So, the midseason trade deadline is slowly starting to creep up on us, and I feel like this team is wrapped up in a great deal of uncertainty. Back in September, I would have told you with great confidence that we would do nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING at the mid-season. Clearly Dr. No's plan was to stink it up big time and hold onto our draft pick heading into the summer of 2013... but few plans ever survive unmolested. Here are some reasons why trying to get better in the midseason might be a sensible strategy:
- Flirting with the playoffs? While the safe money is still on our record getting worse as the season progresses, we are at a much higher risk than thought we'd ever be on losing our pick because we're just playing too well. If you believe that your trajectory for this season is that bubble where you are out of the playoffs and out of your pick as well, wouldn't you do something about it? Rather than double down on the tanking, maybe you try and pick up steam instead, which is good for the development of your young lottery picks.
- Draft, Shmaft. Related to item #1, there seems to be a building consensus that the next draft might be one we're not going to be so bummed about missing. Even if we keep our pick, the difference between say, 7 and 12 is bound to be significant.
- Strike while the iron is hot. I dunno about all of you, but I've looked at the upcoming FA season, and kind of like the draft, I'm not terribly impressed. The most attractive players are all RFA, and the big name UFAs have baggage of one sort or another (see: Andrew Bynum). The players you might be most excited about getting might have to be nailed down via a trade rather than an FA signing. With cap space and a golf bag of assorted expiring contracts on hand, we are not just positioned for a lopsided trade, we are attractive partners to facilitate a variety of three-way deals which would otherwise be impossible for other teams to complete. In fact, given the relatively unattractive roster of trade bait we have to offer (barring Wesley and JJ), it might be much easier to be a facilitator than to engage in a direct trade.
- JJ Hickson... to keep or not to keep? I forget whether JJ is under Bird Rights, or Early Bird Rights, or Obscure CBA Clause Vaguely Resembling Bird Rights. I need one of our local capologists to interject here. But my impression has been that we can't keep JJ without having some sort of negative impact on our ability to make a big splash over the summer. If you have decided that JJ is a keeper, doesn't that create an incentive to use that cap space before the deadline?
So based on all this speculative reasoning, here's my challenge to all the trade machine junkies: Name a player or players that you think the Blazers would want, and could get in either a two-way or three-way trade, that only costs us cap space and/or throwaway contracts. In other words, no including Wesley or JJ in the deal. Bonus points if you can structure a deal that the other team(s) would actually want to do.