mikebarrett

Mar 15

A Day of Drastic Change

By mikebarrett



It was never supposed to be this way.  It wasn’t part of the plan, and it’s disappointing, frustrating, and difficult to deal with.

You know what else?  Tough.  That’s life.  You do the best you can with the situation and if it’s not going the way you like, you make changes.  Of course, it’s not that simple, and it’s not that easy, but identifying issues, and taking quick and decisive steps to correct a course, is a lot better than continuing to do things the same way and just hoping for different results.

Today, the Trail Blazers altered the road map, in a big way.  They burned it, as a matter of fact, and set a new course.  Point fingers and lay blame, or fix it and turn the page.

Good coaches, and good people lose their jobs.  One of the best people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, and working with, lost his today.

Nate McMillan is the one I feel badly for tonight.  But, even as I spoke to him at length in our hotel in Chicago, just hours after he learned he was being relieved of his duties, I realized that he understood what happened wasn’t totally his fault, and also I learned that he’s going to be just fine.  Always the class act, and always with a firm grasp of perspective, he talked of the past, of the original plan, and how it’s such a shame it all came to this.  But, he’s not bitter.  He’s disappointed, but not angry.

How did we get to this point, this quickly?  That’s what we’ve probably all asked ourselves as we’ve processed the events that went down.  I know Nate is thinking that.  He just simply never had the roster he was supposed to have. 

The trio of Roy, Aldrige, and Oden ended up playing just 76 games together.  They were 51-25, and were still in the early stages of finding their way around the league. 

When you think of the plan, it seemed so right and so bulletproof- the Big Three, and the coach who would lead this team up to, and perhaps through, a championship window.  Three of those four I just mentioned are no longer a part of the Blazer franchise.  Oden was waived today to clear up a roster spot.  Arrived with such an explosion, and now disappears into the wind.

The crazy part to realize is that the Trail Blazers lost Oden and Roy, and got absolutely nothing in return.  They just lost them, and everyone had to deal with the emotional scars.  This game can be cruel.

Now, the good news- nothing has burned to the ground, and despite every devastating body blow, the cupboard is far from bare.  That’s the beautiful part of today.

Short-term pain, for long-term gain.  You don’t want to hear that, and I’m right there with you.  But, what choice do we have?

Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby were two very popular, and at times, two very effective players.  They both were a part of the band-aid that attempted to cover the Oden and Roy wounds.  But, again, with an eye what’s best for the future, it’s time to move on.

A year ago, the Trail Blazers traded for Wallace.  So, fast-forwarding to today, in a year’s time, they took Joel Przybilla’s expiring contract and cashed it in for what should be a top-10 pick in a talented draft, with this pick they’re getting from New Jersey in today’s deal.  At the same time, they potentially took another chunk of money off of the books, and got themselves in a better position to strike in the free-agent market this summer. 

The Camby deal brings the Blazers a point-guard they’ve always wanted to test drive, in Jonny Flynn, and a project big man in Hasheem Thabeet.  (Crazy side note- Flynn was the 6th overall pick in the ’09 draft, and Thabeet went 2nd in that same draft).  The Blazers also got a second-round pick from Houston in the deal.  Camby, who loved his time in Portland, now gets to go to Houston and play, where he lives in the off season. 

Now then, there are still 22 games left to play.

Kaleb Canales steps in as the interim head coach of the Trail Blazers.  I’ve got a feeling he’s not going to sleep much tonight (not that he sleeps much anyway).  Canales could be one of the finest human beings I know.  You know, one of those people who when you hang around them you find yourself being a better person?  That alone doesn’t make you a good coach, of course, but Canales is also that.  The players love him, and respect him.

Canales has gone from unpaid intern as a video assistant, to interim head coach. No one is more deserving of a pat on the back.  But, don’t try and give him one.  He’s fiercely loyal, and I promise you isn’t looking at this as a promotion.  The people who have compared him to Miami’s Erik Spoelstra are on to something.  They are cut from the same cloth, took the same paths, and he and Canales even look like they could be brothers.

This summer the Blazers will have their own first-round pick, New Jersey’s (as long as it’s not 1-3), Minnesota’s second-round pick, and their own second-round pick.  They’ll also be about $20 million bucks under the salary cap, and can be a major player in the free-agent market.  That’s the plan.

No one feels sorry for you, so it’s a waste of time to linger in the past.  Learn and move on.  Again, it’s not that easy, but that’s what today was all about. 


Previous Story: Run Down in Indy

51 Comments

  1. Well, we needed to do something. I feel uneasy that we now don't have a GM or coach and listening to Larry tonight they feel no pressure to get either.
    I fear we are a ship without a rudder.

    by Ancientone on 3/15/2012 8:51 PM
  2. Mike: I have been waiting all day for you to blog. I thank you sir for making me feel better. I am still confused as to what happened. It has been said on many of the blogs and in your last blog comments that there was a silent mutiny going on against Nate. I know you can't and won't comment on that and I won't ask you about it, but that is what has been upsetting me. If Nate knows it wasn't his fault, and he is going to be OK. that makes me feel better.

