Last night, I transcribed a short conversation between ESPN.com's Bill Simmons and Marc Stein on the Jan. 28 edition of the B.S. Report. Stein provided a few thoughts on possible Portland Trail Blazers trade rumors while Simmons proposed that the United States of America should consider trading the city of Portland to Canada in exchange for Vancouver, BC.
On a more serious note, Simmons conducted a wide-ranging interview with Henry Abbott of TrueHoop, in which the two discuss advanced stats, Abbott's recent Kobe Bryant in the clutch piece, the growth of the basketball blogosphere and a host of other topics.
Of course, Abbott was asked about his Portland Trail Blazers as well. Here's a transcript of the Blogfather's thoughts on all things Blazers. A must-listen and a must-read.
All the injuries
"I have a radical position that pisses off Blazers fans. Which is, I don't want to hear anything about bad luck or whining or anything. That's because this particular market has a particular problem with that. I reached over, I'm holding in my hand, the book about when they went to the Finals in 1990. The name of the book is 'Against The World.' It's like, you know, really?
"They went through the same things every good team goes through, where you have to fight long odds, but for this team it's the entire world conspired against them. Get over yourself already. Life is hard, basketball is hard, the NBA is hard. It seems hard, it's not because you're particularly victimized, it's because it's hard.
"This is a team with one of the richest owners in sport with a whole bunch of young talent. And, sure, OK, it didn't go as well as it should have. Yes, probably your two most valuable players have severe injuries, but so what? There's a deep well of talent. You're a middling team even after a bunch of bad luck. A couple of breaks go your way down the road, you're good again. You do the best you can with what you have and they have as much as most teams, very few teams have better rosters. It sucks that this isn't a great time to be a Blazer fan, but whatever. Better days ahead."
Was it a bad decision to offer Brandon Roy the 5-year extension knowing his injury history?
"I don't know, man. If you only give big contracts to players with clean bills of health, you're limiting yourself to a 1/3 of superstars.
I talked to one of the smartest GMs in the league ... He was like, 'You know what I do? I ignore all of those stinking doctors. They just don't have to win a championship. All they have to do is not get you to sign a guy who might turn out to be injured. They have a totally different agenda. But if you want to win a championship you have to take some risks. Literally, like it's impossible to get a superstar. You just can't.
"Ask a lot of GMs that don't have one. There's just nothing you can do to get one. Now, you're going to have one like Brandon Roy, a star/superstar, an All-Star player, and just take yourself out of the running for him because there's a 20, 30, 40 percent risk of his injury slowing him down? You're not in a position to do that. The resource is too precious, it's too rare. You're not going to get another Brandon Roy no matter what you do.
"Those star players are actually worth like $30 million a year. But the salary cap prevents you from paying that. Are you going to pay Brandon 15 or whatever, half of what he's worth healthy with a 60% likelihood that he's going to be there healthy for five years. It's a good deal. Any team would do it. If you let him go on the open market you think he would have gotten less? I think if you want him, you'v got to pay him like that. There's risk. It's just a risky proposition and it doesn't always go your way."
What should the Blazers do with Greg Oden?
"This is where there's a difference between what's best for the team and what gets the GM fired. If you trade that guy away and he becomes even half of what he might become, everyone thinks you're the biggest idiot ever. Now we're having this same conversation 10 years from now, like, 'What are you talking about? He's the No. 1 overall pick. The next Bill Russell. How do you trade that guy for Michael Beasley or whatever?' So it's a very tough proposition. I honestly think probably the move is keep him around forever and hope that one day when he does shine it's for you.
"It's painful and it's probably not psychologically delightful for Greg himself, who I'm sure -- anything new in his life would be good now. Different is better for him."
Should Portland's training staff take some blame?
"It's too hard to know. I'll tell you this, man. If I owned an NBA ... How much is it worth? Could you possibly overpay the Suns training staff. They're probably worth -- if they can get Greg Oden playing, give him an extra year of productivity -- they're worth 30 million dollars or something like that. I don't know why you wouldn't put so much money into that. Or Arnie Kander in Detroit. These guys who just know how to get players playing and happy and healthy. They are worth their weight in absolute gold. And I can't understand why they're not just top of the list in coveted NBA personnel."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter