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Trading LA, Batum, and Matthews for the Lillard Rebuild


Quite a few trades have been tossed out there involving us sending out LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and/or Wesley Matthews and rebuilding around Damian Lillard and other young players.

While I was a big proponent of trading Wallace, Camby, Crawford, and Felton for a rebuild, I do not favor the full rebuild strategy. I think we have enough pieces and potential to justify not going for the full rebuild. But, it did get me thinking; what could that look like?

(Buckle your seatbelts, draft night rebuilds can get a little crazy. Note: Some of these trades would have to officially take place after free agency begins for salary purposes)

Step #1: Aldridge to Detroit for Charlie Villanueva, Andre Drummond, #8, and a 2014 1st rounder

Detroit, growing impatient, gets a star to put alongside Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight, and company. That gives them a shot at the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference. They also maintain some cap room for a wing-player by getting rid of Villanueva's loathsome contract.

The Blazers get some good assets from their star. A high potential center and a mid-lotto pick. The Pistons would be expecting a playoff run, but if that doesn't work out, we get a lotto pick in the hyped 2014 class.

Step #2: Batum to Cleveland for #19, 2014 1st rounder, and the protected 2015 1st rounder from Memphis

The Cavs have a hole at 3 (until LeBron come back of course) and have shown significant interest in Batum. This trade lets them keep the #1 and presuming the pick Noel, gives them a young core starting five of Noel, Thompson, Batum, Waiters, and Irving. According to Nick Gilbert, they have no intention of going back to the lotto anyway.

For the Blazers, it gives us more draft assets, key in the rebuild, also giving us more trade and cap flexibility. There are no silver bullets here. The Cavs would be surrendering their pick unprotected with the expectation that they will be making a playoff run with this team. But we take the risk, knowing that at least four of their key players are injury risks.


Step #3: Wesley Matthews and #41 to Minnesota for Luke Ridnour, Malcom Lee, and #9

There are a few reasons Minnesota does this. They have a plethora of white backup point guards already. They need to win now to keep Kevin Love in the fold, which the #9 pick doesn't help them do. They have been trying to acquire a wing who can shoot and defend (and Matthews has repeatedly torched them) ever since they filled their quota of power forwards and point guards.

Plus, and maybe this is not the case since Kahn is no more, they have an unhealthy fetish for any Portland wing players in the rotation. This is kind of a tangent, but I was intrigued and looked in to it. Pop Quiz: Who was our last contributing wing player, if you don't count combo forwards like Wallace or Outlaw, or combo guards like Bayless or Crawford, that Minnesota did NOT try to acquire?

Tangent aside, we continue to stockpile lotto picks, even if they are in a weak draft. Ridnour and Lee are for salary purposes, though it is nice to have a good veteran like Ridnour on a team that will be very young. Plus, as a contributing player on an expiring contract, he could have value closer to the deadline.

Step #4: #45 to Dallas for Shawn Marion and #13

Cap clearing move for Dallas. They clear about $10.5 million in cap space with this deal so they can save it for some more futile free agency attempts.

We get yet another pick, just by utilizing our cap space. Ditto what I said about Ridnour, except Marion might be unwilling to play that role. We could trade him to a playoff team or buy him out potentially.

Step #5: #8, #13, #19, and #40 to Charlotte for #4 and our pick back

Charlotte is (still) starved for talent, and since there aren't any clear stars at #4 they are just as well served to move down a few spots and acquire more picks instead.

For us with all the picks we would have, there is a limit to how many rookies and second year players you want on one team. This consolidates it a bit and allows us to get our man (Oladipo). Plus, is it just me or is it a pain to have to worry about giving our pick away every year for the next several, without the ability to trade it?

Step #6: Draft

Deep breaths... We come out of that trade madness with #4, #9, and #10. At #4 Oladipo looks to be the guy, though if McLemore or Porter are available instead we could happily scoop them up.

At #9 and #10, ya'll will have to chime in on who would be the best in this scenario. I would steer away from a potential head case like Shabazz on a team this young. Cody Zeller doesn't look quite as bad for a team that needs an athletic power forward instead of a defensive center, and CJ McCollum could be our CGOTF if he is available.

Step #7: Post-Mortem

So here is your roster post draft (Villanueva would be waived or bought out):

PG Lillard/Ridnour/McCollum

SG Oladipo/Barton

SF Marion/Claver/Papanikaloua

PF Zeller/Freeland

C Drummond/Leonard

We would have three picks for the big 2014 draft (and ours would probably be high, a lineup this young ain't gonna be in playoff contention.

We would have a ton of cap-room. That isn't as big of a deal when you are a rebuilding team but we could take on a big contract for assets, or throw front loaded contracts to young free agents who could be part of the rebuild. I am not going to get too deep in to that for obvious reasons.

One franchise changing draftee, some shrewd moves to fill in the team, and bam! Contender status.

I can almost talk myself in to it.

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