Scott Leedy of Hardwood Paroxysm offers some thoughts on the Portland Trail Blazers' 2013 offseason.
Unfortunately, the Blazers are a little stuck. A bad team is unlikely to trade their 2014 pick for Aldridge, and even if they did his play would likely decrease the value of that pick by the time the lottery rolls around. Maybe the Blazers could move Aldridge for a handful of younger assets, but they'd be stuck getting cents on the dollar. If you can't get good return value, keeping Aldridge really becomes the only option. Fortunately for the Blazers, retaining Aldridge is a good problem to have. Aldridge can only help the development of Damian Lillard. Having an intelligent, extremely talented big man to work with, around, and through is an invaluable experience for a young NBA point guard. The fans love Aldridge, and with so many weakened teams, the Aldridge-Lillard-Batum core may be enough to carry the Blazers to a playoff berth.
If the Blazers can't get worse, they might as well get better. Not only has Olshey improved the team, he's done it at next to no cost. Acquiring Robin Lopez, a defensive-minded center, on a cheap contract was the perfect antidote to the J.J. Hickson plague. Lopez provides the rim protection required of any center that plays next to Aldridge, something Hickson was never suited for. Olshey took advantage of Houston's burning desire to clear cap space, and netted Thomas Robinson for essentially nothing. This is a no lose situation for the Blazers; Robinson can't make their bench any worse.
Barring a miracle, the Blazers aren't getting an Andrew Wiggins or a Jabari Parker. There's not a clear path back to relevancy; there's no one to put the entire weight of the franchise upon. Lillard is terrific but I'm not sure he's that kind of special. For the, Blazers I think that's a good thing. They need a break from the savior storyline. It's refreshing to just try and forget about expectations and deliverance. For even the best teams, perfection and triumph can be disappointingly elusive. I think it's a good idea to let this team breathe.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter