Do we already have the pieces to win it all?

I wanted to open a topic for discussion with everyone.  Please reference the below conversation from the Phoenix game Recap thread, which basically discusses what we might do with the roster

a) before the trade deadline

b) before next season


c) just in general to really open the championship window

The thing I want to find out is whether or not people think we already have the necessary pieces on the roster to be an elite, championship contending team.  If that's the case, the roster only needs tweaking.

The alternative is that we need to add one more core piece to really increase the potency at the top of the roster. 

What are everyone's thoughts?  Who would you target if you think a move is necessary?  What position and type of player would you like to see the team acquire?  If we already have the main pieces in place how would you tweak the roster to solidify us for the future?

What potentially realistic courses of action at this juncture in the franchise's history do you think will give us the best shot at winning titles over the next X number of yrs? 

 Put yourselves in KP's shoes and share your master plan for a Blazer dynasty.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts, and feel free to vote on the awesome poll following the below text. 


Thread from the PHX game recap:

Or perhaps Kevin Pritchard knows his job better than you.

It is possible, you know. That KP may be an intelligent hard working guy whose knowledge of the game, the league and personnel far, far exceeds what you think you know.

Pritchard kicking himself over Aldridge? Doubt it. Why would a GM have second thoughts about locking up one of the best young big men in the league for long term? You may not think much of LaMarcus, but I’ll bet every GM and coach in the league would jump at the chance to get him. There is a reason he was just named to the US National team and it ain’t because of his neat tatoos.

KP needs to make a deal? Actually, he doesn’t. When Oden and Joel went down, with Batum and Travis already out, Portland’s odds of making the playoffs became marginal and pretty much shrunk to nothing when Brandon was lost for an indefinite period of time. However this team (and coaching staff) have not given up and they still are in the hunt. I think it is iffy that the Blazers make the playoffs, but the effort they’ve displayed has me believing they can make it. Worrying about their doing so as a 7th or 8th seed is a game for fools. Just making the playoffs this season will be an outstanding accomplishment. Should they lose in the first round, so be it. They will be playing without a center. And depending on the matchup, they may not lose. We will just have to wait and see what happens.

Unlike you, I don’t assume Pritchard is indecisive because he doesn’t do what I’d do in his position. If I’m going to assume anything it is that

a) making trades in the NBA is not simply a matter of running them through the trade checker.


b) that KP is likely to be a better judge of basketball talent than I am, an assumption supported by the performance of guys like Batum, Cunningham and Pendergraph, all taken either late in the first or as second round picks.


c) that having 9 – 10 very good players is better than having 4 – 6 very good players.

Clarence, It's better to have a gun and not need it, then need a gun and not have it.

by timg56 on Feb 11, 2010 8:51 AM PST up reply actions   5 recs

KP has done a great job in the draft, but this is only half the battle

It is obvious that this team needs to either make a trade or go after a free agent in the offseason. Sure, KP could stand pat. Do you really want to bet on Oden and Joel being able to stay healthy for the better part of next year? Seems like quite a gamble to me.

I am not overly concerned if this team makes the playoffs or not. We make it, great, we get some more postseason experience. If we don’t make it that is nothing to be disappointed about; the Western Conference is full of solid teams and the injuries this year have been horrible. I don’t care about making a deal to solve our short term problems. The thing is, I feel that are short term problems are the same as the long term problems. Lack of big men that can stay healthy, and too many perimeter players who, quite frankly, are only slightly above average. Rudy, Martell, JB, and Outlaw are inconsistent and somewhat one dimensional. Batum still needs time to develop.

Have I ever made a post using that ‘trade checker’ ? No, and I have actually never used it. Keep on making assumptions if you like, however.

Show me a legit contender without a solid big man. This game may not be dominated by big guys like it used to, but you still need one to win come playoff time.

Oh yeah – the Blazers don’t have 9-10 ‘very good players’. This is, of course, subjective based on how one judges talent. Yes, this team has talent, but Roy is the only one who can bring it every night and wants the ball in crunchtime. I remember when people were thinking Mark Bryant was going to be an all-star after he had his first 15 point game. IMHO hometown fans often aren’t the best judge of talent for their team.

When I say 4-6 very good players I look at a team like LAL – Kobe, Gasol, Odom, Bynum (when healthy), Fisher (maybe he doesn’t fall into the ‘very good’ category, but he has had some huge moments come playoff time). The Lakers aren’t as deep as Portland, but it seemed to work for them last year.

by lil'stink on Feb 11, 2010 9:33 AM PST up reply actions   0 recs

So hometown fans over value their own players ...

