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Trade Assessment

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One of the continually hot topics at any fan-based site is the possibility of trades.  Every 4-6 months or so we like to run down the roster and assess the possibilities of players moving.  We haven’t done it in a while, so that’s today’s topic.

 

We’re going to use several metrics to evaluate each player’s trade likelihood.  Production, potential, and salary all factor in plus the player’s desirability around the league (hard to assess, but you can infer some things through news, rumors, and general knowledge of what type of players have high trade value) and the player’s value to the Blazers.  We’ll season that stew with any other circumstances that might be in play.

 

Before somebody asks (because someone always does)…no, this contains no “inside” information.  It’s not like KP calls me up and asks what I think of potential deals.  Even if I did get something through the grapevine it’s extremely unlikely I could reveal it in this format without betraying somebody’s trust.  It’s just an analytical look at an interesting topic.

 

We’ll take the players in alphabetical order.  Consider the assessments ballpark.  Production, for instance, takes into account a little bit of history as much as the three games this year.  Value assessments are independent of contract until the written analysis.

 

Lamarcus Aldridge

Production:  18 pts, 8 rebs, 48% shooting

Potential:  High

Contract:  $4.6 million, rookie scale

League Value:  High

Blazers Value:  Very High

 

Lamarcus is young, talented, and hasn’t finished his development yet.  He produces a ton for the money and is considered a franchise cornerstone.  Outside of a mega-deal offer he’s not going anywhere.

Chances of Trade:  Almost Nil

 

Nicolas Batum

Production:  Not determined yet

Potential:  Average-Fairly High

Contract:  $1.0 million, rookie scale

League Value:  Low

Blazers Value:  Average-Fairly High

 

Nic hasn’t had time to garner attention around the league yet and most of the league passed on the chance to draft him just a few months ago.  The Blazers seem enthused about his possibilities as a defending, shooting, running small forward and for a million bucks a year they’re going to let the potential play out unless someone else insists upon him as a trade add-in that would net a desirable player.

Chances of Trade:  Low

 

 

Jerryd Bayless

Production:  Not determined yet

Potential:  Average-Fairly High

Contract:  $2.0 million, rookie scale

League Value: Average-Low

Blazers Value:  Average-Fairly High?  (I suspect it depends on who you ask.)

 

Jerryd has fallen out of favor with fans as he’s not busted his way onto the rotation yet, but the experts don’t switch their opinions as quickly as fans.  He’s not the kind of player other teams would go out of their way to get straight up but he’d be an enticing more-than-throw-in in a multi-player deal.  The Blazers likely wouldn’t part with him until they see more of what they’ve got, though.  Teams rarely trade guys they just drafted.

Chances of Trade:  Low

 

Steve Blake

Production:  9 pts, 5 assists, 40%+ 3pt shooting 

Potential:  None beyond what he’s showing

Contract:  $4.3 million, two years total

League Value:  Low

Blazers Value:  Average

 

Blake’s a solid guy.  What you see is what you get.  His trade value isn’t great but he could be another potential throw-in with benefits.  Right now he’s more than serviceable for the Blazers though.  He’s the only dependable true point guard they have plus a key outside shooting threat.  Other players are encroaching upon his spot, however, and should the right deal come along (like for a better point guard, for instance) I don’t think they’d have problems moving him.

Chances of Trade:  Low Average

 

Ike Diogu

Production:  6 points, 3 rebs 

Potential:  Maybe some, but beginning to look questionable

Contract:  $2.9 million, qualifying offer ahead

League Value: Almost None

Blazers Value:  Low

 

Ike was a throw-in to make the Jack + Rush for Bayless deal work.  That’s about his value right now too.  Until he shows he’s back from injury and in shape he’ll not draw much interest except as an add-on or a contract escape.

Chances of Trade:  Low

 

Rudy Fernandez

Production:  Not determined yet

Potential:  Very High

Contract:  $1.1 million, rookie scale

League Value: High

Blazers Value:  High

 

Rudy is starting to open eyes and I’d be surprised if there weren’t some teams hoping to get him on the cheap.  It won’t happen unless an eye-popping offer gets thrown Portland’s way.  It wouldn’t even be that except Rudy and Brandon Roy play the same position naturally, so if somebody threw a legit All-Star at Portland at a position of need they’d have to think about it.

Chances of Trade:  Very Low

 

Channing Frye

Production:  7 pts, 5 rebs

Potential:  Average

Contract:  $3.1 million, qualifying offer ahead

League Value: Average

Blazers Value:  Average-Low (depending on Travis Outlaw’s situation)

 

Channing is still a young guy and his game is still developing.  But as we’ve mentioned a hundred times he’s caught in a numbers crunch in Portland, made worse now by the fact that we can’t tell if Travis Outlaw will be better as a small forward or a power forward.  Coach McMillan has already gone on record saying Channing won’t play much center this year.  (Though Coach McMillan often changes the game plan without informing the media.)  That leaves back-up power forward minutes behind Lamarcus Aldridge.  If Greg Oden is out and Lamarcus slides to the five-spot then Channing may have more minutes.  Otherwise he’s under 20 a game for sure and maybe under 15.  That’s not going to sit well with him, nor will it make him that valuable to the Blazers.  If he garners interest around the league he’s one of the more likely players to be moved. 

Chances of a Trade:  Fairly High

 

Raef LaFrentz

Production:  Buh?

Potential:  Whuzzah?

