Jun 14

Eventful Summer Kicks Off

By mikebarrett Posted in: 2011draft

It's not really a bold prediction to say that it's going to be an eventful summer for the Portland Trail Blazers.  Draft time usually is, as you know, and there are so many other things to keep our eyes on.

There's the big, big stuff, as in the labor situation, but I'm not going near that one.  Not that I could offer a decent prediction, even if I were allowed to comment on it.  

I know I've been away from the blog for a few weeks, and that's usually been my pattern the last few years.  Nice to step back a bit following the conclusion of the season.  I do appreciate that some of you continue to comment and generate discussion, despite the fact that I've been taking time away.

Time to get back at it, as draft time is almost here, and other huge issues hang in the balance.

First of all, I'm curious about how you all feel about the way the NBA Finals ended up.  We should be beyond moral victories, but did you at least feel a little better about bowing in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual champs?  Is it embracing a loser's mentality to think that way?  I can't really decide.

Despite going down in the first round to Dallas, there were some positives to take from it even right after it happened.  But, the feeling was different then (and wow, does that seem like a long time ago, or what?).  It was more about us then.  After watching Dallas chew up the Lakers, I had more of a feeling that it was a huge missed opportunity, and that we would have had a very good chance against the Lakers.  But now, seeing what Dallas ultimately accomplished, my feeling is more about the Mavs and less about us.  Does that make any sense at all?

I suppose you can take some pride in playing them as tough as the Trail Blazers did.  Jason Terry had a tweet during the early part of the Finals that basically said Portland offered them "by far" the biggest defensive challenge of any of the teams they faced in the playoffs.  That was nice, but it didn't do much to ease the pain of having the offseason begin earlier than we wanted.

In the end, the feeling that's now left is that I'm not sure we're quite as far away from being an elite team as maybe we think.  Despite the fact that it took a huge comeback in game four to force that first-round series to six games, it still felt like if a couple of things would have gone differently, the Blazers could have won that series.  Perhaps that's a stretch.
A lot has happened since then, as you know.  

There's the whole general manager thing.  I didn't offer much comment immediately after that because I didn't really know how to feel.  Like everyone else around here, I liked Rich Cho and felt badly for him.  But, now that he's landed on his feet, getting the GM job in Charlotte, it feels better.  And, honestly, this probably felt less like a big loss inside the organization.  I only say that because despite what was written locally and nationally, there was never the feeling of "chaos" inside our world.  The management team that's in place has been here, has a great track record, and has things very much under control.  I'm a huge, huge, Chad Buchanan fan.  Believe me, we're in very good hands.  That'll be the case if he ultimately gets the job or not.  He's not going anywhere, and has great support around him.

Do you have a great read or great feeling about this upcoming draft?  I only ask that because, honestly, I don't.  I know quite a bit about a few guys, but don't know much about the bulk of the rest of the first round.  It's been called a very weak draft, and I suppose I tend to at least partly agree with that.  Perhaps it's just because there seems to be a lot of balance.  Outside of a few locks, it seems like this big group of pretty good players.

I do know this, the last few years before the draft, when I've wanted to know exactly what to watch, or who to watch in the first round, I've asked one guy- Chad Buchanan.  I've usually done my prep and research, and then have walked over to Chad's house and have sat at his kitchen table and we go down the list name by name.  I'm not sure, with his new role, that I'll have that chance again, but I hope to.  Most of the guys in this draft he's watched develop for years, and knows everything about them.
We'll be all over the draft, as always, and will be hosting a special edition of Trail Blazers Courtside on draft night.  We'll start our show at 4:30, and will stay on as long as we have to.

I'll be back with more very soon.  Draft day has always been an exciting day in Blazerland, and there's no reason to think it won't be again.

Then, there are the other issues to deal with.  Some think because of the labor situation there will actually be more player movement than usual, leading up to June 30th.  Some think there will be less.  Then, there's the situation with Andre's contract.  Then, there's Greg's situation. If you have opinions on either, or anything else, let it fly.

By the way, I've had a lot of people ask me about Mr. Rice.  He's got a pair of new artificial knees and is doing great.  He was back on Courtside this week, and will be back at it on draft night.
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  1. Thanks for the thoughts, Mike. Here are my reflections: I was happy that the Mavs won and really think it bodes well for the Blazers. I have always felt like teamwork and patience are keys to winning championships. I would like to see the Blazers stay loyal to Andre, Marcus, Nicholas, Greg and most of all Brandon. I know it is cool to want to trade for big names, but the Mavs proved that caring is a huge part of winning. To me, Greg and Nic are keys to our future success, but we won't know it unless we hang in and believe in this team. I hope that the reason the GM was changed was because Rich didn't want to trust the Pritchard plan and Paul Allen did. Looking forward to watching the draft special next week. PS: I like the future for Luke Babbit, too!

    by DeVinMzM on 6/14/2011 10:33 PM
  2. Glad to see you're back at it, Mike. Looking forward to seeing what the summer brings. Thanks for all your hard work.

    by XCAsian on 6/14/2011 10:33 PM
  3. I'm back!

    After five weeks in the hospital I'm now at a place to do physical rehab before I can go home. Man, I can't wait, but after 3 weeks here it looks like it's going to be a little while before I can go home.

    Anyway, I'll start off with Oden. I hope we sign him to a multi year contract. I'd hate to just sign him to a year and then lose him in a year. The only thing that would be worse than him never being healthy is him getting healthy and leading a different team to a championship. He's still really young and I think he is going to stay healthy and be a part of a championship. Just imagine if he was healthy last year. We would have just won a championship most likely if he was healthy.

    I always like the team that we lose to to do well because that reflects on us especially in this case when we might have played the Mavs the toughest than any team. There is no doubt of that in the west, the finals was the only other series the Mavs were force to 6 games. I believe if we had won that first game we would have won the series.

