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Blazers may try to trade Raef's contract in the last month

by John Canzano, The Oregonian

Thursday February 19, 2009, 8:14 AM

I wrote it today, and I'm going to say it again, I think the Blazers are only going to make a deal into the trade deadline if it's an absolute no-brainer.

The hunch here is that the Blazers realize they're in a position of leverage with Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract and are willing to hold that contract into the end of the season before making a deal with it. They can trade the contract prior to the end of their season.

It's also not lost that they'll collect nearly $5 million in insurance money if they do this because LaFrentz isn't able to play. Theoretically, this helps make up for some of the money lost with the return of Mr. Head Bop in Memphis.

Source inside the organization said the team feels like it can get a lopsided deal prior to the end of their season. This is a dramatic shift from where owner Paul Allen used to operate when he had Trader Bob running the show. And it's not the worst thing in the casino to wait as long as possible to act, see what's out there, when you're holding the best cards.

Well, that's certainly an interesting "hunch."  Holding RLEC for later in the season to create leverage and increase trade value would be a great idea!  That is, if the EC in RLEC didn't stand for Expiring Contract and there wasn't something called the trade deadline.  

The phrase "expiring contract" is relatively self-explanatory.

To be crystal clear: the "expiring" part of "expiring contract" means that it is expiring and that you can't trade it after the season because you no longer hold it.

The phrase "trade deadline" is relatively self-explanatory too.  

To be crystal clear: the "deadline" part of "trade deadline" means that it is a deadline and there are no trades after it until the season is completed.  Once that happens, of course, only players under contract (not expiring or with team/player options) can be traded until the new salary cap year kicks in. 

As you should hopefully have already known, Raef goes today or he comes off the Blazers books at the end of the season.  There are no other options for RLEC.

OregonLive.com commenter "LODominating" chimes in on the very first comment (note: instead of writing "first!") and directs Canzano to the relevant passage of Larry Coon's Salary Cap page.  

That simple comment was a one hitter quitter.

Canzano offers a strange response to the commenter but shortly thereafter posts a completely edited version of his story.  

I salute you, LODominating. 

Storyteller chimes in to clarify the real value of RLEC if the Blazers do not trade it.

The only reason that RLEC holds any value this summer is because it probably puts the Blazers below the cap if they don't trade him, giving them cap room to either make a FA signing or an unbalanced trade. For comparison, Wally Szczerbiak also has an expiring contract but he doesn't have any value to the Cavs this summer because you take his contract off the books and the Cavs are still above the cap.

So RLEC is unique. He has tremendous trade value today, but he also holds value to the Blazers in the sense that just letting him expire gives them cap room to make a deal this summer.

Holding RLEC does bring value to the Blazers - it's just not value in trading him. It might be value in making a trade using the cap space that he represents, but it is not ‘trade value for RLEC'.

Thanks, Storyteller, for Making It Better!

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)