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Trading Blazers: Would, Wouldn't, and Can't

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This week will be dominated by trade talk around the league, including in Portland.  Some balk at the prospect of trades (or even talking about them) citing loyalty to players.  While I find repeated, unrealistic (read:  homer-tastic) trade suggestions annoying I am not opposed to moving players nor to speculating about same.  Consider:  every trade brings new players in return who then become beloved Blazers just like the guys who departed.  Rosters are perpetually in motion.  The question isn't whether we'll see a Blazer trade but when.

Given that, knowing the inbox and site will be flooded with trade suggestions and questions, I figured we should open the week by looking at Portland's players and assessing who could be part of a deal, who shouldn't be, and which players are just plain "untradeable" right now.  The caveat is that you can't talk about trading away a player without knowing who's coming in return, an issue we'll not address in this post.  But for each player assume that Portland was offered what they perceived as a good deal.  Obviously anybody on the roster would be available for LeBron James, but we're not talking pie in the sky here, just decent relative value in an area of need.  If made a tempting offer, should the Blazers consider including these players and why?

LaMarcus Aldridge--Wouldn't

I don't consider Aldridge a sacred cow based on his last couple months of play.  He's not untouchable.  But at this point Portland would never get an offer that would increase production or value over what Aldridge is giving.  You could throw out Carmelo Anthony, Devin Harris, Danny Granger...the biggest names mentioned all year.  None of them would improve Portland's prospects in the short or long run more than the current LaMarcus Aldridge does.  If the Blazers were to consider trading him they'd have to cycle around to the next crop of candidates which means waiting at least until summer.  Portland will need to hang up on anyone who calls at the moment.

Nicolas Batum--Would

Remember the qualifying condition here:  that the Blazers got an attractive offer relative to the value of the player.  That's possible with Batum in a way it isn't with Aldridge.  The Blazers value him highly so the proposal would have to be good, but if they were offered a guy with 20 ppg production to alleviate their dependence on Brandon Roy's health, they'd have to think hard.  There's zero reason to consider trading Batum outside of that, though.

Marcus Camby--Would

This would hurt, especially this season.  There's no way the Blazers replace Camby's rebounding and shot blocking over the long haul.  But there's also no way the Blazers contend for a title this year with or without Camby.  He's signed for one more season and that's likely to be at least partially locked out.  He's deep into his 30's and he has a history of injuries.  Plus several contending teams would value him.  You have to leave his name on the table and listen to offers.

Rudy Fernandez--Would

This was considered a no-brainer over the summer.  Rudy's been playing quite well but he's not valuable enough to remove from talks.  The Blazers can't afford to lose much more three-point shooting, which is the main issue.

Wesley Matthews--Wouldn't

Here's another guy who ultimately could end up on the "would" list but whose combination of salary, value to the league, and production for the Blazers make an equitable trade all but impossible.  With Batum you can speculate on drawing another small forward.  Trading Matthews for a shooting guard wouldn't make sense with Roy on the roster.  Moving him for a player at another position wouldn't make sense with Roy's health issues.  It just doesn't seem to work right now.

Andre Miller--Would

I'll take some flak for this, but Miller is in a similar situation to Camby.  I've loved his play this year.  His contributions have been spot-on perfect.  The Blazers will not find another point guard who will fit the way 'Dre does in 2010-11.   But he's on a short-term contract, he's older, and if the Blazers could get somebody to help them in, say, 2012-13 they'd need to consider that deal.

Greg Oden--Can't

Doesn't make sense at this point, even if such a deal could be done.  Talent, reward, health, and value don't match.  Nobody would make a reasonable offer.

Joel Przybilla--Would

His contract situation is favorable for a trade, as are his future prospects with the team.

Brandon Roy--Can't

Two years ago this would have been a "can't" for talent and contributions.  Now this is a "can't" because of contract.  Who's going to take him on at that price over such a long term?  Both the Blazers and the league need to see what Roy is yet capable of before they start talking trades.

Luke Babbit, Dante Cunningham, Armon Johnson, Sean Marks, Patrick Mills, Elliot Williams--Would

These are mostly no-brainers.  The Blazers aren't in a position to be unnaturally attached to any of them.  This team doesn't need better 10th men if it can get better starters by throwing in these guys.  Williams is the only wild card of the group, having not played outside of practice but having wowed people in it.  But even then, you don't go with a guy you're taking a chance on if you can get a guy to bank on.

 

Part of the fun of exercises like this is comparing opinions so offer challenges and different perspectives below.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)