    Sarah, said on her and Adams show that she was alright with whatever it takes to make it better. That is my new motto. In fact, I am looking forward to watching tomorrow's night game, not without Nate, but to see if getting the dead line out of the way will help the players find their way again.

    I don't supposed you could give me a sneak preview of who is starting tomorrow night. I am sure it will be Matthews and Jamal will come off the bench at the two and Nic will go back to the three. but how about PG. since we are building for the future and the Front Office tried to shop Raymond but could get no takers is there a chance of Flynn to play or start. I am not usually to upset with players, but being a true homer, if I had the power, I would set Felton on the end of the bench and let him rot until the season was over, I wouldn't buy him out, I wouldn't Waiver him, I would just put him on the end of the bench and make him suffer like he did us fans.

    Sorry, getting carried away. thanks again for the blog. I needed that.

    by Hg on 3/16/2012 4:39 AM
  3. Mike, you couldn't have said it better! thanks.

    by sudelander on 3/15/2012 8:56 PM
  4. hg,

    I don't think what we've witnessed has been anything like a mutiny. I certainly never got that feeling. Frustrated players, lacking confidence, and perhaps veteran players who don't often respond well to a strong hand maybe, but it wasn't a conspiracy. Everyone responds differently to adversity, and I can't say that I've like the way these guys have responded at all times. But, nothing more sinister than that.
    As far as starters, I'd think Felton, Matthews, Batum, LA, and Przybilla, if I had to guess. I don't know when Flynn will join the team, but don't think it'll be by tomorrow. I do understand your frustration with the Felton situation.

    by mikebarrett on 3/15/2012 9:01 PM
  5. I'm tired of the sugar coating. The events of today were bad for the team and the fans. They are yet another in a series of poor decisions made over the last 2 - 3 years. I am not a fan today. We'll see how I feel as the deadline to renew season tickets approaches. I suspect the last home game this season will be my last as a season ticket holder. I have better things to invest my money and time in.

    by sporfrog on 3/15/2012 9:03 PM
  6. This is not a new chapter about to begin for the Blazers. This is a new book. So many things are different.
    First of all we need to thank Nate for what he did here. I wish him well as a coach and a person. He will have more success in the league. He did well in Portland but I do believe his time ran out.
    I don't want to comment on the players we traded for, the players we didn't trade or the players we won't trade. I need time to absorb all this.
    This team is like an avalanche, when it reaches the bottom of the hill (not there yet, still sliding) I hope we have a GM in place to help dig people out.
    Thanks for the blog Mike. Keep up the good work.

    by Divotking on 3/15/2012 9:09 PM
  7. Ok, this had been a hard day for me to follow and I was looking forward to your take on it, MB. I have questions, though. Why didn't we trade the two Smith's, Thomas,Felton Williams and Crawford? Why have we gone all year with an interim GM? And, now we have an interim coach? And, how culpable do you think that Paul Allen is in all this?
    I will miss Nate, terribly, and still love LA, Nick, and Joel and Wes, but I'm not going to another game this year! I'm not that dumb!

    by kaemicha on 3/15/2012 9:32 PM
  8. Mike thank you for your response, If you feel there was no mutiny then that is good enough for me.

    Divotking, I said in Mikes last blog that you need to get a shovel and start digging LOL.

    Sparfrog: the Blazers are trying to make it better, hang in there and see what happens.

    by Hg on 3/15/2012 9:37 PM
  9. Sparefrog:
    other than the firing of Nate i think who we traded today was the right move their are a few more i would have like to see moved but it is what it is. Wallace was not going to stay here and Camby is at the end of his career and i am glad he gets to probably retire in his home town. Not that what i say matters all that much but i do see things getting better next yea.

    MB:
    Nice post I like Hg ave been waiting all day. It has been a busy day on the web page probably spent more time on it today than i ever have. I wasn't shocked to here Nate lost his Job but i do not agree with it. Years after Rick A left i waited for a good coach to come along i saw coaches come and go, and then came Nate he was a stand up guy and a no non since coach just what we needed.
    I am excited to see if Johnny Flynn can play i know he has been a bust to this point. But maybe in the right system he can flourish look at Jeremy Linn not trying to say he as that ability but maybe a hidden treasure there. Hasheem Thabeet don't know what to think about this guy he 7'3 and athletic maybe Buck can work with him. Okur and The other guy i assume we will not see any of.
    Mike let Nate know if you talk to him his services here did not go one noticed and i for one will miss him.

    HG: I would rather have Felton Gone I dont agree with J quick on much but i do think this guy is a cancer in the locker room. I could even see the frustration on Lamarcus face last game. So i do not want him on our bench. I wished he would have gone but like i said before it is what it is. I am glad Jamal didn't go simply because he chose Portland and he has skills. Sorry for the long post alot to think about today.

    by Avgjoe28 on 3/15/2012 10:07 PM
  10. Good blog Mike, but we got Houston's pick, not Minnesota's, unless I missed something.

    It was something I wanted. I thought (and still think) we needed a coaching change. I think we needed to rebuild and start over. Now that it's the truth, it feel like getting a hit by a truck that has "Reality" written on the side of it. Wow. It's what this team needs, even though it's sad, but damn, did it surprise me. I really didn't think Nate would go this soon. I didn't think Gerald Wallace would be traded and Jamal Crawford/Raymond Felton wouldn't be. It's amazing what this league and business can do to you.

