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Full Court Press

BIG NEWS ALERT: Brother Wendell Maxey will be on tonight's Courtside Show with Brian Wheeler, Mike Barrett and Mike Rice. For the full details... check out Beyond The Beat

Also, Casey Holdahl has a ton of stuff from Europe: Nic Batum, Victor Claver, Sergio Rodriguez (?) and more.

And, yes, we have a new logo, insert snarky comment below.

Post-Hedo Fallout

Dwight Jaynes assesses the damage...

Hedo saved the Blazers from themselves. The last two years of this contract would have been brutal for Portland. I'm still not convinced this thing was going to work on the court. Turkoglu and Roy together, each initiating offense? More likely, Turkoglu would have just deferred to him, found a spot on the wing to stand and just thrown up a ton of threes. And missed a lot of them.

- A guy this concerned about the money, once he gets that last, big, final, lucrative deal - does he continue to work hard? Maybe. Probably. But maybe not.

John Canzano figured out that it was about the money and not pizza and water...

Turkoglu's agent, Lon Babby, said in a conference call Saturday that the free agent chose Toronto over Portland because he and his wife, Banu, would prefer to live in the Canadian city, which has more of an international vibe. Toronto is five hours closer to Turkey. The place has lots of Turkish restaurants, baths, an annual Turkish festival and a Facebook page dedicated to the Turkish community.

It's worth pointing out that his wife's luggage wasn't dropped at the hotel. Turkoglu's wife and their daughter didn't make the trip. And I suspect that contemplative stroll up Morrison was Turkoglu's final attempt to make Portland feel like home. But in the end, his five-year, $50 million verbal commitment to the Blazers melted the minute the Raptors offered $3 million more.

Dwight Jaynes writes that the Blazers....

In some ways, they kind of remind me of that old story of the guy wandering through the house of ill repute with his pockets full of money who can't find a date.

Honestly, there's still plenty of time to use that cap space to help facilitate an unbalanced trade for a good player. To make a solid roster addition. But so far, I have to say this is not exactly the way I expected the offseason to go. Kevin Pritchard is going to have to pull a rabbit out of his hat or this is going to be one letdown of a summer.

And a setback for the team.

SJ from Rip City Project writes...

This is far from the end of the world people. First off, there is a ton of off-season left. A ton. Granted, by throwing all of our attention towards Hedo and not getting him we've lost out on every other possible good free agent in this class. We're kind of like the guy at a bar that spent all night spitting game to a girl, things look promising and right around 1 AM he goes to the bathroom, comes back and she's gone. The departures of Artest, Turkoglu, Ariza and Jason Kidd have made free agency about as attractive as Lindsay Lohan will be if she makes it to 40. But, since when is free agency the only way you can make a move? And last I checked, isn't this free agent class trash? I'd love Kidd but it's ok to lose out on him since the Knicks and Mavs are determined to overpay. Ariza? Too similar to Batum to want to overpay for that. Plus he's not really a creator and when you have 3 SF's who combined can bring all of what Ariza does to the table, I'm ok with passing on him. As great of a fit as Hedo would have been as another playmaker to take pressure off of Roy and help out Oden, we still have a lot of talent at the 3 position. Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster and Nic Batum..not too shabby if you ask me.    

Scotty B! at writes...

What are we doing trying to grab free agents? What's the last significant free agent we've signed? Can anyone please tell me? Portland isn't a place where big name free agents are lured. It's a place that cultivates the fertile Earth and plants a hearty seed, waiting for it to germinate into something tasty. We drafted/planted Bill Walton a while back and everything came to fruition. We drafted/planted Terry, Jerome, Clyde, Cliff and traded for Kevin and Buck (among others) and barely got beat for first prize at the fair by a heartier fruit named Michael. We didn't win, but when it comes down to it, the ride was amazing and Blazermania was in full effect. I have this feeling in my gut that we're at the same place right now.    

What's Next?

First, here's Dave's plan.

There's been a few interesting NBA signings...

And in case you're wondering, Ric Bucher says that the four teams chasing Channing Frye are Phoenix, Denver, San Antonio and Cleveland.

David Aldridge of writes...

Now, Portland will have to go in a different direction. The Blazers could, potentially, become players for another multiple-use forward like the Lakers' Lamar Odom, who has been expected to ultimately re-sign in Los Angeles. Or they could try to sign one of several veteran free agent point guards, from Dallas' Jason Kidd -- whom Portland has long coveted -- Philadelphia's Andre Miller or Atlanta's Mike Bibby. Bibby was, according to league sources, close to re-signing with Atlanta on Friday, and Kidd was taking the weekend to decide between three-year offers from the Mavericks and the Knicks, with Dallas in the driver's seat.

