mikebarrett

May 01

Moving Right Along...

By mikebarrett
At times in the past the final few games of the regular season have been referred to as 'the calm before the storm.'  But, the storm we were talking about was the post season.  With the Trail Blazers being out of the race in the final weeks of this past regular season, the storm we started referring to involved the off season- the lottery, the draft, the free-agent signing period, and two very important hires that will be made by the team.

That's not to say that the final games of the season were meaningless, because they weren't. But, I can honestly say I was checking those last few off with big red Xs on my calendar.  I think that's understandable, given all that happened.

Mostly though it was because I started looking so forward to this summer of opportunity.  I know, that's what you say after a season like this one, and when you miss the playoffs you start to at least attempt to sell hope.  I don't mean that like it's a bad thing, even if others interpret it as a last resort.

The flight home from Utah following yet another loss in the closing seconds of a game wasn't as long as you would think.  Even if we weren't ramping up emotionally, anticipating the start of the playoffs, I think mentally we had all turned the page and were sensing some relief at getting the end of the regular season in the rearview mirror.  We were only doing that because we knew what could possibly happen in the next few months.

While it's true that the Trail Blazers don't totally control everything that's going to happen in the next stages of our off season, there is a controlled sense of optimism about what could happen. The potential of owning two lottery picks, along with being a major player in the free-agent market, has everyone excited.

While others are weighing in on who should stay and who should go from this current roster, my thoughts are elsewhere.  There are only a couple of decisions that have to be made concerning the players that finished the season with this team anyway.  We all know that major changes are coming.  That's the exciting part.

Before we even get to what might happen with the players, let's get to the other major developments that will happen before the roster is tweaked.  There will be a general manager in place, and there will be a head coach named, in that order, probably before we get to the decisions on players.

I know I come at this from a different place, but I always found it interesting when people would say things like, "Portland doesn't have a general manager," this past season.  Chad Buchanan has been around long enough, is talented enough, and has done enough to at least get some credit for having been on the job this past season.  He was handed a very tough situation, and then did his best to assemble a roster on the fly when this team's "Mr. Everything" retired on training-camp eve.  As we've said so many times before, this job was made even more difficult with the condensed camp that followed the lockout.  You don't replace Brandon Roy, and even the harshest critic would admit that.  So, with the days dwindling, and the season opener rapidly approaching, Buchanan and his staff did what they could to remedy the situation.

When the team won seven of its first nine games, and that included wins at Oklahoma City, and wins over the Sixers, Denver, Clippers, and Lakers, five playoff teams, it was easy to get excited.  But, as we know now, the optimism started to fade as the near-miss losses began to pile up.  

Being a team that goes from being an early-season contender to then being well under the salary cap, with a shot a two lottery picks, doesn't happen by accident.  This is where Buchanan hasn't gotten the credit he deserves at making some bold, creative moves that potentially could get this team flipped around quickly.

Not only did he help the team clean up the locker room, while shedding salary, but also acquired a trade exception from Houston that made it possible for the Trail Blazers to claim J.J. Hickson off waivers- a move that nearly went unnoticed at the time. But, as painful as the final month of the season was, can you imagine how it could have gone without Hickson?  Not only that, but the Trail Blazers will make Hickson a restricted free agent soon, and will have the opportunity to keep him.  Again, they picked up an asset, and did it without hindering their cap situation this summer.

The moves he's made, and the poise, class, and leadership he's shown in a very difficult situation, one he was tossed into, should at least get his resume tossed into the stack of candidates for the permanent job.  I don't know what his chances are to actually get the official job, but I know many around here would be more than content if that ends up being the case.  I actually think this should be looked at as a who-is-better-than-Buchanan job search.  If you land on someone you feel is head and shoulders above what Chad could bring, then do it.  And, he'd been fine with that.  He's told me as much.

Here's one thing I do know about the search- there are a ton of impressive candidates who are pounding on the door, never mind what some of the uneducated and cynical would have you believe.  There is hero potential here in Portland, given the opportunity this franchise has heading into this summer.  There's that, and then there's an owner who has shown an amazing commitment to putting a winning team on the floor- a guy who has always shown a willingness to spend whatever it takes to follow a blueprint.  People around the country get that, believe me. That's why the line of applicants outside Larry Miller's office is so long.