… except those fans who constantly find fault with them. The fans who think Dante Cuningham is a better player than LaMarcus Aldridge obviously are qualified analysts, while those of us who think Aldridgfe is one of the best young bigs in the league are just ignorant homers.

Let’s take your Laker example. Roy, Aldridge, Oden (when he’s healthy), Miller. That’s just one less than LA, with only a counterpart to Lamar Odom missing. Of course Portland does have Pryzbilla, whom LA has no counterpart for. And then there is Batum, Webster, Fernandez and Outlaw ( a 6th Man of the year candidate last season), to account for. Your argument comes down to this – you think Lamar Odom is preferable to any mix and matching of the last 4 Blazers I named.

Clarence, It's better to have a gun and not need it, then need a gun and not have it.

by timg56 on Feb 11, 2010 11:49 AM PST up reply actions   0 recs

There are decent points being made

but can you guys do it without the badgering back and forth? It’s distracting. Plus maybe some folks would like to get into the conversation without getting in the middle of you.


by Dave on Feb 11, 2010 12:27 PM PST up reply actions   0 recs


Clarence, It's better to have a gun and not need it, then need a gun and not have it.

by timg56 on Feb 11, 2010 2:04 PM PST up reply actions   0 recs

I'm not trying to pick a fight but here goes...

I actually don’t think Dante is better than LMA at this point. I don’t think someone who feels LMA is one of the best young bigs in the game is ignorant. He is far from an all-star quality player, however, and often disappears in the 4th quarter. I think he has more talent and ability than just about any PF in the game, but having talent and utilizing it are 2 totally different things. All in all, he has done anything but prove that he deserves that contract.

I am no Laker fan. That said, I don’t think a healthy Blazers team would beat LA in a seven game series. Kobe is better than Roy, Gasol and Bynum are better than GO and Joel, and Odom does so many things well (I am not a fan, but watching him lately makes me realize that he is a bargain at $50 million). And you can’t not factor injuries in the equation and say if we were healthy things would be different. We aren’t healthy, and we need to plan for the worst (Greg and Joel don’t return 100%) and hope for the best. Yes, the Blazers are deeper, but come playoff time you don’t need to hold back – it is do or die (well, at least best of seven)

Last year RLEC was a hot commodity. If KP put RLEC together with Trout or Rudy we might have been able to get a guy like Gerald Wallace. Perhaps Paul Allen gave orders to not trade RELC because he wanted the financial benefit for himself. I am sure there are plenty of details that we aren’t privy to. Perhaps KP has trouble pulling the trigger when it comes to making a trade, as there can be much to lose if you make a mistake. I get that. But no risk, no reward.

So KP doesn’t need to make a trade. IMHO this team won’t get over the top with the roster they have – there are too many "will’s" or "if’s". Will Joel or GO stay healthy? For that matter, will Roy stay healthy? Will Martell, Batum, JB, and Fernandez all develop like we hope? I don’t think the answers to these questions can be answered with a resounding yes.

I, like any fan, want to see their team compete for a title. If KP can’t make a deal now or in the offseason to add bulk to our fontline, there is a decent chance we will be in the same boat next year. I liked the boat and course we were on last year much better.

by lil'stink on Feb 11, 2010 1:00 PM PST up reply actions   0 recs

I'm not picking a fight either, but I'll try it out.

Done anything but prove that he deserves that contract? Roy went down, and LaMarcus has been playing over 40 minutes a night and scoring over 20 a game, along with raising his rebounding numbers pretty significantly. Yeah, our win percentage has gone down, but how many wins did Brandon get without LaMarcus in the game? With Oden and Pryzbilla, LaMarcus didn’t need to get deep post position. Now that they’ve gone down and Brandon is out, we’ve been seeing exactly what people have been asking for: he goes towards the basket and plays much more aggressively than he used to.

We match up very well with LA. There is a reason that we consistently beat them at home (minus the last game, which is hard to take into account because both teams had their stars choosing not to play, which most likely won’t happen in a playoff series). Saying that Bynum is better than Oden is subject to debate. Were Oden healthy right now, and if he remains healthy for a large portion of next season, I would put that match up in our favor. Roy and Kobe play different styles, but Roy has been matching Kobe lately in terms of efficiency (although I will admit he is far from matching Kobe in many other aspects of the game). With a healthy team, we have several defensive stoppers, and you suggest that the bench doesn’t matter, but in the playoffs, having a deep bench can be very important in long series. We have many more players on our bench that can light up and score 20+ than most other teams I can think of in the league.

