At the start of the 2012 season all-star PF LA had a heart to heart with new general manager NEIL OLSHEY about the direction that he would be taking this team as well as the future of the all-star PF. OLSHEY told LA that he would not be traded in 2012-13 or 2013-14 and that he would be "very aggressive" in acquiring LA another star to play with this summer. With the teams early success this year it's starting to look like the Bobcats will get our 1st round pick but this is one of the weakest drafts in a while and the BLAZERS don't need another rookie player.
The great thing about having PAUL ALLEN is of course his deep pockets and he has spent money in the past to acquire talent and more important to keep talent. Now the elephant in the room is what to do with JJ HICKSON who has been having the season of his life finally showing the NBA what he can do. Some BLAZER fans think that OLSHEY should trade him and get a "real center" to play along with LA who we all know HATES playing the center position. HICKSON is in a contract year and some believe that once HICKSON get's paid he will all of a sudden go back to the JJ HICKSON of the Sacramento Kings which is almost comical. This is not unheard of what HICKSON is doing. A player who is not happy with his situation or how he is being used can cause a players game to slip but all it takes is a fresh start or a clean slate and he can blossom which is what I believed has happened with JJ HICKSON. GM who want to stay employed DO NOT trade talented big men who happen to be averaging double-doubles. Talented big men, regardless of size are very hard to acquire and big men are normally slower in their overall development. Is this the case with JJ.......................All I know is he needs to remain with the BLAZERS and more important he is happy here and wants to stay. Everyone wants to talk about the BLAZERS and ODEN and Sam Bowie picks but also don't forget about the talented big men that PORTLAND has traded in the past and got no were close to equal value. Zach Randolph trade to the Knicks, the Jermaine O'Neal trade to the Indiana Pacers and I would even throw in the Rasheed Wallace trade to the Hawks. The bottom line with all three trades is that the BLAZERS came out with the short end of the stick. Wallace was the key to the Pistons winning a ring, O'Neal went on to have multiple all-star appearances with Indiana while Zach Randolph has matured and still putting up double doubles leading Memphis to a deep run in the playoffs last year. Guys, the bottom line is when you get big men who can play you have to do everything in your power to keep them because they are just as important as a good PG because they make the game easy for the rest of their team mates. JJ HICKSON has found a home in PORTLAND and there is a chance that he can get better. HICKSON can either start or come off the bench but either way OLSHEY has to find a way to keep this man in a BLAZER uniform for the next 2-3 seasons.
Now it's clear that OLSHEY would like to acquire a "true" center and looking at the free agents of this summer only one player jumps out to me as a strong possibility. Before I mention his name I want to mention the season that Roy Hibbert is having this year and the max deal that OLSHEY signed him to before Indiana came in and matched. Hibbert was OLSHEY #1 target and Hibbert is having a horrible season averaging about 9ppg,8rebounds BUT blocking close to 3 shots a game which is huge. But a max player has to do way more than that. Your max player is suppose to be the face of the franchise and Hibbert is probably the Pacers fourth option right now. The one stat that is shocking is that he is only shooting 40% from the floor and this is the guy that OLSHEY targeted. Now would he be putting up better numbers with PORTLAND is the million dollar question. Now back to this summer, I believe/hope that OLSHEY goes after Al Jefferson who could really put the BLAZERS over the top and make them relevant again in the WESTERN CONFERENCE. Would it be possible to both sign HICKSON and AL JEFFERSON this summer, would owner PAUL ALLEN be willing to pay the tax which is much more than in the past. I think he would because he has in the past. LILLARD, BATUM and LA with a legit big man in AL JEFFERSON could be deadly giving the BLAZERS a very potent starting 5 with size and shooting.
I think OLSHEY is a man who will keep his word and go hard this summer to improve this team. OLSHEY knows that LA would not be willing to waste another year in the rebuilding process. His prime years are ticking away game after game.