Just got done reading Jason Quicks assesment of current events in regards to Pritchard and The Blazers this summer. As a fan, I'm shocked and becoming concerned.
If Jason Quick is at all correct in his assesment then where are we at? What has happened between the end of a promising season and a playoff run that I think left most if not all Blazer fans feeling very optimistic. How could the failure to sign Hedo result in such an apparent evaporation of good things? Suddenly Pritchard has gone from young phenom GM to incompetent, perhaps damaging? Suddenly according to Quick, it's not just about struggling to sign a free agent or make a trade but also failure to extend Roy and LMA.
I guess what I'm asking is how could this happen, if it is happening. Maybe we are just seeing the mortality, the reality of The Blazers, The Economy and a well meaning but rather young and inexperienced GM. The past few years hasn't it seemed that so much more was going right than wrong. I guess I knew Pritchard was really just another executive, human and flesh and he really wasn't "magic" but watching The Blazers draft Brandon, LMA then somehow get a #1 pick and get Fernandez in a Blazer uniform maybe I expected the magic show to continue forever.
Whether you wanted Hedo or not, be honest, when you saw him at the airport with Pritchard at his side didn't you think it was more or less a done deal? After all, the mythology advanced by Pritchard and The Blazers is that they do everything they can to obtain players they target. I'll be honest, I thought Hedo was a done deal and please don't bother to tell me how it's not a done deal until the ink is on the contract, that's not what I mean, I mean I believed in the Blazer "magic" that now seems to have evaporated.
Hedo's decision to go with Toronto was to an extent shocking. It wasn't impossible. What seems impossible is the aftermath.
In the aftermath, suddenly the team that has recently been able to do no wrong, seems they can't do anything right. We seem to desperately be making offers to players of questionable value to the team. Worse, we are risking alienating players that have been part of our resurgence with the telegraphed and desperate offers we are making. Pursuing Hedo, has got to have Outlaw, Webster and Batum wondering. Now Millsap and Bass and we risk insulting Przybilla even perhaps LMA. The Blazers desperation to throw money in large quantities at players of questionable role and value sets a precedence that can't sit well with players like Brandon and LMA and Przybilla. If I read that The Blazers were going to offer Hedo 5 years and 50 million plus, then if I'm Brandon and LMA of course I'm going to ask for max, and I'm going to expect to get it.
So maybe I've been spoiled. Even with Odens rehab the previous summer, the past few summers have been times of easy optimism with The Blazers. Plenty to look forward to and clear addition of assets. When this season and playoff run ended weren't we all looking forward to this summer? So far I feel like a kid that was promised a trip to the Fair and instead was driven to the dump. This was suppose to be the summer of "Icing" and instead the Cake seems to be falling.
I'm really begining to think the best thing The Blazers could do, would be to make sure our nuculeus is happy. Keep Brandon our cornerstone, keep LMA on the same page. The temptation as you watch teams around you shuffle players and obtain player A or trade player B is to panic. But in my opinion, just because opposing teams have acquired player or players doesn't mean they necessarily have gotten better. You still have to prove it on the court. I'm not convinced any team in the west has improved themselves any more than continued development Oden and the re-addition of a healthy Webster would improve The Blazers. I'm worried that we could make a "addition" that could really end up being a subtraction. If you HAVE believed in this team, then now is the time to continue to believe in this team. We can panic and scramble to obtain some talent that we think shores up weaknesses we think we have, but what about just letting the players and assets we have prove themselves? Can Oden take a giant step forward? Can he provide much of the toughness and rebounding we are pursuing with Millsap? Can Webster, Batum or Outlaw or the trio become all the SF we need? Can Blake, Bayless and Mills become a perfectly acceptable PG core?
I'm suspecting we were closer to fine before this summer of frustration started. Now because our "A" plan to obtain Hedo failed, I'm becoming more and more scared that we are hurting ourselves in response. The specter of "Use it or Lose it " cap space and being shut out of the annual dance of player movement seems to have us forgetting the positives that we already have in place.
If this off-season ends with The Blazers obtaining no real free agent player, or no big trade, I can live with that. If this summer ends with The Blazers with a disappointed and angry Brandon Roy and a upset LMA. With Blake, Bayless and perhaps Fernandez and others questioning their roles, then much, much more will have been lost this summer than just Hedo Turkoglu.
The Blazers should concentrate on the reality of how healthy Webster might be, and work with Oden as much as possible. The biggest moves Pritchard could make might really just be assuring the Brandon and LMA are happy and Blazers for the foreseeable future.