    As to the draft I don't follow college ball much so I don't know who we might pick when it's our turn to pick. I always say go for best player available, but hope bpa is in a position we are weak, like back up forward or PG. Would love to see us get a banger inside.

    by mgb on 6/14/2011 10:58 PM
  4. I think it has to make a difference that the guys who knocked us out are now World Champions, and it's interesting that we had the same record against them as the much-hyped Miami. On the other hand, I was thinking at first that the Mavericks' win put in perspective the claims that Nate had been outcoached. Seems like Carlisle out-coached a lot of people. But then Rice came on Courtside and talked about Barea versus Patty Mills, how Nate might not have been willing to give Barea a chance, and as a long-time Patty booster I had to agree. Carlisle did exactly what Nate refused to do, and he now has a championship. It's playing to win versus playing not to lose. One other thing the Maverick comparison reinforces is the idea that a well-balanced squad with depth and chemistry can beat a collection of superstars. I mean, if Greg Oden is healthy, the worst case is that he's like Tyson Chandler. (Best case is Dwight Howard) LaMarcus isn't Dirk, but he's a similar type, and another step forward would bring him closer to having the same impact. Andre fills the Kidd role on offense, except for three-point shooting, and Wesley fills the same role on defense. Nic and Gerald Wallace are completely different type of players than Shawn Marion, but either of them should be more valuable than he is next year. We do lack depth at the big spots. I mean, Carlisle was digging deep there when Haywood got hurt, going two guys farther into his bench; we didn't even have the Haywood spot filled. Our most obvious lack, though, is the small fast guards who can dish or shoot, like Barea and Terry. Well, we had Patty, who is the type, but Nate decided he didn't trust him in crunch time. But back-up bigs and some speedy guards aren't the world's most daunting holes to fill. It makes me think that this is a good time to resist trying a big trade, and instead we should just address the obvious needs. Maybe we trade Rudy so we can move up to get one of the better point guards, plan to develop Chris Johnson, and get a couple of free agents: one big banger and one pure shooter. Wes and Nic and LaMarcus all take another step forward, Gerald learns the system, Oden comes back: if that stuff happens I think we'll get deeper than round one, and be on track for a title a couple of years down the road. If only Nate knew how to use small guards....

    by Islander on 6/14/2011 11:06 PM
  5. Welcome back Mr. Barrett, from your well deserved vacation.
    I faired better this year, because 1st, I have more BB knowledge due to reading blogs and you, and your posters in the comment section. 2nd, I had Sarah, Casey, Adam and the wonderful Whiz Kid, Kassandra, to supply me with information and wisdom.

    As far as the Mavs goes, after we beat them in game four, they dug deeper and came out fighting harder, which is the same thing I love about the Blazers; when the going gets tough the Blazers got tougher.

    I am not sure how I feel about the moral victory; I was rooting for the Mavs because of my dislike for the stacked deck of Miami, and the dislike for the King James type players. I do have lots of emotional ties to Miami in players and coaches with Oregon connection.

    The Mavs won, and like Sarah Hecht says it disproved the theory of the "Underdog" always losing.

    I have to somewhat go with Islander on Nate coaching not to lose many times opposed to coaching to win, That is not a "Fire Nate" thing that is just an observation, although I feel we were beat by a better, more experienced team at the time, not a better team in the long run. As others said, I feel we are better prepared for a championship run then at first thought. FOR ONE THING, I wasn't even for sure we were going to get to the play-offs until close to the end. After we made it, I figured we had recently beat everybody that was in the Western conference, but heeded the warning that Play-offs tend to create different animals in the play-offs. Therefore I just took the play-offs one game at a time.

    We had many adversities that left cracks in our Armor. We need more time with GW on the team, we need to see the eventual development of the new BRoy after healing up from surgery is complete. We have to see what Greg will eventually offer. We acquired Chris Johnson that looks like with a little nourishment, a little body building and a little time with the team, we may have filled one of the holes in our forwards armor. We have Elliot Williams that is basically unseen and unproven. We have Patty that is a great locker room cheer leader and can do some of the things Berea can do, given a chance. We have the further development of Armon, and Babbitt.

    We need to find out the causes of Rudy's bad shooting, we need to figure out how to keep Nic fired up and see what Matthews can bring us with his second year with the Blazers and a stronger ankle to help with his defense and cutting to the basket.

    Therefore I am not sure what I hope for in the draft. With not knowing about Greg, with Joel Freeman playing at least another year in Europe, or until whatever happens with the lock-out, I feel a back-up center would be the wises move.

    by Hg on 6/15/2011 4:53 AM
  6. Hello Mr. Barrett, nice to see you again. Hope you have enjoyed your much deserved rest :)

    Draft - I simply don't know enough about college ball to comment honestly. Even if I went and read all the draft profiles and digested the mock drafts and listened to analysts, the fact would remain that I have never seen these guys play. For me, that is key in determining who I like for our team. I think for once, it is imperative, regardless of Nate's resistance in playing rooks, that we draft to fill a hole and not the best player available. I will be hoping we draft either the best PG or banger available when it's our turn :) The bench desperately needs some depth.

    Keeping Andre, to me, is a nobrainer, especially after watching Jason Kidd do what he did to four teams. I think if Kidd can help lead a team to a championship at 38, Dre, who appears even healthier, can certainly do it at 35, 36, 37, and even 38 :)

    I really don't KNOW about Greg, but my sense is that the organization should offer him 3 years, at around 9-10 million, with a team option at the end of the contract, just in case. Considering his potential vs. his injury history, I think that is more than fair, and would keep him here. The problem with the Greg situation is that there are two scenarios where the Blazers don't end up looking like idiots/failures: Greg comes back, stays healthy, and contributes in a tangible way or Greg goes elsewhere, stays injured, and never really contributes. If Greg leaves and has any kind of success, we look stupid for letting him go. If he stays and has any further significant injuries, we look stupid for not letting him go. Either way, it's a real gamble. No amount of analysis or educated guessing can remove that simple fact. Greg is a gamble. Either the organization is going to bet on him or bet against him. I am still betting on him. I hope they will :)

    Who knows what's gonna happen with the CBA? Really, there are only a few things that effect us as fans - 1) Will there be a lockout? 2) If there IS an amnesty clause (which seems likely), will the Blazers use it for Brandon, or heaven forbid in the future, Greg? and 3) Where the cap ends up and the penalty for going over it, which affects who the organization can bring to the team. I think we all are hoping against hope that a lockout is somehow avoided. I am not a proponent of getting rid of Brandon until we are all able to see what exactly he is going to be able to contribute for most of a season. Our sample size last season was rather small, and was mitigated by him playing out of position in a completely unfamiliar role. As for the cap....pretty sure we are just screwed there, lol.

    I am hoping we can get at least one piece via free agency. However, I hope the organization refrains from making any major moves or trading away major pieces that are already here. I hope they are conservative, and don't sacrifice further depth for the possibility of getting another "star-caliber" player. If Dallas showed the league anything, it was that SuperStars are not required to win a Ring, not that it's a NEW lesson or anything (Boston and Detroit have both done it in recent history). Like Nate has said a few times...no one really knows what this team is, cause we've never seen it healthy! So, in sum, if we can get solid bench pieces, or maybe a reliable and PROVEN (NOT potential) shooter, and not give up core pieces (GW, Lamarcus, Wesley, Brandon), pieces with lots of potential (Batum, Greg), or our two veterans (Dre, Camby), then I hope we take advantage of that!

    I have nothing but respect, admiration, and appreciation for the Dallas Mavericks. They absolutely deserved to win it all and proved they were better than the very best teams in the league. Think about it....they beat an up-and-comer in the Thunder, they beat the defending 2-time Champs who boast one of the very best players in the league in the last decade, and they beat the best team out of the East, who themselves had beaten a recent Championship team and the best defensive team in the league who boast the league's MVP. And according to some of the Dallas players, and even the coach, Portland was their primer. Does that take out at least a little of the sting? Absolutely. Additionally, it should make us all aware that the Blazers ARE in the upper echelons of the league's competition, regardless of not being recognized nationally as such. That, being severely injured two seasons in a row, playing without the leader and All-Star talent for most of the season, and with massive personnel changes over two seasons, both on the court and off. It's almost unreal to think of what the team can accomplish with just a LITTLE more depth, health, stability, and LUCK! I honestly get the chills when I allow myself to imagine it.

    Is it October yet??

    by SisillaRiann on 6/15/2011 6:56 AM
  7. Trade up for Faried, Faried, Faried, Faried then Shumpert at 21

    by mbmurr1 on 6/15/2011 7:42 AM
  8. I feel we are too close to finding the last piece to the puzzle to scramble it and start a new puzzle.

    by Ancientone on 6/15/2011 8:01 AM
  9. EowynAmarie:

    Remember when you said we should be weary of what we wished for? Now you can say I told you so.

    I agree with you on all accounts of your analysis. The Blazers has lots of unknowns, because of our adversities and injuries.
    We don't know about Greg, I am like you I hope we gamble to keep him but as you said again it is still a gamble.
    We don't know about BRoy, what he can become with a new role and fully recovered from injury. In the long run his injury will win as been said often, but no one knows how much time he has left. I am betting that he will continue to pattern his new career after Dre, with little elevation, using his body to protect the ball instead of how high he can jump. Use catty moves whether than sharp cut overs.
    We don't know what a full year of Gerald Wallace can produce; I bet it will be great. We don't know what Rudy's problem is nor do we know if we already have a shooter in Rudy (glasses)and BRoy, (knee) and don't need to go out and get one.

    I am like you also, with the new college players.

    Great post my friend.

    by Hg on 6/15/2011 8:31 AM
  10. Well, I'm a bit sleepy. Had 2 of my closest friends move to Canada to attend VSF. I live in Tualatin, so the train ride and drive were... long. That being said, I'm tired but will try to cover everything I have to say. Prepare for a long post from me, but yet, if you've read something from me before, you're already prepared for that.

    First, I know nothing about the draft. I stay away from college basketball. I don't have a team and I like to be surprised when they play in the NBA. All I hear from the media is "oh this guy is good" and I end up thinking that they're overrated. That's generally how the first 1-10 picks are, unless someone is overshadowing them (like Griffin overshadows Wall). Regardless, know nothing about it, so I can't make a comment. All I know is Portland is interested in either Monta Ellis or Kemba Walker, and I think they'll make a move for either.

    Second - Blazers future.

    KEEP ANDRE AND ODEN. For the reasons I've stated a million times. When Dre is NOT on the court, the Blazers look like they need him. When he's on the court, the Blazers look like an organized team. Not to mention the lob is a lethal weapon that the Blazers do best at. Take away one piece - Andre - the lob goes away. We're not ready to throw away Andre Miller. Greg Oden, as mgb said, is young, is full of potential, and will eventually stay healthy. I would probably cry as a loyal Blazer fan if we traded him/lost him and that team was instantly a contender. If we had Oden, LaMarcus wouldn't have to play such a huge role. And, we'd probably have won that first round series against the 2011 Champions. Speaking of which...

    I am very, very, very frustrated that we lost the first round. Seeing the way OKC, Miami, and the Lakers fell to the floor, the Blazers could be holding up that championship, not the Mavs. Had the refs been fair, we'd have won game 1, and probably would have fought harder in Game 6 if it was an elimination game but for the Mavericks, who would have probably played weaker. It seems every season we get screwed by the officiating. But the one in the first series was the worst I've seen in any series, and I watched them all. I was disgusted. But it's National Business Association these days. Honestly, call me crazy, but I know the NBA got EXACTLY what they wanted, except a game 7, which they desperately tried for, but the Heat simply choked. Here's my theory...

    The NBA wants 2 new teams in the playoffs. No one is going to want to see another rematch of Celtics vs Lakers, or hardly anyone wants to see Lakers vs Heat. Mavs vs Heat seems much more interesting. Since LeBron, Wade, and Bosh look like such horrible people for teaming up, people watch them to LOSE, not to win. So many people were watching the finals, and rooting for the Mavs simply so the Heat would lose. But, why would people watch the NBA if the Heat were out? That's why it was so easy for them to get past Chicago and the Celtics (despite the fact they played better ball, they did get help).

    But, if the Heat win it all, that would hurt the NBA, if say, a full team won (which the NBA started advertising after the finals, saying a complete team beat a Big 3). If the Big 3 win, wouldn't superstars say, "jeez, that works, let's go team up". I mean, look at New York, they're trying to get DH12 and CP3. They already got Melo and Stoudemire. So the NBA saves themselves and helps the Mavs. Seriously, half the times Dirk got to the FT line I was like 'you serious"? Look at the end of Game 3. Had it not been for D-Wade's amazing play, the Mavs would have won that game like they won Game 1 against Portland - shooting undeserved FTs.

    Then Game 6 happened, in which the Heat would have likely won had they made their FTs. But... they over ate and eventually choked, missing nearly 20 of them. You don't think Sterny Werny wanted a game 7, seeing as the ratings were through the roof? I called it before the series would start. Heat should have won, but Mavs would win by officiating. Hey, I was right. Only way to win a championship if the NBA doesn't want you to, is to just be THAT good. Portland can do that with Dre and Oden. as Ancientone said, we're too close to finding the last piece to just start over. Oden is a piece of this puzzle.

    So, that's my theory. NBA got exactly what they wanted to make the big bucks. Kind of hard as a fan to really believe any team that has mediocre ratings can win a championship.

    About losing to the Mavs though - it just feels like a huge opportunity lost. I don't think the Mavs are the best team in the league. I don't expect them to successfully defend their championship. They were too close to being a first round exit, and after us they beat an overrated team and a dying Laker team. Heat will likely rule the NBA, unless Portland climbs that hump. It's just an opportunity lost in my book. We could have gone far... had game 1 not been spoiled.

    by Herr on 6/15/2011 4:22 PM
  11. Hi Mike,
    Glad to see you post again. Without getting mushy, yours is the only one I read. Love your honesty and insight.
    Yes it felt good to see Dallas win the jewel. Reminded me a little of our championship Trailblazer team. Multiple individual pieces bonded together, playing a team game.
    To win a title in any sport is a hard thing to do. More often than not its a perfect alignment of the stars to make it possible. Hard work, team chemistry, some luck, injury free and more. Dallas had all of that going for them. Even the heartbreaking loss the blazers handed them, ( game 4 ) was good for Dallas. They grew from that loss as much as any win they had. By there own admittance.
    The blazer future is bright. Keep working hard. If the stars align, anything is possible.

    by Divotking on 6/15/2011 5:57 PM
  12. Hg;
    Rudy's poor shooting is because he needs glasses. Watch him when he looks up to see the replay. He squints. Do you know where the three goggles originated?

    by Divotking on 6/15/2011 6:09 PM
  13. I have to add some optimism here. If the Mavericks won the NBA title, any team has a possibility. I don't think there are any more stacked teams. Heat have a big 3 but are obviously weak in a lot of areas. Mavs are a subpar defense, jump shooting team. If the Blazers are to win a championship, they need to follow their advertisement. It has to be NOW

    by Herr on 6/15/2011 8:13 PM
  14. Divotking:

    I believe you are right about glasses, but it was said that glasses wouldn't help with his shooting, has to do with not being able to control the eyes from getting out of focus. Or maybe he couldn't wear contact and that is the problem, Somebody said he wore glasses when he wasn't playing ball.

    by Hg on 6/15/2011 10:58 PM
  15. I have one thing to say about this draft, I hope we do better in this one then the last one. Remember we gave up Martell for a person who has yet to make a shot IMO! I know that's harsh, but who made that happen? Did Chad do that? What about AJ? Who made that happen? What kind of contracts did they get? Are we stuck with them for years? Chad better know what he's getting into. If he's studied the players in the draft for years how do you miss players like CP3 when we could have got him? COME ON NOW! Somebody talk to me because I can care less if Chad has been here for however long. I want to know can he get players to this team that will put us over the top. Sorry if this sounds negative, but at this time of the year I'm sick of hearing the hype. This is what we need! A point guard and a power forward that can bang. We don't need an undersize one of either. Everyone watched this team play 82 games and then a few more for making it to the playoffs. You see what we need, so get it. I'm going to watch the draft as usual in hopes we go in ready to deal. I don't know if Chad is ready. (WHAT HAPPEN IN LAST YEARS DRAFT)

    by civilhold on 6/16/2011 1:21 AM
  16. @civilhold, as I remember, Chad and KP wanted CP3 and was out voted.

    I understand the being sick and tired of hype this time of year, but remember you read and listen by choice. When I get tired of the hype, I just turn it off.Besides there isn't too much going on at this time of the year other then trades and drafts, so you are going to get many of opinion and by many that are just overly opinionated.

    by Hg on 6/16/2011 4:57 AM
  17. mike,

    i'd like to comment on your question about what mentality it is to take solace in knowing you were knocked out by the champions. i think it's a winners mindset to think it took the best team to knock us out. there's nothing shameful in getting beat by the best and we gave them as good of a challenge as anyone. i'm glad we at least took our shot and got a couple of licks in.

    the loser mentality, in my opinion, was those wanting the mavericks because they were perceived as a weaker team. i always want to play the best because it shows two things. one, i welcome and embrace the biggest tests. two, when it's over i know where i stand.

    i know we are an elite team but we need to make some tweaks. one of those tweaks is finding ways to win without riding aldridge for 40 plus minutes every night.

    go blazers!

    by thedanman on 6/16/2011 5:28 AM
  18. @thedanman:

    As always, a very well thought analogy, I feel you are right. The number one seed is usually considered the best because they play the weakest team and are not challenged until the WCF, and sometimes not then. I am sure the Grizzlies felt they beat the best by beating the Number one seed

    by Hg on 6/16/2011 5:53 AM
  19. wow, now we're really getting into it here. i guess that's only natural given the draft is just one week away.

    i find it wholly ironic that, a year after EowynAmarie and i were at odds on this very blog, we seem to be in agreement as far as where the team stands and what should be done toward the future (as for the part about the mavs ... i should take them or leave them).

    the draft: to be honest, i didn't watch a lot of college basketball this past season, but i've been reading up on prospects. given what we know that we have, i think it's more important for us to go for a big rather than best player available. i think that by pick #21 you can probably look at the best pf and pg available and it would be fairly equal. if the off season starts with the draft -- and it does -- we should try and fill our biggest need with our first pick. contrary to some beliefs, our biggest need is not at pg. we know what we have there. now look at pf/c and what do we have at those two positions? we've got the best pf in the league (don't get on me, mavs fabs, i've always considered Dirk a seven-foot sf). we've also got a very solid veteran, though he's no spring chicken. i really hate to put it this way, but i don't know that Marcus has much left in the tank. beyond those two, we can't rely on the rest. sure, those guys each could be something special, but they aren't yet. so yes, in this draft, i think it's imperative we take a big at #21, and perhaps also at #51.

    free agency/trades: if we can find a quality player to fill the second unit, so be it. if we cannot, then it would be a waste of time to even test those waters. you all are probably tired of seeing this from me, but i cannot stress it enough: do not make a trade merely for the sake of making a trade. i feel the team has done this several times before, and always come out on the short end of the deal.

    Greg and Andre and Patty: what's the question here, really? 1. Greg; extend the qualifying offer. i'm not entirely sure we can configure a contract like this, but what about something similar to his rookie contract of two years, with team options for a third and a fourth. that's the road down which i would go. 2. Andre; it's my understanding that all we have to do is not waive him by june 29 and he's ours for another season (correct me if i'm wrong there, MB). as i mentioned in my blog about the point guards and have seen mentioned here, Andre is three year younger than Jason Kidd and Kidd helped lead the mavs to the title. add to that Andre not having any major injuries and it doesn't take a rocket scientist nor brain surgeon (nor a brainy rocket surgeon scientist) to figure out that Andre really isn't as old as many would have you believe. keep him. 3. Patty; extend the offer. truthfully, it probably wouldn't have to be that high of a dollar amount. Patty has played just 74 career games. we don't know any more his future than we do about Greg's, but it's worth a shot to find out. and that's not even taking into account what he showed us this past season which, i think, we quite a bit. once Patty becomes a free agent -- restricted or unrestricted, at least a third of the teams out there are going to be interested in obtaining his services. these are all no-brainers as far as i'm concerned.

    i have more, but it's been a whirlwind week (next week doesn't promise to slow down either). those are my initial thoughts.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 6/16/2011 12:23 PM
  20. as i mentioned in the last comment, it's been a whirlwind week. i had my last final on monday (resceduled due to a conflicting final), spent a couple nights with my brother and his fiance in san francisco, then drove back home yesterday. now it's six days at home before my dad and i drive back down to to the bay. the rest of the family comes down a couple days later and on saturday the 25th, my oldest brother will become a married man (really having trouble grasping the thought of that!). my three sisters and i will spend the following week housesitting and exploring san francisco before coming home just before the 4th of july. just thought i'd throw all that in there!

    now for some individual thoughts ...

    hg: "whiz kid?" i've been called many things in my 19 years, but whiz kid has never been one of them! be that as it may, i am glad to have given you and others some food for thought if i have. i have enjoyed muttering through what we call the season with you and the other posters as well. additionally, the tbtv shows with Adam and Casey have been very informative, as well as Sarah withe ber baby, the blogger network.

    danman: maybe it's comforting to say we were knocked out by the eventual champions. i do not take comfort in that, myself. i feel like there were a few things which we should have done which should have put us into the same position as the mavs were in. now, instead of dwelling we look to fix those mistakes and move on next year. we should not, nor should any other team, try to potition ourselves against one opponent or another. just think about what might have happened had we faced the lakers, the team many said they did "not" want to see us play in the first round.

    Herr: i share your criticism of the offieiating. i know many will tell us not to spend time worrying about it, but it does affect the game (especially our game 1 against dallas). unfortunately, while portland is the greatest city in which to live, it's still small when it comes to a league and it's officials who are geared toward keeping superstarts and large-market teams on on the winning side. yes, btw, i AM a conspiracy theorist. on this topic, i think it's completely warranted.

    ancientone: i believe you are correct that we need just one more piece to the puzzle. the question is, will Greg be that missing piece or do we need to find it elsewhere (or are their two more pieces and the answer to that question is "both?").

    MarLa: nice insights. i think Greg (or a healthy player like him) is the key to our success, and i think Nicolas is the kind of guy we need to pace the second unit. hopefully, having these guys together at training camp will allow them to go into next season fully prepared.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 6/16/2011 12:49 PM
  21. i have some more in-depth opinions on each player in a blog series i'm running on the blogger network where i break things down by position/player. here are the links.

    Positioning the Blazers - Point Guards:

    Positioning the Blazers - The Wings:

    Positioning the Blazers - The Bigs:
    to be posted 6/18/11

    take a look, and comment if you wish.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 6/16/2011 12:57 PM
  22. Kassandra: slow down and take a breath. I love all your material and I think in general I feel the same way. but let me re-read a few times and digest it more.

    I know for sure I agree with you on getting a big that is ready, I believe in Greg, but he is still a question mark, so it is best to make decisions without him then he will become the ice cream on top of the apple pie. OK, gravy.

    by Hg on 6/16/2011 1:27 PM
  23. Decided to edit my oops by writing something about the saying 'don't make a trade just to make a trade''. Has any team made a trade just to make a trade? I can understand saying don't make a trade unless it helps us, because I know some teams to cut payroll has got worse and traded good players for junk, Wallace trade comes to mind, but they are making the trade for a reason, not just making a trade to make a trade.

    by mgb on 6/16/2011 6:49 PM
  24. We really need to go for BPA. Otherwise we most likely will reach for a player that fills a position and hope he is good enough and past on a better player while if we take BPA we should get a good player even if it's in a position we have a strength at. All it does is give us flexibility on what we can do playing and trade wise. Sure if there are two players of equal ability and one is in a position we need while one isn't of course take the one that is in the position we need. If we have learn anything from Blazers history it's to take BPA.

    by mgb on 6/16/2011 6:33 PM
  25. Mr Barrett, Excellent question about moral victory Vs. Dallas. I think yes, it is a Moral victory. I think this has shown that we really were not that far off. That the West is really that wide open at a shot for at least WCF. We must ask ourselves, did Gerald Wallace going down in game 6 hurt us that bad?. We all but won game 1. That game 4 was really a test about our grit, and heart. Also, it is important to note that Dallas has been "baking the team cake" for awhile now. It seems to have served them well. I think we go right back into next season fully healthy(Greg..please) and add a few pieces at point and Back up forward/center. That being said, I say we look for someone in the draft who can come in and contribute right away. We are right in the hunt. A lil health a lil luck( Brandon/Greg). A full off season with Gerald Wallace.

    See you all on draft night.


    by L.T.G on 6/16/2011 8:26 PM
  26. I feel the Blazers' biggest problem is an inconsistent offense, but I don't know how to address that in the draft. We have what appear to be talented shooters, but we have few consistent scorers. Trades or free agency seem better suited to solving that problem than the draft. Lots of great college shooters have failed to make the grade in the NBA.

    When you look at how the playoffs played out, bench play was a huge factor. Our bench used to be fairly strong, but slipped badly as last season progressed. Injuries clearly had a lot to do with that slippage but, injuries or no, the team must improve their bench considerably to have a decent shot at advancing past the first round.

    by dgpdx on 6/16/2011 11:52 PM
  27. mgb: the "don't make a trade for the sake of making a trade" line is meant more for those trigger-happy fans who seem to just want to deal even though the deal doesn't improve the team. however, it seems many teams have done just that. Whitsitt made some bonehead moves while he was gm. i think most are on board with that assessment. there were a few deals he made which were seemingly made just to show the team as being active on the trade market. aside from that, we need to make sure any trade or deal we make actually makes an improvement to the team.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 6/17/2011 7:23 AM
  28. Come on Kassandra, are you saying we should use common sense. Which by the way doesn't seem all that common to me.

    by Ancientone on 6/17/2011 5:12 PM
  29. lol mgb, common sense is a small part of it, but it also has to do with overvaluing incoming players and undervaluing outgoing players. i'm not necessarily saying the team's powers that be will do that, but i've seen it happen. i've also seen many trade proposals from fans which don't seem to take those things into consideration.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 6/18/2011 12:52 PM
  30. I will try again.
    survey of Mock drafts, they have not been updated so some may have changed. If you have a prediction as to who Portland will pick add yours if you choose to do so.

    Mike Barrett Jordan Hamilton SG, 6’7, 220lbs
    Aran Smith Jordan Hamilton SG, 6’7, 220lbs
    Mike Rice Kemba Walker G-6’ 1”
    Wheels Kemba Walker G-6’ 1”
    David Aldridge Kemba Walker G-6’ 1”
    Sarah Kenneth Faried PF-6’ 8’’
    Kassandra Donatas Motiejunas PF, 7’0, 220lbs,
    Chad Ford Donatas Motiejunas PF, 7’0, 220lbs
    Sam Amick Lucas Noguiera C-7’0”
    Draft Express Nikola Vucevic
    Hg Nikola Vucevic
    Antonio Reggie Jackson

    by Hg on 6/19/2011 7:19 AM
  31. The Blazers need to pick up Kobe from the Lakers. He is Portland's quickest asset to winning a championship right now.

    by Mike Lemke on 6/19/2011 12:06 PM
  32. wow you all have been busy on here. i meant to comment a few days ago and got busy or sidetracked.
    like a lot of you I do not follow college ball so i wont comment.
    As to Rudys eyesight i have seen him wearing glasses when not playing ball. I saw him wearing the glasses as the nike hoop summit when they put him on the jumbo tron and i have seen him post pics of himself on twitter wearing them. maybe he needs prescritpion goggles. I just hope his shot improves as he plays in spain this summer.

    i so agree the officiating in game one of the dallas series was suspect but there were other things missing in that game. stats show it. the three point shot was non existent and the help from other players were not there such as gw and others. it always seemed to be one or two guys trying to carry the team when the others were not playing well. for example in game seven it was gw and la...while others were mia. I will say this officiating was some of it and agree with that but it was not the total picture.

    I agree with kass we need to sign greg he is a big gamble that might pay off. what if he signs elsewhere and ends up being a great player somewhere else? who do we have to fill his role for the future? no one really at this point. I agree dont waive dre or offer him contract whatever it takes to keep dre here he is still very good. I would like us to keep patty I thnk he is further along in development then eilliott williams and armon johnson at this point. and he was very valuable to this team. we dont want him to become a unrestricted free agent someone will sign him. He brings energy and support to this team and will only get better as he plays more in this league. I say his future is promising and the sky is the limt for this young aussie.

    I think we are a good team who will get beter once we get healthy bodies in. I would love to la get a backup player who can do well. I hope we get jp or dc back. Or maybe chris johnson will have improved and will have done well this summer.

    I like what we did in sparks with wtih dallas but lma was too tired by the time the playoffs got here because of long minutes and that effected a lot of how he played and what dallas was able to do. hopefully we can fix these issues.

    should be an interesting off season. no lock out...

    by oregongal47 view (TG) on 6/19/2011 6:02 PM
  33. @TG: wow are you related to Kassandra?

    Great post, I have to agree with every aspect of your post.

    by Hg on 6/19/2011 7:11 PM
  34. Agreed, Mike: this draft class doesn't blow my skirt up either. I think Bismack Biyombo will be a legit NBA player, but I don't think he's worth trading up for--nobody is in this class. I don't expect to see much in the way of upward mobility in this draft, apart from buying a pick around ours (#20?). Whoever they select, I hope he's a big guy that can be groomed for the backup PF/C that travisd and I (and many many others) have been begging for.

