Much like the post below I have covered this in various comments and off-site interviews but I find myself repeating the idea so I'll state it officially here.
Many people are guessing at the medium-range plans for the Blazers. (The short-range plans being "Develop the youngsters" and the long-range ones being "Victory parade down Broadway".) I would guess in the middle of those two is a plan we've seen before...just last year in fact.
Who was hands down the sexiest team in the NBA coming into this season...the team just about everybody cooed over and wanted to be? If you answered "The Chicago Bulls" give yourself a prize. And why were they so attractive and enviable? Because they had put together a very respectable young core but also jimmied themselves a window where they could pluck a prime free agent veteran off of the open market. It seemed an ideal game plan. Now maybe Ben Wallace isn't working out exactly as planned so far but that doesn't change the soundness of the blueprint.
It's truly amazing that in the space of two seasons the Blazers have gone from a played-out, capped-out, tuned-out nightmare into the next team on the taxiway waiting for takeoff. We too have assembled a very respectable young core. In fact without insulting our Chicago readers too much I would say that our core has at least a chance of being superior to the one the Bulls have assembled, partly because they will have been together longer when the key moment comes and partly because...well...if Greg Oden pans out there are no players on the Bulls comparable. As everybody knows by now because of the Zach trade we too will have a cap space window in 2009 with which to sign a veteran on the open market. We should have enough for a max contract if necessary. We won't need to pick an expensive center out of the bunch either. A lot of great wings and/or point guards can be had for near-max money.
That, my friends, seems like the mid-range gameplan right now: become the sexiest team alive in 2009 just like the Bulls were in 2006, only maybe even better. It's not a bad one as things go either. We'll need the next two years to get the ship pointed in the right direction anyway. Any runs we make in that span are a nice bonus. Basically for the next two seasons it's all good. And that's not a bad place to be.