The Trade Route is a perilous journey, where intrigue and danger lurk at every turn. You study, learn, and listen. You use everything at your disposal to make the best decision, but the end result is your best guess, nothing more.
Isaiah Thomas made a lot of deals, and a good many of them ended up being regarded as failures. Several players quit. They took their monies and quit on themselves. They quit on the Knicks. They were generally bad teammates, often bad citizens, and as a group, bad ambassadors in the NBA's capital city. The Knicks were, to my mind, the best reason since the Jail Blazers to systemically extinguish the guaranteed contract. The team paid for things they never received.
It, quite simply, was not all Isaiah's fault. Sure, he got the blame, and he deserved a lot of it, but he was not alone. He had a staff of fellas, men who knew the game, guys versed in team building, assistants, scouts, films guys. It's the Knicks and their mega millions- Isaiah had resources. They even had Larry Brown, one of the best coaches ever. Coach Brown could not make a team out these guys. There were selfish "me first" guys, opportunistic money takers, and heartless punks. You name it, Isaiah could find a bad deal, and consummate it.
Isaiah didn't bring in nobodies though. He brought in some pretty good names, guys that had made a name for themselves playing the game. Steve Francis, Starbury, and to a lessor degree, Eddy Curry. The Jerome James and Jared Jeffries signings were terrible, but at least partly because ill-health brought poor production. This, as we know all too well, could happen to anyone.
I'm not lecturing Knick history because it's particularly interesting, but rather because it's pertinent to our current situation here in Portland. Folks pondering trades of three and four rotation Blazers for Bosh, Harris, Parker, or Fill in the Blank, have lost their collective minds. Dude tears his knee, and we are potentially done. No depth. No youth. And a bunch of D Leaguers on our way back to the lottery, or more likely, mediocrity. This is perhaps an exaggeration, but not out the question.
There are other options. Serious options. Trading multiple rotation players seems to me, desperate. This is a good team, a roster well stocked w/ terrific young talent. Standing pat has so many advantages, more than simply the old and tired patience sentiment.
STANDING PAT? There's more at play than simply letting the market pass you by. Remember last year? KP was a pretender in the market, essentially setting the market value, but having no chance at acquiring any of the few, completely average, moving pieces (the Utah kid & Peja) in the FA bonanza. We ended up w/ a great piece- albeit the one no one else wanted, but regardless, this is a year to stand pat.
The reason: Teams are going to go crazy trying to reinvent themselves. There is going to be a lot of talent trading places. Crazy deals- see real estate, circa 2006. Some of these guys are going to work out, some, not so much. This ballyhooed FA class, the one that has had teams shedding talent to make room for players that aren't coming, is going to make for a wave of insanity, and I would move out of the way, far away.
Come February, when the truth is plain, and the deadline is at hand, our expiring contracts are going to be low hanging fruit, much like the jobs of the men who made bad decisions, bad signings, and/or bad trades. Mediocre teams, bad teams, underachieving teams, and/or bad chemical experiments, KP is going to have the pick of the litter. Joel, Andre, or at worst, Martel, that's all it's gonna cost to bring in a very nice piece, or two. Teams with empty seats, bleeding balance sheets, you know who gets rich? The rich get rich.
Bottom line: Buying in a Sellers Market is for Suckers. Ask Isaiah. He should know.