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101 Off-Season Moves for the Portland Trail Blazers: Part 2

The Mailbag features even more of your off-season move suggestions as 11 players go through the evaluation process for the Blazers' next bench savior.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Our "101 Off-Season Moves" series continues today with even more of your submissions!

Hi Dave

I'm a first time mailer to Blazersedge so this is really exciting for me!

My first question relates to a backup point guard. Could the Blazers consider a move for Toney Douglas? He was a bench rider for Miami last year but his defense and 3pt shooting will fit the bill for the Blazers. He is also a good "sparring partner" for Lillard who seemed to struggle a bit with in your face defenders last year.

I presume Douglas will come cheaper than Mo and his experience with Miami (albeit as a bench guy) will prove invaluable. The team needs guys who have seen the promised land and are hungry to get back there.

This leads to my 2nd question. What value can be placed on getting guys who have won championships before? Fisher in OKC and Ray Allen in Miami are examples. Or even getting Doc Rivers in LA? Guys who have championship experience and can help younger players.

Thanks Dave
Cailin from South Africa

Maybe it's playing Miami style, but Douglas' three-point shot hasn't looked that great this year. He took 41% of his attempts beyond the arc and made only 28% of them. He'd be able to receive shots more than create them, but that isn't a sin in Portland's long as he makes them. He'd be a nice defender and he could be signed for Portland's bi-annual exception, the lesser of the two the Blazers have to offer. I'm not sure a Douglas signing would inspire high fives, but a respectful nod would do.

Championship experience is a tad overrated when it comes from a deep bench player. If the guy is a wizened guru, a former All-Star with tens of millions in the bank account, he might carry locker room cred. But Damian Lillard has already done more in this league than Douglas will ever accomplish. Sure, he could consult with Toney on certain things if he chose, but it's not like Douglas would turn a locker room around.

In general, playoff experience will become a less crucial commodity to the Blazers the more experienced they get in the playoffs themselves. This year provided some sharp lessons. If they make a return trip or two during the next couple years, they'll have the experience they need.


I'm sure you've been getting this one a lot-in my mind there is really only one question for the offseason...what will it take to get Darren Collison? Of course, other than not resigning Mo.

He fits our biggest need and would help the bench tremendously, both through his play and levitating that of others.



Collison has never topped $2.4 million in any year. A full MLE would seem like a fortune to him. He's not opting out of a $2 million year in his contract to get paid $2 million again. He'll generate interest around the league. Nobody's going crazy over him but the Blazers would need to spend most or all of their mid-level to get him.

He'd be a nice get. He's good on the break, can score inside, and his distance shot isn't horrible. The Clippers experimented with him at shooting guard as well as point this year. Even though he's only 6'0" you could see him getting bench minutes at both positions for the Blazers.

The question for Collison is whether he's content remaining a bench player or whether another team will offer him more opportunity for similar money. You also have to consider whether a higher-level team might offer him a similar bench position but clearer opportunity to go farther in the playoffs.

For Portland the question remains the same as it does when considering any guard for the MLE: is this enough of a priority to spend your best means of acquiring a player on it? C.J. McCollum could be a combo guard as well. He was Portland's 2013 lottery pick, a large investment. Will Barton, Allen Crabbe, maybe Mo many guards can you carry? Would Collison be that much of an upgrade or would he be taking space from other players who would serve without the expensive (for Portland, anyway) contract?

Unless the fit is perfect and the prospects of more roster-transforming trades handy, I don't see the Blazers prioritizing a guard that highly. But Collison would be an applause-worthy addition.


So with the free agency coming up soon, I've been looking around for possible free agents for the Blazers to possibly sign. All with contracts realistic salaries, or ones expected to take a drop in pay. I've come up with 10 names that I think could really help out the Blazers bench next year. A couple have already been talked about on here, others not so much. And one that I went out on a limb for, since I didn't know much about him besides knowing he played in China (Ivan Johnson).

Shaun Livingston

Darren Collison

Nate Robinson

Kirk Hinrich

Dj Augustin

Jordan Crawford

Jason Smith

Jordan Hill

Richard Jefferson

Ivan Johnson

...I'll leave it off to you now, expert. Of these 10 guys, what would you rank them from 1-10, how much could they help the team, and what's the chances of actually signing them?


I'm not sure how to rank such a diverse group of players against each other, but I can give you gut feelings on suitability and the likelihood of getting them.

Shaun Livingston--Great combo guard pick-up outside of the lack of three-point shooting, and even that might not deter the potential for him. Suffers from the same detriment that any guard acquisition would, as we just mentioned. He'd be an exciting add and create tons of conversation. He wouldn't be impossible to get but you'd have to offer the max and fight other teams for him.

Darren Collison--Just talked about him. Slightly less desirable than Livingston in stature and potential but has more range and experience. I suspect it'd be hard to convince him to sign on. You'd have to assure him of every reserve guard minute at both spots.

Nate Robinson--Powerful bench scorer and affordable. He's been everywhere else, so why not Portland? But there's no way you could keep him and Mo Williams. Playing them together might create an earth-destroying quantum singularity on the court. Also I'm not sure there's that much advantage to using an exception on him when you could just keep Williams for free, essentially.

Kirk Hinrich--This is a three-years-ago move. Kirk would still be serviceable but too expensive unless he comes at a BAE price, in which case the Blazers should jump on that.

Dj Augustin--Will be too expensive relative to the contributions he'd be able to make behind Damian Lillard. He'd want too many minutes for Portland's reserve point guard. I'm not sure I trust his recently-great three-point shooting but I do trust his not-so-great defense.

Jordan Crawford--He can score but he doesn't shoot threes well enough for this team. Plus...shooting guard again.

Jason Smith--He's a perimeter big man, certainly available for the money Portland could offer, but his range stops at "mid", he's not a huge rebounder, and he's nobody's idea of a defender. He'd probably team well with Thomas Robinson but why not just play Meyers Leonard if that's all you want?

Jordan Hill--Big-time rebounder and inside scorer. He's not a shot-blocker or great defender but he'd be a really nice pick-up for the bench...less so if you want to rely heavily on Thomas Robinson. The Blazers could lure him.

Richard Jefferson--He's developed into a really nice three-point shooter but much of his game is difficult to watch nowadays, especially on defense. He'd be taking a major pay cut even at the full MLE. If that's the level he ends up signing at, he'll probably have options besides Portland but I could see him signing here. The Blazers again have to ask whether shooting guard and small forward are priorities and whether Jefferson would be the most efficient use of their exception. They also have to ask how long of a contract they want to give a high-mileage 33-year-old.  He's not going to go for a one-year contract if he has a choice. Do you want 35-year-old Richard Jefferson hanging around on your team 2 years from now?

Ivan Johnson--Cheap, but...why?

I guess that makes my top rank Livingston, Collison, and Hill with Collison being the hardest to get. Hinrich and Robinson comprise the second rank. Augustin goes in the "good player but too much for Portland's needs" file. Jefferson is in the "too expensive for what you'd get" category. Crawford, Smith, and Johnson can probably be equaled by players already on the roster.

Keep those questions coming to the address below. This series isn't done yet by a long shot!

--Dave / @DaveDeckard