Channing Frye. He's the one guy I can think of who would improve us this year and be a realistic target. Only problem: I don't think we have the assets to get him on our own. BUT if Olshey could play match-maker, help grease the wheels on a three-way, I think it's not too much of a stretch.
I love Channing, always have. A good, blue-collar player who is a Portland guy thru-&-thru. He would be able to back up the 4 or the 5 and provide decent, NBA-quality post defense off our bench. He'd be able to shoot the 3-ball and keep the court spread and would probably be content being the first big off the bench knowing he doesn't have to carry the offense at all and that Stotts would work on getting his efficiency up on that end of the court perhaps at the expense of his PPG. He could play along side LMA or RoLo and would provide the competition in practice to push our young bigs to improve. Channing is an inch taller than Freeland and an inch shorter than Lopez and within about 5 or 6 pounds of each so we're not losing too much size when playing him with LMA or Robinson and since he's spent a good part of his career as a Center he already has the knowledge and instincts to play the spot, especially in our conservative defensive scheme. He's played with both LMA in Portland and with RoLo in PHX and I've heard both say nice things about him. Overall he is an impact player that would strengthen our bench on both ends of the court without disrupting the chemistry in the locker room AND since his deal only runs through the end of the '14-15 season, he'd be on the same schedule Olshey has constructed this team to follow. Not convinced? Just watch this interview and tell me he doesn't sound perfect for this team... http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2014/01/05/20140104-arena-link-channing-frye.nba/
But how do we get him?
Here are the best three-ways I can think of:
Blazers get: Frye
PHX gets: T. Young, Will Barton
Phoenix gets a starting Power Forward that would massively improve their team for the next couple of years so that they don't have to go through a prolonged re-building phase. Seriously, If we didn't have LaMarcus I'd be salivating over the idea of stealing Thad away and even with LMA, he'd probably be good enough off the bench to ensure us best in the west status the next couple post-seasons. But he deserves to be a starter somewhere, and he probably knows it, so him coming off the bench wouldn't work. In PHX he can start and either find a long-term home, or play hard enough to increase his stock so he has more of a choice where he'll go in the future. Will would be a project guard with upside that would push the other backcourt players on the roster and perhaps become a part of their future; become a more valuable future-trade-asset; and/or be cheap and disposable enough to take a flyer on. Phllly does this to improve their own draft position as well as accumulate one more first round pick and a couple cheap projects that they can probably get something out of sooner than later. They also shed salary and increase their already huge financial flexibility in the future to go after free-agents and build their team around their young, promising players.
I think the Blazers and the Suns would do this but Philly might think they need to get more out of T-Young. And rightfully so. Likewise, The Suns need a Small Forward.
Blazers get: Frye
PHX gets: T Young, Even Turner, Will Barton
Philly gets: Emeka Okafor, Meyers Leonard, Victor Claver, Phoenix's 1st and 2nd round pick
Philly might want more out of T-Young than that last trade would get them. This is a way for them to be statistically sure they can call BS if they don't get the #1 pick while also getting an extra first and second round pick. Phoenix does this because they're swapping their big valuable expiring contract for a valuable PF and a one-year rental of a Small Forward that could work his way into their plans (especially if Eric winds-up not.) You could re-work this trade one more time and throw-in Spence Hawes to PHX if they're willing to throw-in the Washington or Indy pick, but unless they're really serious about this post-season I don't see any reason to do that.
But if those don't work, maybe we can go sniffing around some of the other bottom feeders of this season! ...did somebody say LAKERS?!
Blazers get: Frye
Lakers get: Emeka Okafor, Meyers Leonard, Will Barton, PHX's 1st round pick
This gets the Suns a real go at the playoffs while keeping the backcourt warm for Eric's return and in the process, they get to try-on Pau and see if they can't use their legendary conditioning staff to court Pau for the twilight years of his career. In the process he would work their young bigs. A great vet for this young team.
Lakes...? It's simple. They need assets. Cheap, young assets. They need to put a team around Kobe and the only way they're going to do that is if they get a draft pick out of Pau. It would be slightly risky for PHX to do this (cough,Nets2012,cough) but they still have a ton of picks coming their way so it's not totally betting the future. Maybe you could re-arrange this deal to bring Nash home for sentimental reasons...?
Speaking of bringing it all back home for the Suns, here's one that is pure fantasy but could still be a good move on all sides.
Blazers get: Frye, Shumpert
PHX get: Stoudemire, Barton (Maybe a 2018 2nd from NY?)
NY gets: Okafor, Mo Williams, Leonard, Washington's & Indy's 2014 1st round pick
Blazers? This beefs up our defense a little as both are better defenders than the players we'd be losing. I've been proposing ways of getting Shump for months now just because I like him and don't think he'll ever be really good til he's out of the situation he's in in New York. Stott's would have to re-work the backcourt rotation a little so that CJ becomes more of a back-up PG and Shump (who could also play a little PG if needed) would be our back up SG but I think that would be a good thing because our perimeter D would see a good bump. I think he'd blend well in our culture, would cut a hip-hop album with Dame AND he's on the same timeline as the rest of the team.
Why Suns do it? TO BRING THE BIG MAN HOME! They would only do this if they think their training staff could get some quality years out of the oft-injured prodigal Sun. If it worked maybe they could even talk him into opting-out of his outlandish deal in exchange for a more reasonable, longer-term thing. If it doesn't work out than they have a huge expiring deal to use at next year's deadline. I, for one, would love to see what Dragic and Amar'e would look like on the floor together. And they'd still have at least one first round-pick left for this year's crop.
Knickerbockers? Cap/Tax relief, a young seven-footer, two first round picks AND an upgrade over Ray Felton? Sign them up! Taking this deal is akin to waiving the white flag over this season and setting them up for a future that might keep Melo around. As long as Mo signs a pledge that he will pass the ball to #7 early and often and save the chucking for any time the Superstar is sitting, he should get along fine in New York.
[Ok. So maybe that last one was science-fiction but a guy can dream, right?]
Anyway. That's all I got right now. Anyone else interested in bringing back Frye as our first-big-off-the-bench? If so, what deal would you like to see vs. what deal do you think would get it done? I wanted to do one more hypothetical with Boston but this has already entered TLDR territory. Maybe someone can put one together below. Consider this your official 2014 Channing Frye Trade Drawer!