Many people have lamented that even if Hibbert and Batum are signed, the Blazers aren't contenders. The problem with that is we would lose most of our roster flexibility. Any improvements would have to come through trades.
This seems to match well with Olshey's "asset acquisition phase" philosophy and it brings me to two question I want to ask.
At what salary does Batum stop being an asset? In other words, when does he stop being an attractive trade piece and instead becomes a burdensome "bad" contract that teams want to unload (see Joe Johnson).
Remember that this is a very different question from what Batum is worth. Most people would agree that Iggy is overpaid yet he is still a very valuable trade asset. It also factors in other teams' perception of his potential in addition to any future improvement/regression in Batum's game. How is/will Batum be perceived around the league?
At what point is cap space equal to Batum's salary a more valuable asset than Batum? This takes on a different set of assumptions. If Indiana matches and we don't make other major signings the team will be under the cap next year as well. This means all of Batum's salary could have been cap space. At what point would you rather have the cap space than Batum?
This may be an even tougher question as it may depend not just on Batum's salary but also our starting point. For example, Batum may be worth more than going from $0 cap space to $10 mil cap space but going from $5 mil cap space to $15 mil cap space may be more valuable because it allows to pursue a premier FA. Same salary but different answer depending on the starting point.
It also depends on the FAs available in 2013. To give you a taste: Paul, Lowry, Curry, Collison, Holiday, Ellis, Evans, Martin, Harden, Smith, Ibaka, Millsap, D12, Bynum, Gortat (ETO) - *note: most of these restricted
Essentially, I'm curious what people's thoughts are about the match/don't match debate from an asset maximization perspective. Lots of people have been touching on this but as I think this is the way Olshey may be looking at it (and in many ways, the way the question should be considered) I wanted to ask it explicitly.