Contract:  $12.7 million, expiring

League Value: Extremely Low or Extremely High, depending

Blazers Value:  Almost nil

 

We all know about the RLEC.  There are a couple things to realize.  First, expiring contracts aren’t universally valuable.  Some teams--usually good teams--have zero interest in trading away talent for cap relief.  You have to hit the right team with the right mix of talent to make it work.  Second, Raef’s contract going off the books will actually give us money to spend next summer.  This is not usually the case with expiring contracts.  Often a team cannot let the contract expire without trading it away because its absence won’t take them under the cap anyway, so it’s useless unless traded.  Not so for Portland.  That’s likely to be $12.7 million of fully-usable space.  If the contract situations remain the same the Blazers have less incentive to move Raef than most teams would.  That said, he’ll be available and shopped, as there’s nothing magic about waiting until next summer if you can get the guy you want through a trade right now.

Chances of a Trade: Fairly High

 

Greg Oden

Production:  Not determined yet

Potential:  Astronomical

Contract:  $5 million, rookie scale

League Value: Very High

Blazers Value:  Very High

 

Not going anywhere.

Chances of a Trade:  Nil

 

Travis Outlaw

Production:  13 pts, 4-5 rebs

Potential:  Average-Fairly High

Contract:  $4 million, two years total

League Value: Average-Fairly High

Blazers Value:  ???

 

Travis is the big wildcard in these scenarios.  The Blazers have valued him fairly highly over the years and, as we said, professional opinions don’t change with the wind.  On the other hand he’s not developing quickly and his potential is beginning to wear thin.  He’s been rumored to be available, though he’ll hardly be thrown into a yard sale.  If the Blazers believe in Travis then several other players--Webster, Batum, Frye--become more available.  On the other hand if the Blazers believe some combination of those players will provide for Portland’s future then Travis is an attractive piece.  The additions of Fernandez and Bayless plus the possible development of Martell Webster (newly signed) may indicate that Travis’ days are numbered.  The forward spots are certainly prime candidates for thinning, especially if giving up potential for production and knowledge.

Chances of a Trade:  Average-Fairly High

 

Joel Przybilla

Production:  4 pts, 9 rebs

Potential:  None further

Contract:  $6.3 million, three years total

League Value:  Low-Average

Blazers Value:  Fairly High

 

If Greg Oden were healthy and on his way to producing then Joel Przybilla might be a candidate for moving.  Oden’s not, so Joel is not likely to go anywhere this year.

Chances of a Trade:  Low

 

Shavlik Randolph

Production:  4 pts, 4 rebs???

Potential:  Low

Contract:  $0.8 million

League Value:  Low

Blazers Value:  Low

 

Shavlik wouldn’t garner much interest around the league so he’s not going anywhere except as a salary throw-in.

Chances of a Trade:  Low

 

Sergio Rodriguez

Production:  3 pts, 2 assists

Potential:  Average-Fairly High

Contract:  $0.9 million, rookie scale

League Value:  Low

Blazers Value:  Low-Average

 

Sergio hasn’t produced enough to warrant much attention, save perhaps in specialized circumstances.  If he plays well and earns more minutes this year he’d likely be a guy opposing GM’s call about, hoping to pry him from the Blazers’ point guard thicket.  At this point, though, he’s just a back-up point guard for the Blazers.  He’s only leaving as part of a multi-player deal in which he’s not the principal.

Chances of a Trade:  Low

 

Brandon Roy

Production:  19 pts, 6 assists, 4 rebs

Potential:  Average  (How much higher can it go?)

Contract:  $3.1 million, rookie scale

League Value:  Very High

Blazers Value:  Very High

 

This kind of production at that price, plus he’s the heart and soul of the team?  Forget it.

Chances of a Trade:  Nil

 

Martell Webster

Production:  10 pts, 4 rebs, 39% 3pt shooting

Potential:  Average-Fairly High

Contract:  $3.7 million, 4-5 years total

League Value: Average

Blazers Value:  Average

 

We said over the summer that the Blazers would show a vote of confidence in some of these qualifying offer players by negotiating with them early.  Martell is the first guy they signed.  The contract is still quite tradable, though, so you can’t rule out a deal entirely.  Still the coaching staff has mentioned his improvement and he’s an outside shooter, both of which recommend him to this team.  His value may be slightly higher to the Blazers right now than it is around the league.

Chances of a Trade:  Fairly Low

 

As you can see, the favorable mix for a trade (noteworthy talent, tradable contract, value higher elsewhere than to the team) is fairly rare on the Blazer roster right now.  Relatively few Blazers as individuals fit the bill.  Portland’s calling card on the market right now would be the ability to package multiple players with potential and extremely inexpensive talent-per-dollar contracts.  If one other team considers an available Blazer a main course the team can knock their socks off with appetizers and side dishes.  Failing that, it’s all about Raef and The Contract.

 

We mentioned that expiring contracts are not universally acceptable for trades.  We should also add a caveat about potential.  You can get players for young potential but the choices are limited.  Usually you’re going to have to pick up a veteran or a questionable contract.  Sometimes you can get other young players with potential in return.  The guys you can’t get for potential are the guys you want:  established stars or young guys on the cusp of exploding.  I’ve heard several scenarios involving multiple Blazers for New Jersey’s Devin Harris, for instance.  The line usually goes, “Look at all of the future potential they’d get!”  What people don’t understand is that Harris IS potential that’s nearly come true.  He’s among New Jersey’s strongest hopes for the future.  Why would you give up a guy you depend on as the heart of your future to reset with three guys who might or might not be that future?  You could get Devin Harris plus another nice player for a guy like Brandon Roy because then they’d be giving up near potential for actual production.  But you usually can’t get a team to give up near potential for farther away potential, which is what the Blazers have to offer.

 

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)