I was hoping this would wait at least a few more days. But unfortunately, the Spurs ended our season. That said, I'm much happier it happens mid May than Mid April. That means this will be the shortest offseason we've had in a long time.
But it is the offseason. And it's time to start looking at draft prospects, free agents, and potential trade partners. That said, our draft pick is in Charlotte, because of Gerald Wallace. And Gerald Wallace went to the Nets for the pick that gave us Damian Lillard. So I'd make that trade over and over again. Because the odds of us finding someone at 24 better than Lillard is very small indeed. Also, I have no idea who is going to be available to move from other teams yet. So that leaves free agents.
Free agent lists can be found at ESPN, NBA.com, and Hoopshype. And probably a lot of other places. The NBA one doesn't have all the positions for players filled out yet, so sorting by position gives only a partial list. :(
In my opinion, I think Portland would be well served to keep the starters we have. Let them grow together even more. They're not the best starting five out there. But they are good. Good enough, even, to make a deep run together. But not with this bench. And while there are bright spots (Mo Williams, despite his flaws was one; Barton and Robinson could turn out to be something good too), there are also a whole lot of needs.
Needs are also going to change priority depending on the status of Mo Williams. If he exercises his player option, we are going to be short a backup PG, and will not be able to resign him without using our MLE or BAE money. That will be a disadvantage to the Blazers, as now there is one more position to fill. Some have brought up the possibility of trading Mo before he exercises the option. I do not know if that is possible. I am going to assume the worst. That Mo walks and we end up with nothing.
So then what are our bench priorities? I conclude that they will be PG and C. Because we can let T.Rob continue to grow at PF. Barton, McCollum and Wright can continue covering the wings. And there is opportunity for internal growth, which we need desperately.
Therefore I believe our MLE target should be Spencer Hawes, who is an UFA from Cleveland. The Cavs already have Varejao and Zeller who they like better than Hawes. And I doubt anyone is willing to give Hawes more than the MLE. Also, we should target a player like DJ Augustine or Aaron Brooks with the BAE to replace Mo should he walk. This doesn't completely solve our bench dilemma. But it plugs up a few holes. And makes our team better next season. And that is the goal.
It's still early in the process. So change my mind. Who do you want the Blazers to target? What sounds reasonable to you?
Personally, I hope Olshey has more tricks up his sleeve than this. But I don't know what they would look like. Doesn't mean they can't happen. But it does mean it will be some wizardry if they do happen.