First Fan Post here, so be gentle.
Thanks in large part to Dave's recent breakdown of the Portland Roster and the looming offseason, I - like many of you, I'm sure - have been considering a multitude of options for the Blazers to improve. To the point where my it's all my brother and I really talk about anymore. Something needs to be done. The assets in place are too precious not to.
Let's be honest. you don't trade your lone All Star and you don't trade your ROY. The bench is pretty much worthless and this is one of the weakest drafts in a long time. The Blazers have two real chips to use that can push things and those are Batum and Matthews. In order to make the team better, you have to consider the options. From all of that, I wanted to run a hypothetical trade by you all and get your thoughts. So here's the trade I propose, followed by my rationale:
Matthews and the 10 Pick to Houston for Omer Asik.
There will be a few teams trying to clear cap space for Dwight Howard and recent talk has Houston being one of the prime candidates. However Houston needs to clear out another $5 million to sign him. With Asik on the payroll at the same time, the Rockets would have roughly $28 million assigned to one position. One of them has to go.
In an ideal situation, I would send Batum, but Houston is too high on Parsons to take that trade. Therefore, if you send Matthews at $6.8 million, and the 10 pick, the Rockets are able to shed salary plus improve their depth. Matthews, with his three point shooting, defense, hustle and leadership, becomes the ideal candidate to back up Harden. He's durable, tough and would be good in situations where you want to run Harden at the one. Plus, Daryl Morey will always take a lottery pick. Basically, Houston sheds salary, builds a much deeper backcourt, and gets a lottery pick for future considerations.
What the Blazers get out of it though, is key. Now I don't want this to come across as an indictment of Matthews. I like his game and, in a perfect world, would love to see him a Blazer for life. But this world is far from perfect. The Blazers need to make big moves and make them fast. In this trade, they get a great Center on a great contract that will fit in nicely with Aldridge and Lillard, but more importantly they get value with their cap space.
Right now, looking at the current crop Free Agents, you are more likely to get more bang for your buck at the 2 or the 3 than at the 5. By snagging Asik, the Blazers go along way to shore up the 5 while giving Leonard some room to grow. In exchange, you get to start looking at free agents like Josh Smith, Tyreke Evans, O.J. Mayo and J.J. Redick. Names that really start moving things forward for the team.
I love Matthews and I don't want to this to come across as a critique. But the Blazers have to look at a lot of hard decisions this summer, and this seems like the most logical.
I'm also not above trading Batum independently. But that's another discussion.
What do you all think?