    It's a bitter sweet day. Felt like a burden was lifted from my shoulders, especially with Oden. I started off posting on these blogs disagreeing with people about Nate and Oden, until it finally hit me that these guys were likely done, and not bringing what we wanted. I started off this season thinking this was the season. I wrote blogs starting off with, "Now that Portland is a championship caliber team...". But to be here, in rebuilding mode, again, forcing ourselves to turn the page and forget the past, again, and moving forward, looking for a bright future, full of gambles, once again, again...

    It's going to be hard, cheering against the Blazers. Absolutely no hate here, but the playoffs are done. Many said this was the make or break trip. It was the break. The team is done. Likely the only two guys a year from now to be on the roster still are Batum and Aldridge. Hopefully we'll be looking at a new, young point guard or center that remains healthy. Maybe questioning what we're going to have to do to get back in the playoffs. Or, maybe we'll be sitting at 20 wins and below .500

    That's the scary thing about playing the Blazers game. It could be so rewarding, or you could end up even worse off, regretting the deals you made.

    I think it's obvious at this point the players the Blazers acquired today will never wear a Portland jersey. So, how do we get a guy like Deron Williams? Or do we go after multiple free agents that aren't big names but can help this team? The Blazers have tons of questions to answer before next season... our real future. It's going to be a tough ride.

    It's over. Time to turn the page. Time to start over. I wish everyone that left us today the best. Especially Nate.

    Now the main question is... do we root for or against the Blazers? No one likes losing. I sure as hell don't. But, the more losses we have the high chance we get a top 3 pick along with a top 15 with New Jerseys, hoping that they won't get the top 3.

    It's a new era in Blazers basketball. Let's raise our glasses and pray this one has the fortune the previous one didn't.

    by Herr on 3/15/2012 10:12 PM
  11. hg, please enlighten me. I've noticed a LOT of hate for Felton. Did he say something negative? Or are people taking the Blazers bad decision to trade Andre for him and blaming him for it? He's been playing bad, I understand the frustration. But people are hating on him more than they hate on Greg Oden, who was never with the team, never played a game, was out partying while games were going on, and doing nothing with the fans or anything like that. Felton's with the team and is out there playing. He just doesn't fit. He's a good player, just not this season. I watched him a lot when he was in New York. He scored a triple double at one point. It sounded like a good pickup, but things went horribly wrong. But can we place blame on him?

    Gerald Wallace was inconsistent. LaMarcus turned off once he became an All-Star. Camby was out there giving his all but he can't score ever so he sure as hell couldn't carry the scoring load. Wesley and Batum have been no where since the All-Star break. Felton's been the only Blazer to really improve in that time. Crawford doesn't bring the scoring load we thought he would. Joel was a reliability. Nate still refused to play the bench.

    What I don't get is everyone seems to be pinning this on Felton. It's all their faults. This team played like poop spelled backwards. You lose to 42 by one of the worst teams in the league (yes, the Knicks are terrible). That's not Felton's fault, and shouldn't be pinned on him.

    So I'd like to ask you and anyone that's aware of any situation, what did Felton do or say to get all this hate? Is it just his bad play? Because the entire teams been playing terrible after going 7-2 to start the season.

    by Herr on 3/15/2012 10:21 PM
  12. First off, I also extend my best wishes to Nate. He's a quality person even if not the right coach for this team.

    It easy to like the flexibility these moves give us in the draft and in free agency, but we've been down this path a few times already with not much but disappointment to show for it. We need to get a full-time staff in place before the draft. If that means it's Buchanan and Canales, then dammit Mr. Allen, say so! The time for decisive action is now. If we blow this opportunity like some in the past, Blazermania may fade again as in the Jail Blazer days.

    Let's hope the Fail Blazer era is a very short one.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 3/15/2012 10:22 PM
  13. Hi MB--

    Well, the only surprise is that they didn't fix what was most broken, but I guess it takes more than one day to blow up a team with contracts what they are. I do have to chastise you a little bit for not once but twice mentioning the "2011-12 Portland Trail Blazers" and "Playoffs" in the same breath during the telecast of the epic massacre in NYC. Fortunately somebody on Pinwheel was quick to post up a link for Jim Mora's classic "PLAYOFFS?!?!?! YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS?!?!??!?" rant and that made it all better...

    The Blazers have traded their starting Center and Crash Wallace for (a) An oft-injured jump-shooting Center that has been in civvies for the better part of this year; (b) a poor-shooting Minnesota Timberwolves PG reject; (c) the worst Top 2 Center pick of this Century (yes, I know the other one); and (d) a guy that's probably never going to play. So — they have been horrible and now they are worse. Please don't paint a happy face on this, it's all about shuffling salary and picking up a draft pick for a complete rebuild.

    This crew at Chicago Bulls? At OKC Thunder?

    I'm calling - 87 combined.

