Portland Trail Blazers: Trade Suggestions and Rumors from the Mailbag

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Blazersedge Mailbag explores all the potential Portland Trail Blazers trades that are fit to print, and a few that aren't.

Do you know what this Thursday is?  If not, take a peek at the following from the Blazersedge inbox.

Dave,

The Blazers seem like they are in a tweener position where they don't have the necessary pieces for a deep playoff run but built for a successful season. I would appreciate if you could mention in one of your pieces your thoughts on why the below trade deadline moves would be helpful or detrimental to the team.

If I was Olshey I would try and move Robinson and Williams to Denver for Faried and Miller. The Blazers may need to add some additional pieces in the trade such as Leonard and/or draft considerations. I am not sure about the circumstances in which Miller left but it seemed to do with the personality conflict with McMillan. The growth of Lillard and McCollum at shooting guard seem to fit Millers style of play. Faried may not be satisfied with a role off the bench but seems he could put up some quality minutes in place of Aldridge and Lopez.

William

It's a decent list of players.  I'm not sure they'd be right for the Blazers.  Miller can't shoot the three and wouldn't fit the point guard role in Portland's current offense.  Nor is he worth changing that offense for.  Faried would be a ferocious rebounder off the bench.  If he were a premier defender too I'd have no qualms about getting him.  But if he were a premier defender Denver might think twice about getting rid of him.  Also he'd not like to scrap for bench minutes behind LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez.  Finally, and most importantly, Denver wouldn't think Portland's package of T-Rob and Mo Williams was enough.

Dave,

What do you think about the blazers signing Marcus Camby he is a free agent so we wouldn't have to give anything up?

Mark

Camby wouldn't be the worst pickup in the world provided you understood his age and limitations.  He'd be a temporary solution and probably wouldn't improve the bench that much but he'd have more of a chance to make an impact than some of the wings on the bottom of the roster.  But you'd have to waive one of those wings to make room for him.  You'd have to make sure you weren't losing 10 years of service for 10 weeks of Band-Aid.

Dave,

I know you recently alluded to not reaching too high or too low for this year's deadline.

What are your thoughts on Gary Neal? He's in a reasonable contract (2 year, 6 million) and the blazers could potentially offer a young player for him.

Harris

I don't hate that move entirely.  Neal shoots the right ratio of threes and his percentages used to be stellar.  He's a veteran.  His contract expires in 2015 like practically everybody else on Portland's roster.

I'm not in love with most other parts of Neal's game, particularly his tendency to eat possessions.  His defense frustrates his own team more than the opponent.  But you don't expect miracles or an all-around player at that price point.  My biggest issue is that he's a two.  Open Portland's locker room door and six shooting guards will tumble to the floor around you before you can duck.  This isn't exactly a position of critical need.  Maybe you could trade one of the never-used off-guards for Neal but is that the best offer Milwaukee will get?  Are you sure you're not trading away a guy who could give you more than Neal in a year or two?  And what about the Mo Williams-C.J. McCollum-Damian Lillard trio?  Is there room for a fourth guy who's not a point guard?

For sure you wouldn't trade one of the bigs for Neal.  Since he's being pursued by other teams, chances are the Blazers wouldn't be willing to make an offer the Bucks could accept for him.

Dave,

Does it make sense to try to move Mo Williams for a backup big guy? I think the gap between TRob and Meyers versus Freeland is far greater than the gap between McCollum and Mo.

Obviously I'd rather keep him, but you have to give something to get something and he seems to be the only reasonable asset besides McCollum that is worth anything. It sounds like he is planning on opting out at the end of this year anyways, and chances are he would like to get more money/years than he is now which could possibly jeopardize our 2015 cap flexibility. Not to mention everything I've seen points to the fact that CJ is the long term replacement for Mo.

Kyle

Sure, it could make sense.  But name the useful backup big you could get for Williams.

Keep in mind that Mo was a free agent this past summer.  Any team could have had him.  The best offer he got was $2.6 million with an opt-out after a year from the Blazers.  If other franchises valued him that highly they easily could have made a higher bid.  Nor has Williams done all that much to improve his stock as he's played for the Blazers.

Now consider the flip side.  Williams serves a much-needed role off of Portland's bench.  The Blazers are getting more than their money's worth for very little cost.  Unless Williams was essential to make a deal work, why would they want to lose him?

Can't find a useful big making $2-3 million per year plus Mo not having the juice to pull that guy in a trade plus the Blazers needing Mo's scoring off the bench equals not much chance of a deal getting done.  But if another team did request Williams as part of package, perhaps using him to make salaries match, I would expect the Blazers to consider it for the reasons you've mentioned.  Combining Mo with a young big guy to get an attractive player shouldn't bother Portland too much.  I'm just not sure that deal is out there.

Dave,

one trade I would like [Neil Olshey] to make is for Spencer Hawes. I think the best deal he could offer Philly is Meyers Leonard, Allen Crabbe, and Victor Claver for Hawes. He's a good rebounder, better defensively than most people give him credit for, and is very skilled offensively. He would be a good new wrinkle in the Blazers' system, and would be able to play with any of the other Blazer bigs.

Kyle

That's a different Kyle.  Evidently "Kyle" is the new "Mike".

Yup.  Done this one to death, but yup.  It makes sense for Philly since they're not likely to have Hawes back.  They get the next version of Hawes in Leonard, adding athleticism but taking the risk that he doesn't pan out.   But that's still more than the zero they'd get by letting Hawes' contract expire.  The Blazers get another center and another guy with range, things they hope Leonard will be in a few years.  They give up promise but accelerate production.  Plus I could see them re-signing him and him accepting.  Hawes and Robin Lopez would be an interesting two-headed center look too.

Dave,

People have discussed Ivan Johnson and other D-league players as possible acquisitions. Obviously we would have to cut a player to make this happen, but would we have enough room under the cap to sign a player if we were to waive someone and how much space do we have? Thanks.

Daniel

The Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a provision that a team can sign as many minimum-level contracts as desired regardless of cap status.  The Blazers not having cap space after waiving a player wouldn't matter in this case.  A D-League player would only require the minimum salary.

From Portland's point of view you have to consider losing the player you waive.  He can't be re-signed if your new acquisition doesn't work out.  The Blazers have invested time and/or draft picks in the players they already have.  They wouldn't be keen to dump them for an unproven experiment unless they had totally given up.

Cost also comes into play.  The minimum isn't that much, ranging from a half million to $1.5 million depending on the player's NBA experience.  But Portland still has to play the player they cut to bring on the new guy.  Paying more is a complete waste if the incoming player spends all his time on the bench the same way the outgoing player did.  Depth only counts when sneakers meet court.  In order to invest $500,000 in a player they'd not only have to be sure he'd play, but that he'd play often and well enough to bump the team's fortunes over the next three months.  Otherwise why wouldn't they just wait until summer to offer a tryout?

The magic wand that makes this problem go away, at least temporarily, is the 10-day contract.  I wouldn't be surprised to see the Blazers utilize 1 or 2 of those to try out players and replace injured rotation guys.

Keep those questions coming to the address below.  It's really helpful (and increases the chance of your question being seen) if you put "Mailbag" somewhere in the subject line of your e-mail.

--Dave (blazersub@gmail.com)

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