That brings us to the next coach of the Trail Blazers.  This line is forming as well, and you'd be pleasantly surprised to learn who has expressed major interest so far.  The last coach was here six and a-half years, and made a lasting impression on this fan base, and nationally.  The table was set for Nate McMillan, but fate conspired to poke major holes in the plan just as it appeared to be coming together.

Just as Buchanan was thrust into a situation he never expected, Kaleb Canales, the former unpaid intern, went from riding an exercise bike in our hotel in Chicago on the morning of March 15th, to a phone call telling him he was going to serve as the head coach.  Given the circumstances, Canales did himself proud.  

The players don't hire the head coach, as you know.  But, if they did, Canales would have already had the "interim" tag removed from his title.  With each passing interview, following the final meetings before scattering for the summer, the endorsements for Canales to get the gig were getting stronger and stronger.  I've never seen anything like it.  It's not because the players were angling to get a buddy selected, but because they had been around Kaleb long enough to know that he has an "it" factor when it comes to leading men.  Again, I don't know that he'll get the job, or even made it to the final cut, but he deserves a shot, just like Buchanan does.

General manager, head coach, point guard, center.  That's the order of business now for the Trail Blazers.  Yes, those are pretty important things in the NBA.  That's why this is exciting, and that's why we've labeled this the summer of opportunity.  You don't get chances like this, to build around an all-star player, along with some other solid pieces of a one-time contender, very often.  If the 2006 draft (Roy/Aldridge) was 1A as far as turning points go in a franchise's history, then this could be 1B, at least in the modern era.

It may not happen through the draft this time, as Buchanan has hinted strongly that Portland's picks (one or both) are definitely for sale, but things will happen.  The ball is certainly on the tee.

Let the storm begin.   

  

 

38 Comments

  1. Good to hear from you Mike. I'm interested to see what this team can do and what it will do. When everything went down in March, I felt like a burden was lifted off my shoulders. An era was complete, and it's time to move on. There is no more hoping that someone can play, or be healthy. It's time to start over, and that is going to be interesting. I'd be fine with who we get, as long as they are not two things. 1) A quitter. 2) A person like Jordan Hill/Ron Artest.

    I don't expect the playoffs next season, but you never know. Utah made it after all. It'll be fun being the underdogs again, and this team always seems to play better when they are the underdogs.

    by Herr on 5/1/2012 9:52 PM
  2. Hey Mike great to hear from you, thanks for the Blog. I got to see much of courtside and I read the transcript by Casey. that was a informative session and very helpful in my wondering mind. I know he said that they already have players in their sights and told you they couldn't talk to players, but agents are allowed to talk to the Blazers. Now I will go crazy, yes I know a short trip LOL, trying to figure out who the PG is; Of course D Williams would be the # 1 choice, if he opts out. but New Jersey still thinks they can persuade him to stay.
    I am looking forward to the draft, new players and who will stay.
    I believe with all that did happen, a stong starting PG and a younger center would put on a winning season. Of course many don't agree, because we don't have enough All-Stars, but we have great young role players that will get better,
    Time will tell as we are moving right along
    Thanks Mike

    by Hg on 5/1/2012 10:14 PM
  3. Should be an interesting summer. Definite agreement on Coach Kaleb and Buchanan getting a chance. The seasons end was not their fault. This season was a seemingly doomed one to begin with. It is sad not to make the playoffs, but looking back at this season it is not really as disheartening as it would have been during a regular season.

    But anyways having watched the interviews given on exit interview day I really do believe that Coach Kaleb should be favored if not given the job. There was a considerable an noticeable change in the team when he took over. There was an attitude and determination that seemed to be missing for some time. And it was not one of the guys, it seemed to be all of the guys. And despite how the season ended the change in the guys was still there. The ringing endorsements were there. With an actual pre-season and regular practice schedule we may just be impressed.

    And as far as Buchanan he made some bold and smart decisions. And even though the season did not go as we'd like we all know that is not his fault. Yet still he took responsibility for the situation. Took it all on himself. Saying that even if he is not the GM he just wants to be part of the organization. I liked and appreciated that. He deserves a chance.