    I don't envy your job. Just be realistic with what's going on here — GM Paul Allen is taking the sledgehammer to the walls. He hasn't built a thing yet. I sure hope he can sell Joel Freeland on the idea that the time is now...

    by Carrite on 3/15/2012 10:24 PM
  14. @Herr: I think much of the hate for Felton is frustration for him not being the PG we expected given his past performance. For my part, I don't care for his attitude either on court or off. He carries himself in a kind of arrogant, chip-on-the-shoulder way. Not knowing him personally, I may be all wet here, but just can't shake that negative feeling about him as a teammate.

    Felton said after two excellent performances lately that "I'm back," then he lays another foul-smelling egg against the Knicks. I don't see him as a long-term PG solution for the team.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 3/15/2012 10:29 PM
  15. One more thought: Nate was always complaining that he had too many young guys making rookie mistakes and not enough veterans. Then he got his fondest wish, a team full of guys who were already paid and not really into that playing hard thing. Defense is hard work, after all. Be careful what you wish for.

    Now it's an interim team playing for an interim coach under an interim GM.

    So much for the vaunted PTB stability. That left with KP, that was the turning point, not the injuries...

    by Carrite on 3/15/2012 10:29 PM
  16. @Carrite: Yep, bring back Rick Adelman and Kevin Pritchard. I'd love to see what they could do in this year's draft and free agent market.

    by dgpdx on 3/15/2012 10:31 PM
  17. @Carrite again: As for trading Wallace, his contract gives him the option of staying next season and it was becoming clear that there was no way he was going to stay in Portland. Better to get something for him now than lose him for nothing after the season.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 3/15/2012 10:38 PM
  18. @Herr, I believe we technically got Minnesota's pick via Houston. Houston had the rights to it and moved it to us. (According to a few Google searches the pick is for #31-55 and if the pick is higher than 55 we lose it.)

    by sarahhecht on 3/15/2012 10:39 PM
  19. @Herr. >>It's going to be hard, cheering against the Blazers. Absolutely no hate here, but the playoffs are done.

    It's actually kind of hilarious good fun. I mean, this team is reeeeeeeaaaaaalllly bad. Usually a team plays good on one end of the floor at least; PTB are about the worst team at closing on perimeter shooters I've ever seen and their shooting percentage speaks for itself. So embrace the horribleness! I totally understand the fans of the 1962 Mets now... HOW will they screw up next?!?! Will Fatty Felton dribble it off his foot or throw an oop to an invisible cutter or just chuck up another brick? Bet with you friends, every possession is an adventure!!!

    by Carrite on 3/15/2012 10:39 PM
  20. Wow..what a day,MB.Say what you will about Crash ,I think he was the one player who looked like he cared.......So ,I'm bummed about that...

    I think with the course the team was going in ,Nate was no longer getting them to play for him.Sad as it was...It was probably time for a change....Personally, I respect Nate and what he's done with all the injuries.
    Look what happen to the Knicks after their coaching change.....I know what they are trying to do for next year ,but just didnt think Paul Allen was a
    "Blow it up" kinda guy,Guess I was wrong.
    Ia m not suprised a change happened,I was expecting heads to roll,we were tankin,hard. Better Days:)
    Hope our ragtag Blazers can play with some fire and fimish respectfully...

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/15/2012 11:01 PM
  21. I too think Paul Allen should not be let off the hook. It is easy to blame Nate but really this is an investment for PA and he should treat it that way. Since he is not long on basketball wizardry, he should get the best people for each of the vacant positions and let them do their jobs. IMHO, letting go of KP was a huge mistake. And filling his shoes has proven even more difficult. PA is very much responsible for the attitude outsiders have of Portland, its management, coaches and team. It's time he treat his investment wisely.

    That said, I am so very sorry to see Gerald go. He has been a spark for this team. I wish Nate the best. He helped this franchise in an even sorrier time. He is a class act and will land on his feet.

    I remain a TB fan.

    by allie-oop on 3/15/2012 11:20 PM
  22. I have to say that I've been waiting to hear from you or Mike Rice. What you have said makes me feel a bit better about today's events, however I'm saddened to see Marcus and Gerald leave our team. They were great to have and seemed to fit in well with the team. I feel that maybe some of the trades were done in haste, as I felt that they should never have traded Andre, but the past is the past and as you say, look to the future. I've always been a blazer fan, and I hope to remain one, only time will tell. Changes of this sort, done so quickly (although I could see it coming for Nate, sad as it is), can leave people with no confidence in the management behind the team. I hope that it works out better then it has in the past. Its alot to take in and I think it will take a bit to have it sink in that the players and coach that I loved are not here.

    One more thing.. blaming Nate for all the issues was unfair, but thats how its done in sports.. have seen it time and time again. I felt that all the changes this season, the shortened season with games back to back to back had a lot to do with the problems the team has been facing. Our team was basically unable to really get enough practice in to become a true TEAM. New players coming in, from day one, and so many games, it was bound to finally be too much for everyone. I hope Nate goes forward and shows what a truly wonderful coach he is with another team. I wish him all the best.

    by jewelsmom on 3/16/2012 12:59 AM
  23. Avgjoe28: I was getting a lot of feed from Blazer Edge about a silent mutiny going on against Nate. It was brought up with Nate being gone, Felton and Jamal stayed so they won, much like Anthony winning in NY. As horrible as Felton has been playing it seems as he wants a buy out or a waiver, and I am against giving him either. He made his bed, so let him sleep in it; I do agree that Felton is a cancer in the locker room and on the floor; dropping him would do me good also. If he comes out and plays like a champ after getting Nate fired, how is that going to look for BlazersFanDome.