However, the Blazers feel that consistent perimeter shooting is a must for whomever they add, which would eliminate all the point guards other than Bibby, and make Odom less of a fit. That was why they quickly zeroed in on Turkoglu, a career 38.5 percent shooter from three-point range who shot almost 39 percent behind the arc in this year's postseason. Almost none of the remaining significant free agents available are great shooters; among the better ones is Denver forward Linas Kleiza -- whom, ironically, Toronto has been working hard on signing.

John Hollinger writes on ESPN Insider...

As for the Blazers, they can go in several directions from here, and can at least take comfort in the fact that they control the free-agent game until they make their next move. Portland might want to go after Sessions, a good young point guard who fills their need for a second quality pick-and-roll player -- albeit at a different position than Turkoglu.

They may also decide to punt on free agency and hope to play the trade market, but that's a risky strategy. If they don't get something done by the trade deadline, the opportunity will basically be gone forever because next year extensions for Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge will kick in, and it's not clear that somebody who fits what they need will become available.

They might also try to make a long-shot run at Lamar Odom, perhaps the best player left on the board and one who, like Turkoglu, could provide another offensive creator while swinging between the two forward spots. But the rainy weather and a location 90 minutes inland don't exactly jibe with Odom's stated preference to live on the beach. The most likely outcome of an Odom pursuit would be driving up the price for the rival Lakers.

Alternatively, the Blazers could try to target a sixth-man shot creator like New York's Nate Robinson, or make a run at Philadelphia's Miller, the latter not a great fit, in my opinion, but a possibility given their need at the point.

Wendell Maxey on David Lee...

New York is still likely to re-sign the 6'9 free-agent forward or match any offer given to him by July 15. Now after the Hedo Turkoglu debacle, Portland is focusing on Lee as reports have indicated, with a possible sign-and-trade (Travis Outlaw and Steve Blake) being one option.

Here's the deal though: don't be alarmed if the Knicks inquire about Rudy Fernandez too in some form or fashion. Mike D'Antoni originally drafted Rudy while in Phoenix and with the brand of ball Mike plays, Fernandez fits his system perfectly. But are the Blazers ready to let Rudy go?

SJ on Rip City Project writes...

Don't get me wrong, I like David Lee. I like him a lot. Two issues. One, how on earth would Portland be able to convince him to come here knowing he will be a backup as long as LMA is around. (And all signs point to LMA being around a long, long time). Secondly, I don't feel comfortable giving a backup $10 million dollars a year. Third, I personnally don't like Lee for $10 million. Just like I'm still lukewarm on Hinrich because of his hefty price-tag. With Pendergraph and Cunningham on board, we should be ‘ok' enough at the backup 4 to not have to throw $10 million dollars at David Lee if you ask me.

Bowers at targets David Lee...

To be honest with you I just don't see the value of signing a back-up power forward at that price. I know we have to use the cap space, but at 10 million per season I'm not sure this would be the best chemistry experiment.

Max Handelman from Beyond Bowie writes...

Much has been made on this blog the past few days about the coalescing or calcifying of conventional wisdom regarding Hedo Turkoglu.

Initially, a lot of fans were suspect of Turkoglu. Some remained suspect, but many got on the bandwagon. And by the time that Hedo arrived in Portland to meet with Blazer management and close on his existing verbal commitment, many fans (note: there's been no scientific polling done on this) were fully on the Turkoglu bandwagon.    


Cut to today, when Shawn Marion, at just one year older than Hedo Turkoglu and with career averages in scoring, rebounding, steals, block shots, and field goal percentage vastly exceed that of Hedo Turkoglu, is looking at potentially getting cut by the Toronto Raptors to clear salary cap space to sign Turkoglu.

I wonder how Marion feels today facing this reasonably humiliating prospect. It wasn't more than a few seasons ago that Marion was in the thick of the Western Conference contenders on Phoenix, earned a spot on Olympic and World Championship teams, and was considered a nightly matchup nightmare for most teams. Then he (arguably) forced his way off the Suns, got traded to a (then) terrible Miami Heat team that was rebuilding, and then got booted up to Toronto (a perennially terrible team). And so it goes for Marion.

The last time popular opinion got misrepresented like this, 10,000s of people poured into the streets of Tehran. Popular support for the team's management and its decisions should not be misconstrued as support for Hedo.  A solid majority of Blazers fans supported Hedo only after they believed the deal was done and they had no choice in the matter; until that time popular opinion among fans was strongly Anti-Hedo, mainly due to the contract numbers being discussed.  That's called circling the wagons.

KP has enough cred that if he signed Steph Marbury tomorrow a majority of fans would support the decision after it was done. KP gets that trust from many fans because they believe he's earned it. 

Please drop any other links you find in the comments. And be sure to check out the fanshots.

-- Ben (