The rumors swirled on draft night, stirred by comments from Nic Batum, that Portland might be a future home for TP. One had to wonder if the salary tax flexibility created by the addition of Gomes' partially guaranteed contract would be a key to adding Parker without giving up a key piece. While others might be willing to move LaMarcus or Nic in a deal to land TP, I suspect most people want to see what this team can do healthy next season, trying to add some pieces around our core instead of shipping off key people. Unfortunately, the rules prohibiting a trade packaging Gomes with other players makes it hard to make a deal work between Portland and SA. Gomes for McDyess (a contract that SA might want to get rid of) almost works but doesn't get it done. There are deals that work for Parker either before or after July 1, but I don't see why SA does any of them if Nic is not included. Do they really want to create space for George Hill that badly? TP's deal is expensive, but doesn't go beyond next season. While Parker is the better player at the moment, age, contract and need issues make it very difficult to justify moving Nic to get him. I would love to have Parker on the team, but I can't see it happening.
I have heard the idea floated of a Michael Beasley for Gomes deal. I'm not sure if Miami gives Beasley away for nothing. If they are planning to waive Gomes, couldn't they find a team with cap space enough to absorb Beasley's deal who would take him for a 2nd round pick? Remember that even after Gomes is waived, he is owed over $2M. I can't believe there won't be better offers for Beasley. I have yet to mention the questionable fit of Beasley with the Blazers. We don't want to go back to the Whitsitt days of acquiring talent that doesn't fit together properly.
A interesting PF target that could work in a deal for Gomes is Brandon Bass. There were many Blazer fans looking at him as an interesting target last off season. Orlando is paying luxury tax money for his contract and might be interested in finding a less expensive option for his backup role. Jason Maxiell is another potential target, but I think Bass is the more likely of the two to be moved.
Another trade that might be available that we could consider is Gomes for Reggie Evans of Toronto. Evans gives us more of the inside "banger" at PF that we have wanted to back up LaMarcus. This could be part of a separate, but related deal to land Jose Calderon, but wouldn't necessarily need to accompany another deal. It is interesting that we are so motivated to land TP with his questionable defense and quickly dismiss Calderon. I think the bigger question with Calderon is will his offensive form return to what it was 2-3 years ago, or is what we saw last year what we are going to get in the future. Calderon could likely be had for a package of Andre Miller and Rudy. If you combine the 2 deals, Evans and Calderon, Toronto would see dramatic future cap savings. With Bosh ready to move on, unless they can put together a decent S&T for Bosh they are needing to start over. I can't see them turning this down. I can definitely see the Blazers turning it down. Those contracts are ugly and the players have flaws, but Calderon shooting touch and PG skills could be a nice fit with the Blazers assuming he returns to form. I haven't looked closely at the luxury tax implications, but I suspect they are ugly and we would have to really like Calderon to make the move. Perhaps keeping Gomes to waive his contract would make it more palatable to swallow Calderon's deal. Would Toronto do the Calderon deal if we aren't also giving salary relief with Evans? If we view backup PF as one of our biggest needs then Evans may make sense by himself. However, I don't see that as our biggest need. Even if we do, perhaps we would prefer to target Udonis Haslem in free agency to Evans.
It still seems equally or more likely that we waive Gomes without trading him and use the savings to become a player in free agency using the MLE. Our need for a veteran player who can provide some minutes on the wing seems like a bigger need than backup PF, especially if Rudy is moved. There are some interesting names that might be available for mid-level money (or less) including: Mike Miller, Kyle Korver, Raja Bell, JJ Redick, John Salmons, Anthony Morrow, Matt Barnes, Roger Mason and Al Harrington. I like Redick and Morrow but I'm not sure if they are realistic targets as they are restricted and their teams may opt to hang onto them. Do we want to go through another Milsap RFA drama this summer? Miller may be the most realistic if we can sell him on his role here and he doesn't get offered more money elsewhere. Barnes (has a player option and may not opt out) and Mason both have reputations as good perimeter shooters, but really aren't that great. They could fit as veterans to provide bench depth on near vet minimum deals.
So what is the best move? I think some will like Calderon (with or without Evans) while others will hate it. Andre Miller fans will hate it and Bayless fans probably don't want a younger highly paid PG. I think talent-wise Calderon is the best result, but it really puts us in a bad salary situation for the future. I would look hard at a deal for Calderon, but probably pass. We need to have the flexibility to sign some of our young guys in the future. I think we should try to get a sense from Mike Miller's agent whether we are a likely destination for his client. If that has legs, I think Mike Miller on an MLE deal is more attractive than Calderon. If that looks like a long-shot I would look hard at an Orlando deal for Bass. Not an area of need necessarily, but talent upgrade on a reasonable deal. Lastly, I would roll the dice on one of the RFA's and hope for the best.