Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated takes a look at the Portland Trail Blazers as they enter the trade deadline period, wondering if making a trade to bolster the bench would make sense with the possibility of a playoff run looming.
For Portland general manager Neil Olshey, it remains a question laden with risk. The Blazers may be able to come up with a short-term deal to increase their production. But that same deal may also damage the long-term goals of a young roster and ruin a formula that has been succeeding beyond anyone's expectations.
"That's the thing -- nobody ever looks at that,'' Olshey said. "They look at Player X averages 11 points a game, and your bench guy averages five. OK, but Player X could take my young guys and have them running the streets or out at night or in the locker room in their ear. Destroying that asset far outweighs the benefit. It's the old, 'Are you more valuable than your problems?' And that's what you've really got to analyze.''
"You have Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard and Nicolas Batum -- these young, talented guys,'' Olshey said, the first two being rookies and the third a fifth-year player. "You've got to ask yourself: Does a player that you bring in that might be considered a fringe character guy, if he takes one of these [young] guys down with him, does losing one of them justify having a guy maybe that can give you three or four more points a game?''
"We compete every night,'' said Olshey, who is in his first year with Portland after leaving his job as Clippers GM last offseason. "They give great effort. Guys are playing hurt. They play together, they share the ball, they're getting better as the season goes on. We're certainly a much better team today than we were back in October, and we really are a sum of the parts. You break down our roster and you say, 'They're in a rebuilding mode.' And then you look at what the total team approach has been with Terry [Stotts, the first-year coach] and you say, 'They've exceeded those expectations.' Because they are the kinds of guys that play every night no matter what our record is."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter