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Portland Trail Blazers: Can the Blazers Acquire More Good Bigs?

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Blazersedge Readers propose a trio of quality bigs the Portland Trail Blazers could shoot for. Are any of them practical?

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Mailbag is all about drooling over quality big players. Grab a napkin and enjoy!

Hey Dave,

Lets say Kevin Love makes it through next year in Minnesota without getting traded. He enters free agency and starts "longing for home". Is there a scenario in which the Blazers could pick him up and have him play alongside LMA? Maybe Love plays small forward (he's got the range), Batum starts at guard (but plays SF when Love is out) and Matthews is the first guy off the bench? Then, is there any way it could work out financially? And then, if it all worked out, would anyone even be willing to play us? Or would everyone just forfeit in fear?

Thanks!

Charlie

Yes, it's possible. The Blazers could sign LaMarcus Aldridge to a contract early in free agency, pick up Damian Lillard's option, and maybe squeak one more starter in the mix along with Nicolas Batum, then dump everybody else. At that point they could probably make an offer that would make Love take notice.

The obvious question: what do you do with that lineup? You're proposing a Lillard-Batum-Love-Aldridge quartet, which means the starter you'll want to try and squeak under the cap is likely Robin Lopez. There's your starting five. I might be more comfortable with a dual-power-forward lineup of Love and Aldridge plus smaller players. Either way, a really good, really expensive player will be taking the court out of position. Plus you're in all-or-nothing mode, having literally no bench and no back-up plan other than trading one of those really good, really expensive players. As Minnesota is finding out, it's hard to get equal value (immediate value, anyway) in that kind of trade. You're wagering everything on this one master stroke.

Is Kevin Love a great player? Yes. Do the Blazers need to improve? Yes. Would I risk 100% of that improvement on Love knowing that I already have Aldridge in the fold? We're in sticky territory now. If Love were a center or small forward I'd be thinking, "Three stars in the fold, just fill in around them over the next couple years!" But Love is a star at power forward. I don't know for sure that he's a star small forward or center, or that Aldridge wants to move positions. I'm pretty nervous about banking everything on that experiment no matter how the talent level rises.Hi

Dave,

Thad Young is a longtime favorite of mine - flies under the radar but has great defensive stats, hustle, and a professional attitude. Seems like he's just itching to get out of tanktown and join a contender.

In my dreams, we float TRob, Dorell, and Meyers or Barton with a few picks to liberate Thad. He slides into the 6th man role backing up Batum/LA.

Hinkie might just go for it since he wants to lose, and how do you pass up a Tony Wroten/Will Barton backcourt?

Justin

Thaddeus Young is one of the better talents still available and would come at a reasonable price. The Sixers might want C.J. McCollum in the package instead of, or alongside, the guys you mentioned. If Young made the Big Difference the Blazers should be willing to pay that price.

Like you, I like Young. As with Love, I'm worried about the fit. He's technically a forward-center for the 76'ers but he's not the kind of center the Blazers need. His offensive rebounding's fine but he's neither a strong defensive rebounder nor a lane-stopper. Power forward is his home. The Blazers don't have many minutes to spare at that position. Plus Young is more of a generalist, good at several things, excelling at none. He'd be a satisfactory replacement for Aldridge if the Blazers traded LaMarcus for a star at another position. He's not a crisp, clear backup for Aldridge though.

Unless further moves are coming--or unless they're just trying to consolidate talent--the Blazers and Young aren't a natural fit no matter what the price.

Hey Dave,

Obviously, on the forefront of everyone's mind is the grusome Paul George injury and wishing him a quick and speedy recovery. We watch the NBA for high level basketball and to lose anyone to a significant injury, let alone someone capable of playing at that level is a tragedy. After the well wishes and hopes, however, the mind gradually turns to looking at the Pacers, and then the Eastern Conference, and the league as a whole.

How will this injury affect the league? Are the pacers still a playoff team?

Once a fan exhausts all internal analysis of how the league could be affected, they turn back to their own team, to take a close look at how their chances are changed.

Does this impact the blazers at all? Does Indiana rebuild and start shopping pieces? Do we ship off young talent to bring in David West for a period of time? Is Roy Hibbert someone the Blazers think could renew his potential in another location?

Thanks,

Alex

The Pacers may still be a playoff team, if nothing else because they play in the Eastern Conference. But losing George and Lance Stephenson will almost certainly take them out of serious discussion this year.

I don't see how the Pacers can chop up the team. George is young and has plenty of years ahead of him. The injury might keep him out for a year, but in the long view that's only a small fraction of his career. Most importantly, Indiana just signed George to a five-year deal that starts at $15 million and tops out north of $20 million. He's theirs for the foreseeable future. Rebuilding wouldn't make a ton of sense. They can shift players around him but they can't fire-sale people and start from scratch.

I'm sure the Blazers would consider Hibbert a fine catch. (David West maybe less so.) But Portland doesn't have enough juice to swing a Hibbert deal. Indy could be looking at $35 million in cap space next summer if they dumped Hibbert and West but they'd have only a couple guys under contract and they'd still not be a prime destination spot. That strategy would be far riskier than trying to get relatively commensurate talent or good picks for Hibbert and/or West, neither of which the Blazers could offer. More to the point, the Pacers could take a slice of that money and just pay Hibbert themselves, figuring they're not going to find anyone much better. But hey, if the Pacers were willing to look at a package centering around Robin Lopez or Chris Kaman plus some young guys, the Blazers would at least have to consider it. That just doesn't seem likely.

Keep those Mailbag questions coming to the e-mail address just below. You help me find them easily when you put "Mailbag" in the subject line!

--Dave blazersub@gmail.com / @DaveDeckard