FanPost

Blazers Championship Core Redux

I can't stay down too long, I have to ignore the travesty of 2 of the Blazers Big 3 now being huge question marks instead of key championship core components, and instead focus on what we DO still have.  Success = Titles.  Not 50 wins.  Not a first round win.  A championship.  I still think we have some assets that can get us there.  I'm not really interested in any deals or decisions that don't move us concretely toward that ultimate goal.  Your criteria may vary.

After the Jump, I've tried to post in a Word table wherein I look at the Salary, length of contract, PER (all from the Trade Machine), and a bogus but instructive ''value" column I made up (PER minus Salary, in millions).  Based on age, contract length, value and skill level, I analyzed who on the roster today could be a part of a chamionship.  And, by process of elimination, who should be available for deals.  I think it paints a fairly positive picture.

Player

Salary

Injured?

Length

PER

PER-Sal

Possible Champion?

Classification

Broy

13.3

Sadly

5

21.4

8.1

?

CORE ?

Camby

11.7

2

17.9

6.2

N

ON THE BLOCK

LMA

11.2

5

18.3

7.1

Yes

CORE

Pryz

7.4

Recovering

1

11.2

3.8

N

ON THE BLOCK

Dre

7.2

2

18.2

11

N

ON THE BLOCK

Greg

6.7

Out 2010

1

23.1

16.4

Miracle

WTF knows?

(Wes)

5.7

5

12.4

6.7

Yes

CORE

Luke

1.6

2

0

-1.6

Maybe

Value

EW

1.3

Out 2010

2

0

-1.3

Maybe

Value

Nic

1.2

(Shoulder)

2

17.3

16.1

Yes

CORE

Rudy

1.2

(back)

2

13.1

11.9

Maybe

Value

(Patty)

0.9

1

0

-0.9

N

ON THE BLOCK

(Marks)

0.8

1

0

-0.8

N

ON THE BLOCK

Dante

0.7

1

14.4

13.7

Maybe

Value

AJ

0.5

2

10

9.5

Maybe

Value

-------------------------------------

Not a championship piece

Why?

?

Core

Young, cheap values

Needs

Camby

Age

Roy

LMA

Luke

Point Guard

Pryz

Age, $

Oden

NIC

EW

Center

Dre

Age

WES

Rudy

Clutch Shooter

(Patty)

Sucks

Dante

D-Fense!

(Marks)

Sucks

AJ

Rebounding!

 

Hopefully the format holds...  But anyway, below the fiirst table I reorg'd the guys into categories: 

1) Not a championship piece.  Camby and Dre and too old, and Pryz and Dre are in the last year of the contract.  Patty and Marks are just ballast at this point.  Pryz could be a good backup for a champion, but is clearly not part of the core.

2) Our (new and diluted) Championship Core...  Here I look at healthy, productive players: LMA and Wes are signed to long-term deals, and are clearly the heart of our new core.  I also add Nic Batum to this list, as I believe we are starting to see his potential, and I put it at about a 95% confidence that we will sign him to a 4-6 year deal.  

3) Question Marls.  It is difficult, emotionally, to realize that perhaps neither Greg nor Brandon will be able to contribute to championships at the All-Star level we expected.  But they are huge question marks right now.  I don't think either has trade value anywhere close to how Portland values these two players, so I don't think they'll be dealt, but you just can't count on them to be part of a championship core.  They're pretty much in limbo right now...

4) Young, cheap, value players.    While they have not yet proved to have the skills to be core champions, they are cheap enough to be at least considered as potential core players:  AJ, Dante, and yes even Rudy could be critical pieces to an 8-man rotation.  Luke and EW are complete unknowns at this point, but still on their rookie contract.  If either of these guys are needed to balance out a trade, I would do it in a heartbeat. 

5) Needs.  If our healthy core consists of a 4 (LMA), a 3 (Nic) and a 2 (Wes), then we obviously need a 1 and a 5 for a championship roster.  I think we also need another clutch/outside shooter, if BRoy just can't go, and the 5 needs to be a huge rebounder and defender, and ideally, the 1 would be a good defender...   I believe AJ can grow into the PGOTF, and I still hope and believe Greg has a chance to be a dominant center.  But if you're looking at team needs, those stand out pretty clearly if looking at a 3-5 year time horizon for your championship.

I believe the Blazers have the following assets that can be used in a trade to fill one of our needs.

1) Joel and his expiring $7M contract.  (Yes, we desperately need him now, but if he can get us a better longer term big, you have to consider it).

2) Dre and his expiring 7.2M contract.  You know me, I love me some Dre, and I fully expect the Blazers to sign his option year next year.  However, if we can flip him for a younger, All-Star level #1, you have to consider it.

3) Camby.  Still has value, probably more to us than others, but again, if he can be used to balance salaries in the acquisition of an All-Star, that possibility should be on the table.

4) LOTS of low-priced potential.  While I don't want to deal AJ, Rudy or Dante, I'd deal them for another core piece, and we have Luke and EW as salary match filler

5) Non-player assets.  Hopefully, we will soon have the 3.4M injury exception for Greg, which will allow us to take on a bigger salary, which hopefully means a better player.  We have NO's and our 1st round picks for next year.  We have an owner willing to spend money (to buy picks, or pay for player's salaries.)

In conclusion, I do see the Blazers able to make two deals, one to get a 1, and one to get a 5, to complete our championship core.  If they package up Pryz or Camby, a pick, and a young low priced guy, (some $)I think they can get a solid big man.  And I do see us able to package Dre, picks, and a young guy if needed to balance to get a younger (than Dre), closer to All-Star point guard.  Of course, finding the right players to target and a motivated team willing to deal isn't easy, and why Cho makes the big bucks.  But all is not lost. 

We have assets.  Let use 'em, and not lose 'em, Rich!

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