How does Olshey make the numbers dance for LaMarcus Aldridge?

via i.imgur.com

What if Olshey has figured out a formula for this decision? What would that formula look like? This post explores that question.

Perhaps the formula would weigh the likelihood of gaining quality assets (QA) in the draft if the Portland Trail Blazers (PTB) can gain quality assets (QA) for LaMarcus Aldridge (LMA) versus the likelihood that LMA leaves the team if Olshey can only add mediocre assets (MA). This formula might also likely factor in the likelihood of getting another All-Star quality player (AS) if the PTB were to lose LMA, thus demonstrating the value of putting resources into retaining versus getting value for LMA. I thought that laying this out in a simple measurable way might help to make more sense of what I think Olshey's decision tree might look like.

This is a star's league. Stars provide more value to a team than quality assets. Let's suppose that Olshey's goal is to have 3 all-stars (AS) on the Portland Trailblazers in order to seriously contend for the championship. Let's further suppose that Damien Lillard (DL) will become an All-Star as soon as LMA's current contract is up. Let's suppose that all-stars (AS) are half again as valuable as a quality asset.

LMA = AS. DL = AS. AS = 1.5QA.

In that case, if LMA stays, PTB are only one all-star (AS) short of the goal. If LMA is traded, PTB are two all-stars (AS) short of the goal, so the trade and draft outcomes are more influential in whether PTB achieves success. If all other aspects of the PTB stay the same, we can just focus on LMA, DL, and assets in trade or draft for this forumula.

PTB = LMA + DL = 2AS = 3QA

LMA has asked for a rebounding, paint-defending, shot-blocking center next to him on the roster, a quality asset center (QAC). So, if a quality asset (QAC) = Paint-Defending, Rebounding, Shot-blocking Center, will LMA stay if Olshey can only get a Rebounding, Shot-blocking mediocre asset center (MAC)?

MAC = 0.67QA.

Let's suppose that mediocre assets (MA) are half as valuable as quality assets (QA).

MA = 0.5QA

Can the PTB attract another all-star by keeping LMA?

PTB = DL + LMA + MAC + MA = 3 AS?

Rewriting the formula in terms of QA, yields:

PTB = 4.12QA = 4.5QA?

It seems like we may fall short in this plan, but if we can swing one lucky trade or draft, we could be in business.

If trading LMA could yield quality assets (QA), could those quality assets turn into 2 all-stars (AS)?

PTB = DL - LMA + QA1 + QA2 = 3AS?

Rewriting the formula in terms of QA, yields:

PTB = 3QA - 1.5QA + 2QA = 4.5QA

PTB = 3.5QA = 4.5QA

It seems like the assets that are more measurable are farther away from adding up to 3 all-stars (AS), but we have more quality assets (QA) received from the LMA trade. QA have a higher probability of turning into all-stars than mediocre assets (MA). PTB would need their 2QA to turn into 3QA, which means both quality assets (QA) would need to turn into all-stars (AS)

2(1.5QA) = 3QA.

Conclusion: Keeping LMA comes closer to the goal, but has fewer assets with which PTB might close the gap to 3 all-stars (AS). Trading LMA leaves the PTB quite a bit further from the goal, but there are more quality assets (QA) with which the PTB might close the gap to 3 all-stars (AS).

What do you think? How would you quantify Olshey's decision? I know there are some major math nerds on BE who could blow this kindergarten stuff out of the water...

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