    Herr:
    The above was part of the reason that I am down on Felton; Mike assured me there was not a mutiny going on, but I still can't believe Felton went from a almost All-Star caliber PG to the worst PG as some said in the century, by just having a bad year. I am not happy or sad that Nate was let go, this is the NBA, and you could expect it. And relating to what Sarah said on her show, anything that will make it better. but I just feel that Felton was the catalyst for the whole downward trend.
    That is my hatred for Felton. It could be unjustified, but frustration does many things to the mind.

    by Hg on 3/16/2012 4:36 AM
  24. I am not thinking that starting tonight we will be magically a new and better team, in fact I feel it maybe just the opposite.

    I am looking forward with hope, that the team gets their zest back and plays like a team now that the trade deadline is over.

    Although I still have vengeance in my heart, I hope I am wrong about Raymond, and he comes out and plays like a PG. Because wheather I like his play or not he is still a Blazer.

    I know the season is looking like it is shot, and it is hard for LMA, Batum and Wesley to keep their heads in the game on a losing track, but I have hope that the bench gets more time on the floor. Speaking of which, E Williams sure got injured at the wrong time. The next 22 games would do him a world of good.

    All in All I am not looking for wins to pile up, I am looking for the old fire in the players returning. I have always felt that you can play your heart out, as in the last OKC game and still come up short, but if you play with dignity and play the best you can on that given night, then what goes around comes around and we will start winning some of those close games, but to quit is just not in my vocabulary. What I am optimistic about is the franchise has made a statement of what the new plan is and we can only go from here, and hopefully the team will play and work together TO MAKE IT BETTER

    by Hg on 3/16/2012 4:56 AM
  25. i think nate's time was done and him moving on was the best thing but i'm sad it went down this way. as much as his coaching style annoyed me i really respected his professionalism and hard work. i believe he is an excellent coach in emphasizing fundamentals. i won't forget how he helped restore our reputation.

    letting camby and wallace go were good moves too in exchange for youth and future cap space.

    hg, i'm totally with you. let felton ride the pine and let's see what the young ens can do. we're basically back to doing what we did with implementing pritchard as a coach. evaluate talent and make a plan this summer. it's an awesome idea but..... mr. star treck will blow it. something will get started, the ball will be rolling, and then allen will walk in and screw it all up.

    things are definitely interesting now. blazer basketball will be fun to watch again. we have no expectations. this will be refreshing. good luck to caleb. i hope the best for him.

    go blazers!

    by thedanman on 3/16/2012 6:06 AM
  26. thedanman:
    I just read on BE, that we should put Felton on injured reserve and send him home. he won't fester the team anymore that way and we won't have to be reminded of what he has done to this franchise. That would be better then leaving him on the bench maybe. But again, I would like to see the agony of winning on his face. He is surely aware that he is a Blazer because the FO couldn't pay another team to take him.

    by Hg on 3/16/2012 6:50 AM
  27. Everybody:

    I apologize for being so negative about any Blazer player after all the fighting I have done to treat them fair, I know that it is just my anger, and it will pass, but I just can't get over the fear that Raymond has just under minded all the things the Blazers fought to do to right the ship after Bonzi and Miles. In fact I put Felton in the same class as Miles and Bonzi.

    As I said I apologize for my negativity, If I have nothing good to say, I should be quiet.

    by Hg on 3/16/2012 6:57 AM
  28. I had already bought good seats for two more games this season, against two of my other favorite teams to watch, Golden State and Minnesota. Looking forward to those games even more now that there's a good chance of seeing some of the youngsters getting more minutes, and maybe the entire team playing with more enthusiasm and fire in their bellies.

    With Wallace gone, Batum will most likely return to the starting SF job, which could put Elliot Williams into the rotation as backup SG. Next year, he can battle Wes Matthews for the starting spot. That trade also seems to elevate Luke Babbitt into the backup SF job. Looks like his shooting has finally come around in actual games.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 3/16/2012 8:22 AM
  29. I've made some pretty negative posts on here lately, as it's hard not to be negative when this team has been on such a downward spiral. But here's my thoughts on the trades and nate firing, and they aren't all bad:

    1. Nate firing: It had to be done. It was obvious from watching the team in the huddle (particularly during the NY game that nobody was paying attention to him. The biggest problem this team has, from the front office on down is lack of leadership. Which leads to my next point...

    2. Marcus Camby trade: The only reason I can see for us doing this deal was trying to unload an aging center and clear cap room. We got some really untested players; essentially rookies who put up decent numbers for the minutes they have played, but were likely garbage time minutes; and a second round (read developmental league caliber player) draft pick. For one of the few guys who we could rely on to rebound and block shots. Ouch. To make it worse we lost a very respected guy in the locker room, a veteran presence for our younger guys (which we are soon to have a lot of) to learn from. Definitely need to make waves in the free agent market this summer to fill this void.