    This offseason, I expect Greg to be signed to a longer contract, and an insurance policy to be signed with the MLE (if such a thing still exists)--my vote is for Turiaf. That's what I expect, but there's a short list of possibilities I would welcome...

    1) Captacular Amnesty Clause (tm) used on Roy. This should only be done if the new Amnesty Clause provides cap relief as well as tax relief.

    2) Upgrade the PG. I love Andre Miller, but if there's an opportunity to get Steve Nash or Mike Conley without giving up Batum, it must be done.

    3) Upgrade the Head Coach. Nate is a fine regular season coach, but has proven over the last three years to be incapable of the adjustments necessary to win in the playoffs.

    To boil it down, this summer I want Greg Oden, Ronny Turiaf, and a project big man out of the draft--that's the bare minimum. No more guards please. Any of the three points above would be welcomed, but not necessary to moving out of the 1st round (unless I'm more right than I think I am about Nate).

    by 500Dogs on 6/20/2011 11:02 AM
  35. I disagree with you on Nate. surprise???? I think the players because of being short handed most of the season was just tuckered out by the time play-offs came, and I think we had a couple that was forced into the rotation on regular basis, and had not yet developed the skills to play there consistently. We need a year with healthy bodies before we can make your conclusions.

    Time will tell.

    by Hg on 6/20/2011 12:32 PM
  36. If you have a veteran ball club, the best coaching move you can do is to get the hell out of the way and trust your players to perform up to their capabilities. That means stand aside while Dale Davis reads about "A shrew named Dewy". Look the other way while Greg Oden promotes Town and Country dealerships, and for God's sakes' man don't forget to turn the dvr off when Pat Lafferty suggests another "ulcer gulch" moment. Nate is not the problem amigos, nor is the ridiculous talk about the team being tuckered out come playoff time. We're talking about athletes conditioned for duty in the prime of their lives. Enough with the excuses already! I give Dallas credit for taking it to the Heat and any talk about Portland losing to the eventual champs is just a way to make you feel better about your team after a beat-down. They need to hang onto Andre Miller like static cling. What they need is a true back-up point guard and, oh I don't know, how about a center that does more than just block shots and rebound? We need another scorer folks, nuff said.

    by Phi Slamma on 6/20/2011 5:17 PM
  37. Kass,

    Trader Bob was a great pick to defend your position. While I think he didn't know when to stop, let the team gel, I don't think he ever was just trading to trade, he just always found a better deal while he should have at some point say enough is enough for a while.

    As to the different thoughts alone draft, I agree with the big man backups, but I would go for a PG as long as it isn't a short PG, lets try a PG 6'4" or taller, back his man down, but has a outside shot. Also intially to backup Miller, it's not time to get rid of him.

    Oh, btw, back to Kass, that wasn't me that you replied to after a reply to your post about common sense.

    by mgb on 6/20/2011 8:58 PM
  38. Barring a highly unlikely blockbuster trade, I expect to see the same starting five that finished this season. With Wallace having a full season with the team and Matthews having another year's experience, I feel that unit will be improved. Of course, so much depends on them staying healthy!

    That said, our biggest improvement will (must!) come on the bench. If Greg Oden can come back strong and provide good minutes behind Camby (and eventually replace him in the starting five), that would make a huge difference. Another player who could make a huge difference is Nic Batum. If he can become a more assertive rebounder and more consistent with his outside shot, the bench suddenly becomes a winning edge for the Blazers.

    Others who could help are Brandon Roy, Patty Mills, Chris Johnson, and whoever we pick up in the draft or via free agency as a backup PF or PG. I still think BRoy can be a terrific spot up shooter in this league and, if that happens, it's goodbye to Rudy. Eliot Williams is still an intriguing possibility also.

    Given these possibilities, the team could show solid improvement without much turnover. That would be nice for a change.

    by dgpdx on 6/21/2011 2:29 AM
  39. @Don: Batum is our defensive glue guy along with GW and Matthews when all three are healthy. Batum and Matthews both had bad ankles last year so as you said lots depends on health.
    I think more important than Batum is Chris Johnson with a little wt added and a whole year. And of course until we get Greg back sometime between Nov and Jan or maybe later, I feel we need to draft or get a reliable back up center. I think Camby will be better this year with more time to recover from his knee injury, and the same for BRoy.
    With BRoy, it is finding a groove off the bench or maybe starting????? in a new role. Like you, I think he can be a terrific spot up shooter, he can still pass; it has been said with practice and his size he can post up smaller 2gds that would give his game the same dimension as beating them off the dribble used to do.
    It is being discussed that Rudy might need real prescription shooting goggles for his sight. That would be a help, but if like you said, BRoy materializes Rudy won't get much playing time, so I think we has until trade dead-line to find out both.
    Elliot Williams is much like a rookie which is coming into training camp and proving his worth. Although he is already signed and don't have to compete for a contract, It doesn't sound like he will settle for that. It was said that he is really a blue chip lottery pick that just slipped because of injury or as said in the recent rumor that the Blazers guaranteed him they would draft him if he quit going to try outs, Of course being a homer, I don't believe that for a second. Nevertheless, I am very excited about seeing him play; to bad they cancelled summer camp; that would have been a good place for him to start with getting his feet wet.
    I am hoping on Patty's development for a back up PG. he is fast, has more experience, great locker room nut and can shoot the outside shot, I at least hope it is him or Elliot as we need BRoy to go back to backing Matthews.
    Like you, it would be nice to see the team with little turn-over for a change.

    by Hg on 6/21/2011 5:04 AM
  40. Wow....lots of opinions, as usual :)

    I am most interested in what we do on Thursday, as I believe it will make the bigger picture more clear. Either they will draft to fill a need, which implies confidence in the current roster, or they will draft for best available, which implies a greater likelihood for trade scenarios. If they draft a PG, or trade up for one, that would seem to indicate Dre is expendable. If they draft a PF/C/Banger, then again, that would appear to indicate more of a "stand pat" position.

