My first thought when I heard the rumor about Millsap was why? Why would Portland pay 8-10 million a year to a guy who at most will play 15 minutes a game behind LMA? Then I thought maybe he'd cut into Aldridges minutes and I got angry. (He is my favorite Blazer and I am convinced he will eventually be in the conversation with Duncan and Garnett as great PFs of this era). Then I remembered that KP called Roy and Aldridge before offering to Turkoglu....he is a cornerstone of the team and his role is not diminishing. So I thought maybe the plan was to force Utah to do something foolish.....trade Boozer and reduce their depth, commit to a huge salary and go deep into luxury tax purgatory, or maybe trade Boozer to Detroit making Prince expendable and so Portland could go after him. Then, as I was reading comments at Oregonlive, it occured to me: This makes Joel Expendable.
Not because Millsap plays center, he doesn't. But LaMarcus Aldridge can. Oden is working out with coach Bayno this summer. All reports are he is looking like the stud we drafted. If the Portland Braintrust truly believes that, they must expect him to step into his spotlight, say 25-35 minutes a game. At that level of minutes, 5-6 million for Joel seems extraneous, but fear of injuries keeps him important. But what if LMA was the backup center? 10-20 minutes a game at Center, 20-25 a game at Power Forward, and that leaves 20-30 minutes a game for a tough minded rebounding machine with a nasty streak. Suddenly 8-10 million a year is reasonable. We have an outstanding 3 man rotation of bigs with new rookie Pendergraf and a cheap declining veteran as bench warming insurance. We have Batum at the 3, with Webster and Rudy sharing backup minutes, Roy at the 2 with Rudy and Webster backing him up as well. As long as Webster is healthy, we have a nice 4 man rotation there. Then there is point guard. Blake is a great guy, and if our other rotation is good enough, maybe he fits as a role player. But maybe we can go a different direction. With Joel and Outlaw expendable, why couldn't we offer them along with either Blake or Bayless for Devin Harris? If we need to throw in trade exceptions and draft picks we can do so. New Jersey wants a clean slate for the 2010 sweepstakes, or possibly for a franchise sale. But they still have to play games, and they have a severe lack of big men. A package of promise (Bayless and Outlaw and a draft pick or two) and bigs (Joel) all reasonably priced could be enticing, especially if they have a desire to go cheap. If we made this upgrade, we'd either have a very high quality backup (Blake) or a young promising backup that could be our future PG if needed or a very attractive trade piece (Bayless). This reduces our rotation to 9, much easier to maneuver, and balances our roster (3 bigs, 4 wings, 2 PGs). I am not an Andre Miller fan, nor a Hinrich fan. It may be that Harris is the one piece the Nets won't part with, and if so, we make do with our current PG situation. So this is my thought on Millsap and the direction of the Blazers. It works for Odom, Bass, and Lee as well, though Millsap is my favorite of these targets. Thoughts?