    3. GW trade: I really liked him. But he wasn't happy here. Why would he be? He's a competitor. And competitors don't like losing. And his play definitely reflected that. Here I think we actually came out ahead. We got a solid center and a very solid draft pick (Shawne Williams will likely ride the pines and get traded in the offseason) for a guy who was likely going to walk in the offseason anyway.

    This is definitely shaping up to be a very interesting off-season for the Blazers, even if the rest of this season is in the tank. That being said we desperately need to get a GM in here before draft day. Preferably one who knows how to develop through the draft. Then we need to focus on getting a coach in here who is good at player development, which Nate was terrible at doing. Paul Allen needs to take more of a hands-off approach, but be willing to open up the checkbook when a good opportunity arises. I say this because in the past Paul Allen's desire to have more than normal control of team decisions has chased off or scared away good GM's. Then draft a good 3 (unless i'm missing something we only really have Batum), another 4 to relieve L.A. and find a good point guard on the free-agent market.

    Here's hoping next season turns out better

    by soulseeker on 3/16/2012 9:27 AM
  30. I made a few observations in my mind that I'd like to share with you, my fellow Blazer Fans, but I'll share now what I think about Nate:

    I don't like coach Nate being fired. But I can understand that. I can't go with those who say "Nate overachieved with last couple years (battling injuries and whatnot), but he's not a championship caliber coach, he's not our future, he can't do nothing else but to put a broken team to play and get good but not great results". He's a very very good coach, and I hope he finds a better place to coach now, and WIN. He has love for the Blazers (or else he wouldn't be 7 1/2 years here), put us out of the Jail Blazers era, is respected league-wide and is even one of the USA Basketball coaches. He surely could win a championship here, given the tools to do so.

    So, goodbye Nate, you should've been Coach of the Year at least once in this span with the Blazers, but I hope that you can still achieve a lot of things in your career. For us Blazers, it's time to rebuild, and it's time to change, so.. I kind of understand why Nate "had" to be fired, despite (as Mike said) "not being his fault".

    by Tiago Torigoe on 3/16/2012 9:44 AM
  31. In addition to the Blazer news, I heard yesterday that a TV drama I had been watching had been cancelled. It was an absorbing show, with some great performers, and I was looking forward to seeing how the plotlines unfolded. But it was set in the world of horse racing, and since filming had begun three of the horses had died. One had broken a leg while running, and another freakishly reared up and hit its head. PETA was making a stink, but it looks like the rash of hurt animals was mostly just a run of bad luck. It was still the reason, or the excuse for the series' cancellation. Ironic, because the name of the series was "Luck." I couldn't get the parallel to the Blazers out of my mind as I absorbed Nate's departure, and Oden's too. There was talent, a great concept, success in building toward a goal, and then injuries struck, and struck again, and eventually it was all too much. Luck plays a big role in close games, and the Blazers lost too many of those early this season, when the new players needed to get on board with Nate's leadership. There have been plenty of questionable decisions by the organization as things started to go south, and some of us have complained about them at great length. But I ask you, pick any franchise that has won a championship during the seven years of Nate's tenure, and ask which of them could have survived the loss of two of the three key players on the team. Do the Celtics win if you randomly hobble two of their big three? How about you take away Gasol or Kobe from the Lakers? It's sad, but it's how the world is, although some people insist on believing that hard work solves everything. Hard working race-horses break down sometimes, and while you can second-guess your pick of the horse, if everything that happens in that world was predictable, no one would watch horse races.
    It won't be easy to watch the rest of the games this season. It's always more fun to combine having something to cheer about right now with something to hope for in the future. For now we just have our future hopes, and those have been dashed a lot and feel pretty fragile. But yesterday's moves seemed pretty reasonable, given where we are. You can't keep a coach the players have been tuning out. You can't rest your hopes on older players who won't be around for long. You need draft choices and the ability to make some deals. I expect that I'll get what I've been wishing for: a chance to see whether the young players have some untapped ability. Of course, with Eliott hurt, and Chris and and Armin waived, that now just means a longer look at Nolan and Luke, whose best-case upside is probably just to be solid subs. I can't get too attached to most of the new players, because there's little evidence the team plans to keep them around after this year. And we've still got Raymond to kick around; I wonder if that frustration will become less violent now that there's no good reason to fret about losing? Maybe I'll relax and just make a game of trying to guess which part of his team-mate he'll pass the ball off next: ankle? knee? head? I'll just do what it takes to try to stay engaged during the long wait to see what kind of team will emerge by the start of next season.

    by Islander on 3/16/2012 9:45 AM
  32. Just a second, quick observation:

    I liked the trades, both of them. We got flexible, we can test Thabeet and Flynn (who knows they work out right?), and if we are not pleased with them, we dump them. Okut and Williams are hurt, I guess, and will be dumped at the end of season. So... we will have a lot of flexibility and good draft picks (hoping that NJN gets 4th 5th or 6th pick), for Gerald (who would leave anyways) and Camby (I'm sorry, but we had to do this).

    Waiving Oden and Johnson was necessary, so let's move on and bet that Blazers can score BIG on both the draft and free agency. We'll rebuild fast, I assure you, my fellas.