    I think the biggest questions are really about Dre and Greg though, neither of which will be addressed until after the draft. Yet one more reason to see it done!

    Btw, I am honestly doubting there will be an attractive clause in the new CBA that will allow the Blazers to unceremoniously dump Brandon Roy. And I will be hoping and praying against such a nauseating potentiality :)

    Can't wait to see the fallout from Thursday and June 30! (My birthday btw :P)

    by SisillaRiann on 6/21/2011 12:15 PM
  41. EA,

    I don't think the Blazers moving up to get a PG means that they will get rid of Miller,,,yet anyway. He will hopefully be the PG of the future, but he can learn under Miller for at least one year if not a few.

    Btw, my bday is July 1st.

    by mgb on 6/21/2011 1:35 PM
  42. mgb: first of all, yikes! what a screw up! my bad. anyway, as i stated, it wasn't so much the team who will trade just to trade, it's many fans on the message boards and blogs who are proposing we make any trade possible. again, as i stated.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 6/22/2011 7:51 PM
  43. Coach Nate has repeated his oft-stated desire for a veteran player or two over more youth. This points to the team trading their picks for a vet and being aggressive in the free agent market. If the team isn't going to go that way, what does that say about their commitment to Nate?

    Trading up to draft a higher rated prospect will cost the team at least one current veteran anyway, so why not just trade that guy plus the pick for a veteran we think will be a better fit?

    Rumor has is that Tony Parker is available. Between him and Andre, the point would in great hands and Nic Batum would have a good buddy and potential teacher on the squad.

    by dgpdx on 6/22/2011 10:49 PM
  44. I like that we're aiming at Tony Parker. Damn clever Spurs in pulling back trying to get rid of Jefferson. Hmmm. I have a feeling they want to make this deal, but are trying to get rid of Jefferson regardless. I think they'll make this deal i Portland looks elsewhere if they really do have interest in Andre Miller. Reverse psychology. I don't think the Spurs will get a better deal for Tony Parker than what they're getting from Portland.

    by Herr on 6/23/2011 1:58 AM
  45. @Don, TP would cost us Batum and Dre, If we took on Jefferson that would cost us Wallace, or Camby. That pretty much guts our team. If the Spurs retract Jefferson the deal might go through, but having Parker and Batum together would be my dream. Plus, I don't know if losing both Dre and Batum is worth it. I like TP, but I also like Dre and Batum.

    The choice is not mine, but I would just as soon let Dre grow old in Portland in about 5 years.

    by Hg on 6/23/2011 4:50 AM
  46. Keeeeep Dre .Look what J Kidd did.Lots of trade talk ,hope not ,I like our nucleus,unless we are trading for a vet:)

    by DowntownVinnie on 6/23/2011 6:00 AM
  47. @DowntownVinnie. See what you created with the Dre thing. A monster that is what, I am for keeping Dre also. Darn your hide--shame on you Ha Ha~!!!!!!!

    by Hg on 6/23/2011 6:21 AM
  48. parker is a guy that could really take us to another level but what the spurs want would leave us too thin and shallow with a big payroll. the spurs want too much. the one guy i'd like to see go is rudy. he does not produce and he wants more time. he's fragile both mentally and physically.

    by thedanman on 6/23/2011 7:54 AM
  49. i'm with Vinnie. Andre is three years younger and hasn't had the previous injury issues that Kidd has had. i wouldn't be adverse to extending his contract by a year with a team option beyond that. after all, he was the most consistent player we had.

    at this point in his career, what can Parker give us that we don't already have? he no longer has speed and there's no indication his career is going to last more than 4 years. that might be fine if we were looking for a quick resolution to the pg question. however, when we talk pgotf, aren't we talking longer than that?

    trading Nicolas for Parker doesn't help us in depth either. in fact, it will hurt our second unit not to have Nicolas there. if you think our second unit was weak in the playoffs, just imagine it without Nicolas.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 6/23/2011 9:57 AM
  50. EowynAmarie: happy birthday girl! how about for the occassion, the blazers draft a big guy they can actually use right away? if mine didn't fall within february, i would wish for that!

    Hg: TG is not related to me just because she had an insightful post. i happen to agree with her points as well. of course, the one thing i can't stress enough on this draft day: select a big. there should be a couple of centers around at #21, and how about one of these pf's at #51 who can step in and provide some depth behind LaMarvelous (saw that in a post the other day, and just had to use it!

    TG: the way i figure it, Nate has the two years on his contract to make something happen or it certainly could be time for a change in coaching. i know true fans in the BlazerNation don't complain about the injuries (or at least not dwell on them), but we still don't yet know wht Nate could do in the playoffs with a healthy roster. let's wait and see for a season or two.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 6/23/2011 10:26 AM
  51. Dre for Felton ...really:)

    by DowntownVinnie on 6/23/2011 6:13 PM
  52. I knew Rudy was on the chopping block,got to be consistent in this league potential doesn't win games.

    by DowntownVinnie on 6/23/2011 6:15 PM
  53. I knew Rudy was on the chopping block,got to be consistent in this league potential doesn't win games.

    by DowntownVinnie on 6/23/2011 6:15 PM
  54. Hey MGB,Good lordy mercy,you are a warrior:)

    by DowntownVinnie on 6/23/2011 7:01 PM
  55. I like it! We all pretty much agreed that PG and PF were our biggest needs and, if Raymond Felton really wants to play here, the PG problem is solved. This could turn out to be a brilliant move by Chad, et al.

    Now we must turn to free agents to find an inside banger to back up LA. SInce signing free agents is primarily a matter of money, it's up to Paul Allen to provide that piece for the team.

    We're still guard heavy tho, so some of last season's guards are not going to be around for next season. For example, there's obviously no room for both Mills and Johnson, and they may both be gone unless we carry six guards which is unusual. With Felton and Smith at the point and Matthews, BRoy, and Williams at the 2, there's five guards right there. Barring more trades, that position will have to work itself out in training camp. The fact that Williams can swing to the 3 makes him even more valuable.

    by dgpdx on 6/23/2011 9:46 PM
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