There are many risks in sports. Players are at risk of injury every time they step on the court. I think we have full reason to believe, considering the past, that we can count on Roy to be healthy for a majority of the season (yes, maybe someday that will change, but as of now I’m not concerned). I trust the doctors and trainers in evaluating the long-term health probabilities of Oden and Pryzbilla. Some players may not develop, but they all have the potential to. And what if we were to make a trade and that player didn’t play well with our system or got injured? There are so many variables to be considered.

Of course you liked last season better. And were everyone to stay healthy and the season to have gone the way everyone hoped, you would probably like this season even more. But like I said, there are so many intangibles and things that we don’t know. I trust the professionals and experts and simply cheer for our team through the good and bad.

by anupam on Feb 11, 2010 2:31 PM PST up reply actions   0 recs

I would like to expand on the point you make ...

… in the next to last paragraph.

Just how wise is it to develop a strategy that is based on always playing "What if?" What if Greg or Joel don’t comeback 100%. What if both don’t? What if Greg does prove to be injury prone and we only average 40 – 50 games a season from him? What if every one of our players not named Aldridge or Roy fail to improve their game?

We can go on and on in this vein. What if Paul Allen sells the team to an owner only interested in turning a profit? What if Brandon Roy undergoes a personal epipheny (sp?) and gives up basketball to work with school kids? What if LaMarcus Aldridge is abducted by aliens?

Yes, to some extent you want to try to provide yourself options for dealing with the unexpected. But you don’t make that the central theme of your strategy. That’s referred to as taking consel of one’s fears. Fortunately for us Blazer fans, Kevin Pritchard does not appear to be the type who fears ghosts of future come. If come next season and Portland has no Greg or Joel available, KP will look to draft a big or sign someone who he thinks can fill that spot. He doesn’t have to potentially mortgage the future so as to cater to the fears of what might or might not happen.

Clarence, It's better to have a gun and not need it, then need a gun and not have it.

by timg56 on Feb 11, 2010 3:36 PM PST up reply actions   0 recs

I think that is well put,

and you certainly can’t go into next year or any year expecting to have injuries to the extent we have this year. We also shouldn’t anticipate that Oden will never contribute for an extended period of time as if his career is already over and doomed to failure. The kid has #1 pick impact on games, and I think we have all seen his potential when healthy. That being said you must be ready to adapt should a player go down.

In response to this particular thread though – I think the course the Blazers should take, and likely the gameplan moving forward, is a combination of your two viewpoints. KP has been brilliant (Roy, Aldridge, Batum, Dante, Rudy) and given us valuable young assets, some of whom will be a part of our long term future. But assuming some assemblance of health, since fear of injury should not prevent us from reaching our potential (only injury itself should do that), I think we can agree that this team needs increased role definition and a consolidation trade to provide another upper tier player beside Roy, Aldridge, Oden, and Batum.

To me Oden is the X-factor (obviously?). Aldridge’s style is so complementary to GO that it makes President Woodrow Wilson sneak up on me, but they both need to be healthy for it to work. I actually commend what I perceive as an increase in Aldridge’s assertiveness recently.

I also think you can trade any combo of Bayless, Blake, Outlaw, Rudy, and Martell without truly affecting the core of this team. I think those guys are young, have value in their potential, game and/or expiring contracts, and can be parlayed into serviceable big man insurance PLUS either a long term PG option or a premier wing scorer (Caron/Wallace ish, who I would not mind seeing play alongside Roy AND Batum).

Roy, Aldridge, Batum, and (the forces of the Universe willing) Greg Oden are the core of this team and are the guys who you envision being on the Blazer’s upcoming championship teams. Everyone else is very nice but you have an opportunity to make your roster more top heavy (= playoff success) and clear the logjams that this roster experiences when healthy.

I fully anticipate a more significant move than just a Kurt Thomas/Tyrus Thomas/Brendan Haywood acquisition being made prior to next season. I think the time has come where something considerable is on the horizon.

by sammymohawk on Feb 11, 2010 6:07 PM PST up reply actions   0 recs

I fully anticipate a more significant move than just a Kurt Thomas/Tyrus Thomas/Brendan Haywood acquisition being made prior to next season. I think the time has come where something considerable is on the horizon.