    (Just need a REAL GM and coach, not interim ones) Don't give up, please. We have a nice streak of sellouts on Rose Garden. Let's show we support the Blazers and understand that, despite management errors here and there, bad luck struck us many many times, and despite that, we kept going with our heads up high. I don't live in the US, but I would go to every home game for the Blazers if I were from Portland. Hope more people still thinks as I do.

    by Tiago Torigoe on 3/16/2012 9:55 AM
  33. some additional thoughts after reading more comments on here:

    Re Felton: I think we Nate gone we'll likely see a different player than we saw up to this point, especially if they let Felton go out and play his way, which worked for him on other teams.

    I am curious to see what untapped potential the blazers have deep on the bench. I liked what I saw from Nolan Smith and Craig smith. I was disappointed when the blazers let Armon Johnson go. And I'm hoping Flynn and Thabeet get a little playing time for us this season to show us what they can do. This season's cooked, so what's the harm in letting the young guys play?

    by soulseeker on 3/16/2012 10:00 AM
  34. Besides an awesome fanbase,What does PDX have to offer a major free agent? Matter of fact, when was our last Big free agent signing ? I'm just sayin , gang.
    I'm just talking about history.

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/16/2012 10:22 AM
  35. Flynn could.be a player,Thabeet is Manute Bol without the talent... think Craig Smith has been underused by Nate,looking forward to him getting more minutes..We are buying out Shawne Williams I think....Maybe we will pick up Patty.....just a thought.................Bottom line , it wasn't working.....Had to shake it up ,still... kinda rough:) onward ,tho:)

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/16/2012 11:06 AM
  36. Derek Fisher ? anybody?LOl

    by DowntownVinnie on 3/16/2012 11:06 AM
  37. What a depressing year! I have never seen a team quit trying so fast. I have not seen Felton begin to show the chops of an NBA point guard. Is it lack of focus or system, I can't tell. He sure did not fit with the old Blazers. Plays were not initiated with speed and precision as they must be at this level. Remember Steve Blake and how he initiated the offense and, by the way, played defense.

    Ah well, good luck Blazers whoever you are, just play like you want to win every day, all day.

    by dguyer on 3/16/2012 11:09 AM
  38. @Downtownvinne

    Sometimes a loyal fanbase is enough for a player. Plus Portland isn't a horrible place to live, all things considered. But I hear you. It's hard to lure good free agents here with a franchise that's in as much disarray as this one is. Just ask the Oakland Raiders.

    The last really epic free agent signing the Blazers pulled off was, I think, Buck Williams (as a player). Maybe Scottie Pippen. Can't remember if we signed them as free agents or acquired them in trades. Either way, you're right...it has been a loong time. And let's not forget that the Blazers in those days were a deep playoff caliber team. This current team isn't. But there's always hope, right?

    Derek Fisher would be an awesome pick up. Would he come here? Nope. Never. Too many teams have more to offer him. Same thing with all the talk of trying to get Steve Nash. Never gonna happen. Just sayin'.

    by soulseeker on 3/16/2012 11:51 AM
  39. I just heard a horrible rumor and I need assurance that this is completely false. Someone I know who knows someone on the inside of the organization just told me that Paul Allen has apparently taken steps to move the team to Seattle!! Please say it isn't so!

    by Jonsey86 on 3/16/2012 12:03 PM
  40. WHOA ! Talk about mutiny ! I am truly disappointed to see so many people throwing temper tantrums on the blog here.

    " I have better things to invest my money in." Uh ... no you don't. But who cares? Your obviously not a real fan anyway.

    "I'm not going to another game this year. I'm not dumb." Yeah ... your pretty dumb if you think that ..... Grrr nevermind!

    All of you whiners who are giving up on the team because management made decisions that you disagree with, should turn in your Blazer fan cards immediately. It's likely that none of you could manage your way out of a wet paper bag, or a have the nerve to put yourselves on the line by making multi million dollar decisions. But suddenly you know what's best for the future of an NBA franchise ?? .... WHAT?

    Ok ... The fairweather fan band wagon is all warmed up and waiting for you. Hop on in and please don't come back.

    There ya go Barrett. You probably wanted to say something like this to those (apparently) former fans .... but because of your job, you really can't. So there it is ! Courtesy of me.

    by Greg Young on 3/16/2012 12:31 PM
  41. Well said Greg! The only posts I take with a grain of salt are the ones that I know watch, listen to or attend every game and are "true" blazers fans. There is actually one person on this site that doesn't even watch, listen to or attend games at times but yet he is the first to blog or write something about it!!! Just freaking amazing...

    by daddylogan on 3/16/2012 12:57 PM
  42. @ Jonsey66

    While this wouldn't be as out-there as some rumors I've heard, I don't think there's any truth to it either. Allen still has a lot of money tied up in the RG, and thus so do the Blazers. I don't think they're moving anytime soon. Not to mention that they've been advertising heavily on selling season tickets for next year. They wouldn't do that if the team was going to move.

    by soulseeker on 3/16/2012 1:40 PM
  43. I did not really find out about all the moves the team made yesterday until I got out of school. I guess I was shocked at first but taking into account that most of these moves were made to set us up for the off-season it made more sense. I really liked Camby and Wallace so that hurt. i keep thinking about how different our team is going to look next year. it's kind of exciting but also kind of sad.