    Summer of change indeed. :)

    by Niki C on 5/2/2012 12:50 AM
  4. Whether or not Kaleb and Buchanan have done a good job is irrelevant. Until the interim label is removed few will actually take them and the Blazers seriously.

    by namarchetti on 5/2/2012 4:41 AM
  5. @namarchetti:
    I agree on the coach and if Kaleb returns next fall in the head coach position it will be as Head coach not as interim coach.
    I don't think it would matter to the players or other GM's on the GM being interim or not, but I do agree if the GM is going to be somebody other then Chad, then that GM needs to replace Chad in order to hire a new coach or use Kaleb.

    As said in previous threads and different Trailblazer Blogs they may be waiting for the season end to hire a GM as one of them targeted may be off limits as of now. I fully agree with Mike, they would be hard pressed to get anyone better then Chad, so he should definitely be in the running.
    we just have to wait and see as we are moving right along.

    by Hg on 5/2/2012 5:03 AM
  6. And they may well be moving in the right direction this off season. It is hard to place faith though given the track record in upper management of the last few years as a steady downhill slope.

    by namarchetti on 5/2/2012 6:48 AM
  7. I am/have been beyond excited for this off season for a month now or how ever long it's been. I can't wait until the ball starts rolling publicly.

    by Jestatom on 5/2/2012 6:59 AM
  8. THe "off" season has to be better than the season.

    by Ancientone on 5/2/2012 12:43 PM
  9. Mike - love your optimism. However, I disagree with your assessment of Hickson's situation that "they picked up an asset, and did it without hindering their cap situation this summer." First of all, he will have a multi-million dollar cap hold as a free agent (which eats into cap space even before he's re-signed). But more significantly, Portland does not hold Bird Rights on Hickson, meaning that unless he's willing to sign for $3 million or less in 2012-13, Portland will have to use cap space to re-sign him if they want to keep him.

    I loved the acquisition of Hickson at the time and even more so now. It was a great move to use the trade exception to claim him. And put me strongly in the camp that, unless Portland can get a better big man elsewhere, the organization should definitely look to retain him. But let's be realistic - his acquisition means less cap room this summer, pure and simple.

    by Storyteller on 5/2/2012 1:35 PM
  10. Storyteller:
    They can still give him a qualifying offer and match anybody elses offer can't they or JJ could take the Blazers offer on his own?

    by Hg on 5/2/2012 1:59 PM
  11. Mike, you seem like a nice guy. But I don't believe a word you say. I guess you're paid to put a positive spin on anything the Blazers do. You've got a whole lot of spinning to do...

    by kuhnsmith on 5/2/2012 2:21 PM
  12. Storyteller- You're probably right about that. There are opportunities whether you want to sign and trade him or keep him, but obviously not holding Bird Rights hurts in that case. Hickson's cap hold, by the way, is 4.4 mill. In saying "without hindering their cap situation" I basically meant that they acquired someone who didn't have years left on his deal, and was an expiring contract. We talked on the show on Monday about how there were other opportunities at the trade deadline, but most of them required Portland taking back someone with years. Calling him an asset just meant he was useful on the court during that dismal final stretch- not as much as a trade piece later on, even though that could be possible. It is possible that his acquisition won't hurt the cap space, if they decide not to give him a qualifying offer, even though that seems very unlikely. The move gave them flexibility, and just getting in a position to be able to acquire him was pretty creative.

    Thanks for the comment. I know you are extremely well versed on this stuff.

    MB

    by mikebarrett on 5/2/2012 2:23 PM
  13. Kuhnsmith,

    Just because I'm curious, what is it that you don't believe? My opinion on how the season went? Or, where Portland stands heading into this off season? Thanks for the comment.

    MB

    by mikebarrett on 5/2/2012 2:29 PM
  14. Hi Mike,
    I am not completely sold on Kaleb as head coach. Whenever you lose the top guy like Nate, everyone below him understands how quickly it can all go away. It's natural for everyone to toe the line a little tighter and be on their best behavior. Yes Kaleb has value and appears to be a good motivator/ leader. I don't think he is ready for prime time. If it's true there is a line at the door of quality coaches, keep Kaleb on the payroll and let him study under another quality coach as Nate was. Kaleb is young. NBA coaches life span is short. Kaleb will get his shot when he's ready.
    As for Chad, he's done great. He's a class act. However it is time for a change in the culture of the organization. GM's do more than evaluate talent and write contracts. They lead. They form a team identity. Chad said he wanted to stay and help in any way possible. I would keep him on the payroll as well.
    I stuck it out this year. Watched every minute of every game. I usually go through Blazer withdrawls at the end. Not this year. Like you Mike, I was glad it was over.
    GO BLAZERS!!