I appreciate your optimism, but I’m not sure KP will have the "resources" to make the kind of deal you’re hoping for after next Thursday. Oh, he has the young/talented players, but he won’t have capspace or large-enough contracts that he will need to add to a deal to acquire that "upper tier player"

Jason Quick was on WaW today and said the Blazers staff realized early in the season that they indeed have "too much talent" and that a "guard or two will need to be weeded out" this summer. Besides Roy, the guards are Miller, Bayless and Rudy (no one’s sure if Blake will be back, so I’ll leave him out) I suppose Andre could be traded, but the two names that Quick mentioned were Rudy and Jerryd, because they’re stacked up behind Brandon at the 2 and KP/Nate can’t keep asking them to play only 15-20 mpg every year.

So you see the problem…these guys are only making 1-2 mil/year and you can’t acquire an "upper tier" player for that, because the salaries won’t match. The best KP can do during the offseason is to use one of these guys to move up in the draft, like he did with Jarret Jack.

So I think that we can lay our dreams of blockbuster trades to rest, next Friday. "Who will KP sign with the MLE?" will be the topic of conversation this summer, along with "will Oden’s agent accept anything less than the max extension?"

When reached 40 years of following Portland basketball you have, be as passionate of the Trail Blazers you will not!

by two4larue on Feb 12, 2010 12:12 AM PST up reply actions   0 recs

A blockbuster in the next week

won’t surprise me. I don’t expect it, but I think KP would like to pull a blockbuster, and the loss of this season due to injuries will make him less hesitant to do it midseason than he would have been.

Salaries we can use to make a trade include Andre, Joel, Martell, and our ECs. Talents we can use (besides those guys) are Rudy, Nic, and Jerryd. I’ll be surprised if Nic and Jerryd go, but in a blockbuster, who knows? The point is that there is plenty of salary and talent available to make a blockbuster. That doesn’t even include the possibility of a Bosh/LMA deal.

You are right that you can’t trade Rudy or Jerryd for a big talent because of their salary. But you can if you combine them with someone who has a salary. And blockbusters usually involve multiple players.

The structure of a blockbuster is YT + MLC + EC = All-Star.
YT = Young Talent — Nic, Rudy, Jerryd
MLC = Medium Level Contract — Andre, Joel, Martell
EC = Expiring Contract — Steve, Travis

YT gives the other team the hope that, in a year or two, they’ve got a player who can come close, at least, to what their all-star gave them.

MLC gives them at least a solid role player at a respectable price, and combined with YT lets them sell to their fans that they’ve made a reasonable deal in terms of talent.

EC saves them money, which either helps them go after even more talent or cuts their losses.

We might have to sweeten the deal by throwing in a draft pick, or giving them a second EC in exchange for an ugly contract. But that is the essence of a blockbuster that could bring an all-star to Portland, and it certainly could happen in the next week.

#7 #10 #25 #52 -- #5 & #88 are back!

by jscot on Feb 12, 2010 3:34 AM PST up reply actions   0 recs

Definition of blockbuster

I think that we have assets that are valued around the league, as noted in jscot’s post. Maybe Caron or General Wallace are pie in the sky, but I do believe that some combination of Outlaw, Blake, Rudy, Rex, and Martell can be a fairly significant side of a trade that aside from chemistry considerations has virtually no effect on the core of the team (depending who you consider the core i guess). I think the roles, especially in the backcourt, need more definition. I have no problem that it has yet to happen as they are all young and we’ve needed everyone this year, but I think after next season starts…if you still have the logjam…if guards aren’t getting the minutes on a nightly basis that their ability merits…then I think we will have gone too long with all these players. In other words we will have missed the window where their value was the highest due to a combination of their youth and potential (this applies to Rex, Rudy, and Martell). They’ve showcased their abilities this season and their value will only go down over time if they’re buried in a battle for minutes that leaves each with 10-25 per night.

I think Rudy is showing preliminary signs of frustration and that his ceiling isn’t really even that high, even though he is already an exciting and skilled player.

I envision Roy, Batum, Aldridge, and Oden being 4 of this team’s championship starting 5. I think that’s been the general idea as they put the team together (with Batum being the most recent to burst onto the scene). I haven’t done the research, I don’t know who might be available, but longterm PG option anyone? I love Dre, but he’s long in the tooth and won’t be here when our average age is 27. Blake won’t be here. In my opinion Bayless should be a 6th man spark off the bench if he is here. I do like him alongside Roy but I’m not sure it’s the starting backcourt you want.

Maybe it won’t be a quote unquote blockbuster…but I absolutely think we can net a very significant piece for what we have to offer.

