Welcome to the first edition of the Blazersedge Roundtable, where a panel of writers will weigh in on a Portland Trail Blazers topic of the day.
When it was reported last offseason that Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge wanted to leave Portland, the Cleveland Cavaliers were mentioned as a potential destination. The Cavaliers, like last year, have this year's first draft pick and plenty of assets to deal. Is there a deal to be had here, one year later? Would you trade Aldridge, who is set to become a free agent next summer, for a package centered around Cleveland's No. 1 pick?
Dane Carbaugh: This is ridiculous on its face. Portland's leader has grown into the player teams hope they can draft and develop years down the line. It might be a bit more to consider had this past season not gone to plan, and Aldridge was clearly considering not re-signing in Portland. But with Damian Lillard on his way and a double-digit jump in wins, not to mention a historical first-round playoff series, you couldn't pry Aldridge away from me with a crowbar, much less a top draft pick.
Timmay!: I'm sorry, I'm busy creating a full-page ad thanking LaMarcus for all his contributions as a Blazer, and wishing him the best of luck in Cleveland. What was the question again?
Sam Tongue: In terms of overall value and upside, the deal actually isn't entirely outrageous (especially in this year's crazy deep draft). But as we've seen in these playoffs and re-learn on an annual basis, it's experience and veteran leadership that gets you further than talent alone. For that reason -- once you consider the growth of the team and specifically Aldridge in 2013-14 -- you just can't take a risk like that.
Chris Lucia: Would I trade a perennial All-Star who just averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds last year, with a relatively unique skillset for his position and in the prime of his career, for the 2014 No. 1 overall pick? Isn't that what you hope the first pick eventually turns into? My gut instinct says to hold onto Aldridge -- he's a very special player, and has demonstrated plenty of durability and should remain productive for the next several years. That said, it's worth looking at each and every trade package, and the Cavaliers have some interesting parts.
Ben Golliver: I've been an Andrew Wiggins nut for years now -- dating back to his breakout at the 2012 Hoop Summit -- and I was disappointed that Cleveland landed the No. 1 pick, as I'm worried about what that situation would mean for his development if he is selected with the top pick. But even the prospect of saving Wiggins and enjoying first-hand the unfolding of what should be a very special career isn't enough for me to move LaMarcus Aldridge, who is smack dab in his prime with a well-fitting group of players around him.
Trading Aldridge for the top pick would require other moves -- clearing out Nicolas Batum (or Wesley Matthews?) to open up minutes for Wiggins, finding a capable replacement for Aldridge -- and it would almost certainly lead to a step back from the playoff picture to the lottery in the short term. Let's not forget what the Blazers looked like without Aldridge this season. The timing really feels off, considering how happy Aldridge has sounded all season.
Perhaps the biggest issue, though, is that this type of trade would be contingent upon Aldridge agreeing to re-sign with the Cavaliers. They simply couldn't risk moving such a valuable asset to rent Aldridge for a single season. Why would Aldridge ever re-sign there?
Sagar Trika: Similar thoughts were whispered in hushed tones around Rip City this time last summer. I wouldn't pull the trigger on a trade involving the team's leader in Aldridge. Given where Portland is in its rebuild, I wouldn't blow it up yet. Aldridge is what every team hopes their draft pick becomes. For Portland, it's about whether or not they're willing to take that gamble.
Also, in his exit interview, Trail Blazer GM Neil Olshey said that the team was in a "win now" mode, rather than the "asset-collecting" mode the team had been in for the previous two seasons. If he wants to stick true to that statement, Olshey would pass on a potential deal with the Cavaliers.
What about you? Vote in the poll and weigh in below.