The biggest sporting event of Oregon’s weekend and the most anticipated NBA game of the week tips off at the Rose Garden Sunday at 6:00pm. Clippers forward Ryan Gomes returns to Portland for his long awaited visit. The Bridgetown fans are on edge and “RG” is the topic of all of the conversation around the home team.
The visit could be particularly emotional for the Blazer’s coach. Gomes was widely understood to be a McMillian-guy around the organization. Gomes understood well is role on the team, played within Nate’s offense, and always hustled on defense. Gomes unexpected departure in the offseason took everyone by surprise while the Blazers and its coach did not reach a contract extension.
Many blame jettisoned general manager Kevin Pritchard whose draft day acquisition of Gomes set the stage for the popular player leaving the organization and the city that loved him for several days. In house whispering sees greater than coincidence with the fact that KP was fired on the same day.
With a team of young talent Gomes was a spiritual mentor in the locker room. Gomes influence was never more seen than on former Blazer point guard Jerryd Bayless whose career collapse has corresponded with the Gomes’ moves. Since June Bayless lost his spot as backup point guard in the rotation and has been traded twice finally exiled to the NBA’s wasteland of Toronto. His fall has been particularly painful.
With the Blazer’s engaged in their worst performance stretch of the Roy-Aldridge era, fans can’t help but to second guess the series of decision to move such a valuable contributor as Gomes. Not only could the team use his 7.0, 3.7, 1.6 per games stats (stats that place him within the top 12 on his team in PER) but the team obviously is feeling the leadership void unfilled since his release. It is only natural to wonder what this season could have been had Blazer management not made such a woeful decision.
Once a Trailblazer. Always a Trailblazer. I blame the Vulcans.<!--EndFragment-->