Clear the logjam and make the roster more powerful at the top. You’ll still have plenty of great role players left over (Dante, Przy, guys you don’t trade, etc…). It will be addition by subtraction as our remaining players will adopt their roles with confidence and flourish with a continued increase in opportunity. It will also be addition by addition, because if something like this were to happen we would be getting a good player in return. We would be trading role players, which we have a lot of, for a core piece of the puzzle. I think it makes sense and I think the ideal window is now until next season.

I’m curious who people think is a good PG for this team that might be attainable in the near future. We’ve all talked Hinrich, but is there someone better that could be available in the near future that would really round out our starting 5 for the next X number of years?

Someone who can hit the spot up 3 like Blake but you know, does all the other stuff better. (props to blake for a phenomenal performance against the Suns on Wednesday though)

by sammymohawk on Feb 12, 2010 9:07 AM PST up reply actions   0 recs

let me qualify that

by saying that some of you may feel that Bayless IS in fact the best option…or that because Roy handles so well and Batum can guard the 1 that we don’t need a true PG (which is why I thought a premier wing scorer was not a crazy idea). I welcome all of those opinions.

I think it is a great debate and I’m glad we’re in the position we are. Time to cross the fingers and say "in KP we trust, take us to the promiseland"

by sammymohawk on Feb 12, 2010 9:16 AM PST up reply actions   0 recs

Last thing...

I think Caron Butler is gonna get traded. He may go to Boston, or Houston, or Dallas. But if he ends up in Houston or Dallas…look at what they will have given up for him and tell me that we the Blazers couldn’t have provided that level of value. I still think a Butler/Haywood package is almost ideal if you can swing it. Anyway, sounds like Tyrus Thomas might be here soon. I think it’s hilarious that we may have both him and LA. I also think that if you can end up getting Caron and Tyrus for some combination of the 5 players I keep mentioning + picks/cash, then our championship window is wide open going into next year and we’ll be pesky this postseason.

by sammymohawk on Feb 12, 2010 9:25 AM PST up reply actions   0 recs

I think Bayless is a great option for us

I wouldn’t say best, but better guys aren’t going to come available.

He can defend the point (needs work, but he’s improving), and his shot will come — all that is needed is coaching and work, and he’s made progress already.

#7 #10 #25 #52 -- #5 & #88 are back!

by jscot on Feb 12, 2010 10:50 AM PST up reply actions   0 recs

we've seen some of these proposed via the trade machine

and the risk is that turning over 1/4 to 1/3 of the current roster could jeopardize the team’s chances of making the playoffs, due to continuity issues

Not to mention that many of the names mentioned (Bosh, Haywood, etc) will be UFAs in July and there’s no way to guarantee that they will resign with Portland

Unless there’s a "special fit" player (that KP has longed to acquire) who becomes available that already has a LT contract (or who KP is certain he can extend) then odds are KP won’t pull the trigger.

That’s why I’m expecting a "surgical strike" deal, 2-for-1, mid-level salaries for a veteran role player, most likely a big. This would thin the roster at guard/wing while adding an immediate need. Or more likely, KP will do nothing

When reached 40 years of following Portland basketball you have, be as passionate of the Trail Blazers you will not!

by two4larue on Feb 12, 2010 9:35 AM PST up reply actions   0 recs

Yes, we could do a simple 2-1

But the only truly disruptive thing at this point would be to trade LMA plus for Bosh (I could live with that disruption, as long as we knew Bosh was staying) or to include Andre in a deal.

And including Andre is disruptive in the short term, but not long term.

I won’t be surprised if we stand pat, either. The only thing KP could do that would surprise me would be A) trade Oden B) trade Roy C) trade Batum (unless we’re getting an all-star back) D) trade LMA for less than Bosh or Duncan (and Duncan would surprise me somewhat, too).

#7 #10 #25 #52 -- #5 & #88 are back!

by jscot on Feb 12, 2010 10:55 AM PST up reply actions   0 recs

Pieces in place though?

I think those are all good viewpoints. I guess my real question is do we already have the main pieces of our championship team and the roster just needs tweaking? Or are we one more main core piece away from being truly elite? When I think about how the Celtics and Lakers are structured, with the multiple stars and supporting casts that aren’t at the same level as the Blazer’s supporting cast (imo), it seems that KP might be considering a more aggressive consolidation as a viable option for longterm success (I’m sure he considers everything though). But then again, it takes two to tango (sometimes three?) and we as fans don’t have a real good idea of who is actually available and what is actually out there to be had. The rip city uprise of the last few years has given me confidence in the current management…this trade deadline waiting game is just brutal though. The tension is palpable! Palpable I say!!!Thank goodness we have Blazersedge to keep us sane.

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