The Blazers right now are kind of stuck in between contending for a championship and building for the future. I think they still have a shot at contending with some good moves though. It is also nice to be a contending team with some nice younger pieces. Here are steps to take this off-season to head that direction.
1) Trade Batum, Fernandez, and A. Johnson for Stephen Curry
This is the big move, and one that is not too likely to actually happen. The Dubs may not want to part with their young point guard, but really need to get rid of him or Ellis. This would be a good move if they do. Batum would be a major MIP candidate next year, probably averaging 16-19 points, and would bring some rare defense plus plenty of potential. Rudy would be a good fit and could revive his career, and Armon still has some potential and could backup Ellis.
2) Acquire extra picks in the draft
I think Portland could grab a couple extra late-round picks without sweating. Maybe Luke and cash for OKC's pick (they really don't need another pick and if they do they will get a white SF anyway). Then Chris and cash for a ending first round or early second round pick.
3) Pick up bigs and talent
Say, Nikola Vuvevic with our first, then Josh Selby and Lucas Noguiera, and Oregon's Michael Dunigan with our second round pick.
****4) Trade Roy for Hamilton****
Portland gets a nice veteran role player to play big minutes off the bench in return for one of their big question marks. Detroit gets rid of one of their headaches, gets someone who can boost attendance, and who could potentially get back to being an All-Star
(That one is a huge question mark, especially because of the CBA and Roy's long contract. This would only happen if there is no "amnesty" provision, which there probably will be)
5) Bring back Oden
But don't go crazy. Let him sign for the qualifying offer, or give him something about $8 mil a year. $40 mil for 4 yrs is too much at this point.
6) Give Reggie Williams some mid-level love
Golden State is great at finding diamonds in the rough, and then letting them go to other teams (Morrow, Tolliver, Watson etc.). We should give Williams a big chunk of the mid-level and see if the Warriors will match. We may have already provided them with his replacement anyway.
7) Round out the roster with minimum-scale big players
Bring back Pendy, plus Joel if he wants, Battie if he doesn't. You can never have too many big-men.
Our lineup looks like this:
C Camby/Oden/Vucevic/Przy or Battie
SG Matthews/Roy or Hamilton/E.Williams
Our starting lineup would be great, dominating with Oden in good form or Camby back to 2010 levels. Curry and Aldridge could do some killer pick-and-rolls, and would make a great big three with Wallace joining. Matthews could be the perimeter defender and knock down threes.
Andre would have to accept his role, but he would be a killer backup (and Curry is a lot better than Blake). He could also play alongside Curry for some stretches and would start when Curry misses games. Hamilton gives us championship experience and starter quality play off the bench (he too would have to accept that role). If Roy stays we would pick his spots and not give him heavy minutes. Williams can play three positions, and gives us versatility and shooting off the bench. We would still go small at times, but wouldn't be forced to do so. The veteran big-men could play spot minutes where needed.
Noguiera would percolate in another country for awhile and could be part of the future. Vucevic would be the backup 5, at least while Oden is out. Selby would be for the future, Dunigan is a low-risk big-man, any contribution would be a bonus. Elliot could have a chance to step in if an injury occurs.
We would also have flexibility to do a major trade if something came up towards the deadline with expiring contracts and young pieces.
I think that's a contending team in 2012, and could still be (with some changes of course) in 2017.
What do you guys think? Are these the right rookies to target? The right veterans?