I understand this is a very tough subject to talk about, since Joel Przybilla helped usher in a new generation of 'good guys' for the Blazers, and as recently as last year was the longest tenured player on the team. He was the enforcer on the inside, denying little guys and staying his ground with the big guys.
However, over the recent years Joel has suffered two bad knee injuries and has had subsequent surgeries to repair 'em, one after another.
A couple of years ago, Joel was considered one of our best defenders, & he was excellent at setting picks, not demanding the ball on offense, grabbing rebounds, and being the one tough guy that never backed down. However, statistics, advanced stats, and the old eye-test seems to point to Przy falling off his usual production, and making his future contributions pretty iffy.
In 2008-2009, Przy played in all 82 games, averaged 23 mins a game, 5.5 points a game, 8.7 rebounds, a PER of 15.4 (only 0.1 lower than his career high), and a Win Share of 6.6 (career high).
In 2009-2010, Przy played in 30 games, averaged 22 mins a game, 7.9 rebounds and 4.1 points, with a PER of 11.2 and a WS of 1.4 .
In 2010-2011, Przy played in 36 games, averaged 14 mins, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 points. PER of 6.2, and WS of 0.5 .
According to basketball-Reference, his Similarity Scores (players with careers of similar quality and shape) are similar to Jack Nichols, Scot Pollard, Dale Schlueter, and Kevin Kunnert (have you heard of most of these guys? Probably not).
My point being, as much as we've all really enjoyed having Joel on the team these last years, he now brings very little to the team except for fond memories and size. Przybilla has not retired yet, but is said to be leaning that way, and will wait until after Christmas to decide.
However, there are guys like Fesenko (who's apparently injured), Hamed Haddadi, DJ MBenga, Etan Thomas, Alexis Ajinca, Fracisco Elson, Hilton Armstrong, Reggie Evans, Joey Dorsey, and Solomon Jones, amongst others, that could be had on the cheap. My belief is that we could trade for a great Center, or maybe just a passable center (Cole Aldrich or the likes). Other bigs on the cheap who make less than $4mil include Ryan Hollins (CLE), Kosta Koufos (DEN), Timofey Mozgov (DEN), Ben Wallace (DET), Joel Anthony (MIA), Anthony Tolliver (MIN), Johan Petro (NJN), Robin Lopez (PHX), Jason Thompson (SAC) and Tiago Splitter (SAN) (found via the Clips Blog).
In my opinion, we've already signed the best guys we could with what we had available. Jamal Crawford, Kurt Thomas, and 'the Rhino' were great additions, and realistically there was no one else out there that would have been preferable. Guys like Kwame Brown (and Landry) signed 1 year deals in the $9mil range, and Chuck Hayes signed a nice multi year deal that we couldn't possibly offer (sad to hear of his heart condition!).
Now, I will watch and wait patiently to see what management will do before the trade deadline, and if the big nothing occurs, then next year we look primed to grab a couple guys in free agency that could possibly make a difference, or resign young guys like Batum.
Please feel free to argue the benefits of signing Przy below or tell me why you agree with my analysis. I promise, I won't be discouraged either way :)
Note: I'm all for adding this guy as an assistant coach or someone to work with players, etc. He could still be valuable to this franchise, just not as a player IMO. I do understand the belief that Joel should be brought back so he can retire as a Blazer, and I am all for that. I just don't want to have him holding a possibly valuable roster spot at the end of the year.