The Blazer Brain Trust has a working,evolving plan. The draft, free agency, and then summer league. It gets busy from here on out. I'd like to deduct THE PLAN using all the available resources (that includes you).
This post is designed to illicit discussion at to what the brass intends to do, now that the summer of 2010 is finally upon us. Note: This is not a trade drawer. There is a place for all the ingenious trade ideas Edgers have been formulating. This isn't it.
This is intended as an examination of many things, including motivations. There are so many issues, so many questions. The first of which could be our 'championship window," and when it opens. How will the team address needs? What are those needs?
Paul Allen, and his shadow government
I didn't include scouts or assistant coaches because they shouldn't have motives.
1: Andre, Bayless,
2: Roy, Rudy
3: Batum, Martell, Cunnungham
4: MLA, Pendergraph
5: Oden, Camby, Prysbilla
I left Mills & Howard off because they are unsigned, and there is very little reason to think they'll be back, or that they'll occupy important roles should they make a return. Yes, we said that about Howard last year...
Paul Allen is rich, but not as rich as he used to be, and he's put up some road blocks to assure fiscal responsibility, namely the sister, and the Vulcans. He meddles, but he's no Mark Cuban. Generally, he's let the professionals work. He's been the big man here for two decades w/out the big prize he so desires. He's responded to past failures w/ a new, character matters culture, and the city of Portland has embraced the team once again. Sell outs are the each and every game norm.
Still, you know what he wants, what he craves, and first round exits must eat at him worse that they do us. For those that think he's bitter over the Durrant/Oden draft conundrum, I doubt that he's deluded into thinking that we would have otherwise grabbed the big prize by now. I would like to avoid this question as I think it has been over done, pointless, and it's not going to change 30 GM's minds anyway. He's looking ahead, and so should we.
I would suggest that he is not all that interested in the draft this year. His health is questionable, his mortality tangible, and I'm thinking he'd like to throw the window open. NOW. There is no one that he can acquire through the draft that can help him win a championship next year. Even if there was, this piece would require a purchase price that would likely preclude said championship. The draft is not where you look when your looking for immediate gratification (and don't tell me about Magic Johnson, 200 years ago)
If PA's interested in anything, it would be free agency, but he got beat up pretty good last year, which I'm sure we all remember. Since there are going to be few or no major deals that don't include a sign & trade, I would be surprised if Batum was not required to get a deal done. The Blazers have some mediocre assets to offer, sure, but don't be fooled Edgers, no one is going to let us take the trash out on them, not now. One sided deals are for the trade deadline, and now, there are going to be a lot of offers in play, competition.
This Batum thing presents a problem. The Blazers are set at the 3 w/ him, and over-matched w/out him. Martell is not the answer, and just about everyone is in agreement here. Cunningham is a nice change of pace, but I haven't seen anything to suggest he's special. Since there's only one 3 of note in FA bonanza, and he ain't coming, I'm wondering why we'd make a move that included him. This would mean we don't make a major move at all then.
KP's had a rough year. I'd say he's underpaid, and he's had his legs cut out from beneath him. The draft, however, is like his personal New Years Day. This is where the PA and KP need to come together. One of them has to win this discussion, and the easy money is on big PApa. KP will sift through prospects, but if PA wants to make a splash in FA, or put some distance between he and the luxury tax, the first rounder is likely a thing of the past. I'm sure KP wouldn't mind a shot at the big prize, along w/ keeping his job, so he'll content himself playing Moneyball down in the 2d round. He ought to be paid $850k just for the gems he unearths anyway. He's worth it.
Nate is a different animal. He wants to win now, also, but he may be convinced that he needs to change out a few guys. I'm certain that Nate no longer wants his tenure linked to the performance of Senor Fernandez. KP has also made this jump as well. PA could not be please w/ the Armada either. Things happen. Any move that happens this off-season will likely include Rudy. That is, I would believe, part of The Plan.
But back to Nate, I think he'd also like to bring in another vet. He's got two in Andre and Camby, and I think he'd like to replace Howard's leadership role with someone who can actually defend. This is not a swipe at Howard. Thank you Howard. You were great, and I mean that w/ absolute sincerity. Perhaps you'll take a coaching position. What Nate really wants is a savy. reliable, off the bench scorer, preferably someone who can play 79 or 80 games. Pendergraph can do the fouling, if that's what's needed.
Roster: Potential stars at every position.
1: Andre has plenty left in the tank, and Bayless made progress last year. Point guards need additional seasoning anyway. There's been a lot of discussion about Bayless, but I think it's only fair to point out that a good many PG's have taken a while to mature (Chauncy and Nash come to mind). It's the toughest position on the court to master, mentally, and Bayless is one tough, and determined customer. I don't know who'll be eating crow, but when it comes to THE PLAN, I think he's bought himself some more time.
2: Roy's max contract is in THE PLAN. Rudy is gone. As 2forlarue pointed out:
"Rudy has committed the unpardonable sin—he’s indicated that he would be “happier” playing elsewhere. When this has happened in the past (Jack, Sergio) KP has made a deal to move the player along, usually on draft day."
3: Batum is money, and Cunningham consistently delivers large in short periods of time. They're both cheap for a while too. This is the bargain PLAN, and I thing most everyone is pleased here. Martell presents a bit of an issue because his lack of consistency makes his $'s per minute pretty high. My guess is they wouldn't mind finding a taker here. He's signed for a couple more years, which makes him more attractive to teams that aren't FA destinations.
4: LMA's contract is base year (after July 1), he plays every game, and his ceiling is so high.... I'm pretty certain he's part of THE PLAN. Besides, if you wait him out for one more year, and he is still leaving management wanting, you get full value on his contract, $12 mill in assets. Pendergraph is a cheap, anti-LMA if need one, physical, goes right to the basket, probably worth developing, at least for a while to make sure.
5: Oden is in THE PLAN, and if you disagree, just please save it. I feel you, but this isn't the place. Camby PLAN too, obviously. Joel is interesting, because of everything, but to me he seems like a deadline deal if he's going to be moved- losing team trying to save a few bucks.
So the backup 2/3 FA or straight up trade seems to be THE PLAN? What do you think, and why?