    I am not surprised Coach was fired. I like him and I like what he did to pull us out of the cellar. but it was time to make a change. I said last time that I don't blame him for this season. I know there are a lot of other reasons why we haven't done so well this season. I just don't think he was going to be the one to fix the problems. I am also guessing that it did not come as a surprise to him because of the things which were happening. I read a nice story about Kaleb Canales. I am glad he's getting a chance to show what he can do even if it is just for the rest of the season.

    by Angi on 3/16/2012 2:12 PM
  44. We have already renewed our season tickets for next season and will continue to support the team. I have decided to look on the next season or two as growing years and look forward to watching the Blazers once again grow into a championship caliber team. I will not turn my back on them..and i hope to still see the Rose Garden filled to capacity with loyal fans!!

    by TeddiBell on 3/16/2012 2:13 PM
  45. Sad to see GW and Camby go, but we all seem to realize that things have got to change. Interesting moves. Be interesting to see how it all unfolds. Hopefully it will turn out good for once and all the Blazers' haters and doubters will end up wrong for a change. All the best to Nate. Seemed like a good guy and though I didn't like his choices as a coach very often I certainly do not blame him for all of this. Everyone is to blame (except Joel who just came back into the mess) and everyone left needs to fix it. Here is hoping that is what we see.

    And as far as the moving the team to Seattle. If that is true, Paul Allen is a terrible ungrateful person. Blazers' fans may get upset and loud when things get bad, but they are still loyal. The best, loudest, most supportive fans are in the RG, Portland, and all over Oregon if Paul abandons that he is a fool. It probably is not true, but I still had to say something about that.

    by Niki C on 3/16/2012 3:52 PM
  46. Make that two days of drastic change! What a difference a little confidence makes.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 3/16/2012 7:21 PM
  47. @islander: Luck was cancelled! Damn! I hate the thought of horses being injured but it was turning into a captivating series.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 3/16/2012 7:25 PM
  48. dgpdx;
    A lot to be said about - post head coach firing- energy. It may be fools gold but at least it is gold in color. I was so in need of a win.

    by Divotking on 3/16/2012 7:50 PM
  49. I'm going to vent and let out my frustrations because we all need a moment to be sad and real angry at what has taken place over the past couple of years. First off I really regret waiving Oden. That's just me, don't come at me with all these counter arguments. But hear this.. what if he becomes the monster we saw him in 21 games of that 2009-2010 season. I looked back at those 21 games and I saw so much promise. What if all of a sudden he never gets injured again for another team and is like Shaq for the future? If I were a manager i'd plan on keeping him til his demise like Roy. I mean it's your #1 pick, it's your big man. I know i sound like i woke up the night after Oden went down but it can't end like this really? For anyone out there saying "look at this guy, venting wasting time and wasting our time" but i feel like HG right now and we should all be if were passionate. As fans we should be distraught at how everything just fell apart.

    Looking at it now, I agree we shouldn't look to make a quick fix anytime soon like adding another GW or replacing Felton because i feel we'll just keep depleting. We need to build again, get another piece and maybe a couple of draft picks, build those around Batum, Aldridge and the rest of the guys. I want that (youngest team in the league and scary) feeling the media kept giving us again when we had the fresh legs of the like (outlaw, webster, fernandez, batum, all centered around not including Oden) Aldridge and Roy. We were supposed to win a championship early this decade. What happened? Time to weap a little, vent our frustations out right now because now's the best time and turn the page. I really hope if were going to start over, we don't start over all the way back when we brought in McMillan because nobody wants this team to sink to 21 wins next year. Rather we should backtrack to 2009 before all the injuries when we had this idea and let's just roll with it. With a little spice added (new coach and team philosophy.) So from that we need a GM, another key player along with Aldridge and a key big man! I'm thinking we can test-drive EW, and i'm hoping he's the one! but if it's him and Aldridge (I've also come to conclusion that Batum is going to be more of a Tayshaun Prince for his whole career, only good in many areas but will never elevate to that superstar status like Roy because I've been hearing ppl say that but please get it out of your head) then we need to add another big and build around these 3. It started with a win in Chicago tonight, let's do this!!!

    by Ballinrotation365 on 3/16/2012 8:33 PM
  50. I'll keep this short - it was a tough day to go through on Thursday, but more-so, the last few weeks. I hadn't been watching the games, but checking in with my fellow fans on Twitter, I could tell it was rough going on the court and that something needed to be done. I think it was better something happened now, rather than after the season. Thus, we can start re-focusing and getting that fresh start sooner. Since I'm late on this - tonight's win seems to have shown the change is what we needed - a new fresh outlook on things.

    On Oden - sad that he never got a chance to show what he could have developed into, but like you said, this game doesn't feel sorry for you. Wish him the best.

    by Anees on 3/16/2012 10:49 PM
  51. We can't change the past but I am glad we are moving forward rather then hoping for change from the inside.

    by mbmurr1 on 3/18/2012 8:56 AM
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