A Prospective Shot at Instantly Rebuilding the Portland Trail Blazers

Dave,

You've said that the Blazers should rebuild through the draft instead of reloading. Change it up. Step into their shoes for a second and give us your best shot at an instant resurrection. Trade the picks. Spend the salary. Go!

(sigh)

OK, but I don't like doing it. There are so many choices and so few of them truly good. It'll be a good exercise, though, if nothing else for people calling me an idiot and trying to do better. That always boosts the comment count.

Here are my criteria for doing this (somewhat under protest):

1. I want to fill every position of need. I could devise plenty of scenarios that stacked the team but left them without any center. I'm eschewing those and going whole hog.

2. I assume we're acquiring established players here. No more "get the young guy and hope", or why wouldn't we just draft? We're going for instant contention.

3. I'm also assuming Portland has the #6 and #11 picks in this year's draft to play with.

4. No completely lopsided trades in Portland's favor. If we're buying a guy we're paying a price the other team will go for.

5. I'm using $17.5 million as Portland's available cap space, renouncing J.J. Hickson and assuming Jamal Crawford opts out. I'm grabbing that number from BlazerFanSince1970's Fanpost and salary info from StoryTeller's Site

Click through for the moves.

Step 1: Offer the #6 pick in this year's draft to the Houston Rockets for Kyle Lowry. The Rockets get more cash and roster space for Goran Dragic and get a good lottery selection to boot. The Blazers take on $5,750,000 in salary but lose the cap hold on the #6 pick have a starting point guard. Do the Rockets like Lowry better than Dragic? Maybe. Do the Rockets like Lowry better than Dragic and the #6 pick is the question.

Cap Space Remaining: $14,000,000

Step 2: Offer to take Emeka Okafor off of New Orleans' hands whole hog. The Hornets don't need Okafor because they're not going anywhere (but broke) in the next couple seasons and they dump $28 million in salary over that span with this move...money they can pocket or split between other free agents they covet more. The Blazers get a really expensive center but are only required to pay him for two years before re-evaluating.

Cap Space Remaining: < $500,000

Step 3: This is decision time. You could quit right now and re-sign Nicolas Batum, keeping the #11 pick. Or you could go for broke. Since it's more fun and controversial, let's do the latter. Re-sign Batum for around $8,500,000 per year and offer him plus Luke Babbitt plus the #11 pick to Philadelphia for Andre Igudoala. Iggy's stats went down this year but he's still considered a strong #1a option, he can defend, and he produces stats all around unlike the more mercurial and younger Batum. Philly starts a rebuild with two young players, Batum (who actually put up better stats than Iguodala in some ways) and whomever they select with that pick. Plus they potentially open up $6-ish million more in cap space in 2013, which along with Elton Brand's contract expiring will give them a ton.

Portland's new starting lineup: Lowry, Matthews, Iguodala, Aldridge, Okafor. That's a darn fine defensive crew, if nothing else.

Problem #1: There's literally no bench here. Nothing. You're depending on the Jonny Flynn's and Joel Przybilla's of the world to come back and supplement Nolan Smith, Elliot Williams, and Kurt Thomas.

Problem #2: I still don't believe this team comes out of the West.

BUT you've restocked right away and you're still under the luxury tax threshold.

I don't like it, really. I don't think it will work. But these are the kinds of things you have to consider if you're looking at filling the cupboard again immediately.

Think you can do better under the same criteria? Have at it in the comment section.

--Dave

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