Now that the much anticipated draft is over (we can argue to its success in other posts), we now face two options to improve this roster, drafts and trades. Olshey has made it pretty clear that he has work to do. Well, so do we. As rabid blazer fans lets jump right back into the GM seat and show what we would do given the power.
LINEUP AFTER DRAFT...
*Assuming we release/not re-contract all expected players
PG - Lillard, McCollum
SG - Matthews, Barton, Crabbe
SF - Batum, Claver
PF - Aldridge, Freeland
C - Leonard, Withey
Portland to Phoenix:
Phoenix trade to Portland:
Trade works - http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeid=pjon27c
My reasoning... WIth Phoenix drafting Len last night, one could assume they are opening up room for teams to make a run at Gortat. I believe they would now only be willing to take on Freelands contract if we were to lessen their cap impact. Portland takes on a total of $3,740,128 in turn clearing the same amount of cap space for Phoenix. I personally don't believe the only reason to get rid of Freeland is to clear more cap room for us. I won't argue why we want Gortat as its been discussed thoroughly already, however in this scenario we are basically swapping one stretch PF for another. Freeland may be more naturally fit to play inside, but in Stotts system he was more or less pushed into a stretch role anyway so why not find a player to fit the system. It doesn't hurt that Fry loves Portland and is a consumate team guy who can drain three's. Also, if his health (heart) does not work out a medical retirement seems like the likely outcome clearing cap space off his last two years of contract. Now, as to why we are dumping Matthews...
For this portion of my plan, I am going to assume the blazers have roughly $13 - $14 million in cap space as has been mentioned many times on this site. We will also have the $2.5 million mid level exemption as well as any minimum two year contracts we'd like to offer.
The trade scenario above cuts into our cap by 3.7 mil so that leaves us will roughly $9-$10 million in free cap space before exceptions.
Frankly I would be happy with any of the following options, all for different reasons but I think they are all within the realm of possibility.
Contract # 1 - Starting SG Options in order of expected next contract
Tyreke Evans - ($10 mill) Reke in my opinion would make for an absolute leathal backcourt with Lillard and McCollum. Young, athletic, can get to the hoop however I see this I see as a stretch to get him for only $10 mil. I'm guessing he'll pull closer to $12.
JJ Reddick - ($8-10 mill) I like JJ because he fits Stotts system of confident outside shooters, with the added bonus of him having grown into a "decent' perimeter defender.
Gerald Henderson - ($6-8 mill) Basically, I see this as a fairly direct swap of Matthews for Henderson. They share a similar game with Henderson having a bit more offensive firepower. He did receive his qualifying offer today 4.3 mil. so I have stretched his expected salary to push Charlotte as it will be a RFA.
Tony Allen - ($6-8 mill) We all know what Tony does, defense. We lose out on Wes' ability to hit the long ball but seriously gain some perimeter defense with this move.
Contract # 2 - Cheap Backup Defensive Big Man Options in order of expected next contract
Elton Brand - ($2-4) Proven vet, you know what your getting as long as his game does not depreciate as he ages.
Andray Blatche - ($2-4) Look what he did last year for Brooklyn and imagine him being a great rebounding and interior presence. Looks like he cleared up any character issues this year as well.
Dejuan Blair - ($2-4) We should have drafted him when we had the chance. Now is the time to fix our past wrongs. Plus he's been through a couple years with the greatest coach currently in the game.
Tyler Hansbrough - ($1-3) Although polarizing, you know you will get everything this kid has to offer. Also he is young enough that his overall talent still has plenty of room to grow.
Dante Cunningham - ($1-3) Knows the team, therefore would be an easy transition. After spending some time in Memphis this guy has grown a set defensively and yet still has that nice spot up jumper to his game.
Brandan Wright - ($1-3) Has a very simple game and would be used for defense and rebounding, just what we need.
Alright, there's my two cents. Give your's and lets hold our breath until Sunday night at 9pm when handshake agreements can start to take place.