We're both Portland fans living elsewhere now, we're both excited by the team's success so far this year, and we both see parallels to the 1998-99 team that surprised everyone in the regular season and got murdered in the WCF by San Antonio, then traded the entire bench for Pippen a year later and came within a colossal meltdown of reaching the Finals. That Pippen team was the last Blazer team to win a playoff series, need it be said, and Portland has gone longer without a playoff win than any NBA franchise, need it be said.
My brother mailed me after the Clippers win:
"what about Kevin Garnett - is he eligible to be traded? would he take coming in to Portland and leading our bench/ closing games with Aldridge? would having an insane guy ruin the team? woudl the nets of all teams do a salary shed?"
Now, that strikes me as interesting. I don't regard Garnett as insane, just intense about winning. (Sheed could have used more intensity about winning, and less about feeling "dissed" by refs or Sabonis. Sheed was oddly calm after the 2000 meltdown; Garnett would have started strangling random bystanders.) In a fantasy universe, Garnett would obviously solve a lot of problems.
I don't know (or much care) if it's doable under salary-cap restrictions; that's not what intrigued me about the idea. What I found interesting was the thought process, which I don't see a lot of people who write about the Blazers (here or elsewhere) sharing: that the team is close to championship-level now, and should trade away picks/prospects/a lesser starter for serious (not mediocre) veteran help. That's what the Blazers did between 99 and 00, and it almost worked.
Is this team good enough for that kind of strategy? Or should it stay with what it has, see how far it can go this year, and hope to attract free agents more interested in supplementing a contender than landing a big contract in a big market?
I have no opinion on this and I only love following the team, I'm no wizard on any NBA details. I simply wonder what others think about short-term-versus-long-term aspirations. Any who have strong opinions or NBA wizardry, I'd enjoy reading what you have to say on the matter.