scoring. You can also see how highly they value Battier. Unfortunately Portland fans value Rudy just as highly. Given that and the comparative ages of the players involved that's probably a no-go from our end.
However they are in the market for counter-offers. That's where you come in. What would you offer them at this point for Battier? And would you rather have him than Hedo?
A couple of suggestions:
1. One comment over there suggested Rudy and Oden for Battier. If that rubs you the wrong way (and it does me) don't do that in return. Remember that until events changed Battier was all but untouchable. He has value to them.
2. Don't forget that they'd put high value on a center right now. If you're willing to part with Przybilla he could be attractive.
3. Remember Battier's salary is only $6.9 million. You can cushion the trade with cap space from our end but they don't have any. They can only take on so much salary.
In slight contravention of Point #3 I'm going to offer my own possible scenario. If the Rockets were willing to send back Brent Barry's $1.9 million salary in the deal (likely with the understanding that he'd be cut) they're starting to flirt with the possible salary range of one Hedo Turkoglu. At this point I believe Hedo would do the Rockets more good than Battier. That would be among my possible offers. The hitch is that CBA rules would prevent the trade from being consummated until December 15th, which is after the season starts. That would probably kill it for now but it could be an issue re-visited during or after the upcoming season.
Lend us whatever wisdom you have.