    by Divotking on 5/2/2012 2:52 PM
  15. Well said, and I'm sure a lot of people agree with that point of view.

    by mikebarrett on 5/2/2012 2:55 PM
  16. Mike we know how much PA invests in his team financially but we also hear about his reputation as a hands-on owner. I understand that an owner wants people on his team that are aligned with his vision. However, does PA's personality and decision making regarding personnel in recent history scare away potential candiates for GM and Coach? Are the big name guys who can write their own checks in the league willing to work for PA?

    by uprised on 5/2/2012 3:48 PM
  17. I certainly can understand why you ask that question. But, I haven't really ever heard any candidate express that concern. Even KP, after all that happened, talked of having a good working relationship with Mr. Allen. And, I know Chad well and have talked to him about his relationship with the owner, and he says Mr. Allen challenges his people, and wants to be challenged, but is great to work with. He's certainly engaged, makes an effort to be educated, and does empower his people to sell him on decisions, and then lets them make them. Does he have to sign off on all decisions? Of course. So does every owner. You're not going to find an owner, or an ownership group, that doesn't want the final say on big decisions. Mr. Allen certainly then holds his people accountable, but that's his right as an owner. Best of all, he equips his leaders with the resources to make impactful moves. I hope that helps answer your question. I can only give you what I have heard from those who have worked directly with him on a day-to-day basis, and what I've heard from others around the league. He's passionate, and willing to invest in his team, and that's a pretty positive thing.

    MB

    by mikebarrett on 5/2/2012 4:02 PM
  18. Nice write up! I would add that the fact that Chad has worked as interim GM for over a year and would like to be considered for the GM position is an endorsement for working with Paul Allen. I would like a more experienced GM..just for that reason. Don't know that a more experienced GM would have agreed to including the Faried pick in the Felton trade. Nor would he necessarily listen to Bernie when it came to who the Blazers should bring in to be the PGOTF. While Felton is younger than Andre and "did" have an outside shot, he was also traded away from New York AND Denver was willing to get rid of him as well rather than keep him as a PG coming off the bench. Yes he'd been a starter but that was in Charlotte and his stats were probably inflated in NY due to style of play. So not worth Andre and the pick IMO. And wasn't Rudy in there as well? So I hope Chad learned from that particular trade.
    As far as Kaleb goes...I love the guy. From what everyone has said about him, I could see him even becoming a REF favorite...and this could mean quite a bit in this league. I would like him to work under at least one more coach. He continued to use the SOS defense that Nate was so fond of and I am sick of seeing. It would be nice to see players actually set screens and fight through them. You could answer this question most likely...is this something that Kaleb just didn't have enough time to change or is he really a fan of this system? I'd love to see how he would coach given actual training time and a full roster.
    Kaleb's answer: "I felt relaxed" to the ? of how he felt coaching his first game as head coach spoke volumes...was thinking..he must have been frustrated not being able to put his ideas into action as an assistant coach....
    Do you think he will remain with the Blazers if he is not the head coach? I REALLY hope so..that guy will be a great head coach in the not too distant future.
    There are many comments on BE.com re: this article.
    While some feel you are just spewing the company line, I hope that you are not with re: to "impressive" candidates. I'd love to see Danny Ainge here or Kupchak. I'd also like to see coaches as Brian Shaw or Mike Budenholzer or other assistant coaches for SA, LAL or the Celtics become head coaches. I'd like to see those who have experience on championship teams come to Portland.
    Also, is this some obscure golfing saying of which I am not aware?

    The ball is certainly on the tee.
    Let the storm begin.

    How about: "The ball is certainly on the tee. Let's hit a hole in one"?
    Or "The clouds are gathering. Let the storm begin?" Though that one isn't a very good one. How about "The ball is in our court. Let the games begin."



    by natsthecat on 5/2/2012 5:58 PM
  19. Mr. Barrett: Let me start by saying that I am embarrassed for the many fans who are under the impression that you are just a company man paid to spout off the next best marketing line. Obviously, as an employee of what I have seen first hand seems to be just an excellent organization, your opinion is more optimistic than the average fan's might be. Additionally, you are privy to FAR more information than ANY of us have. When I accompanied Miss Sarah for a game, I learned a great deal of information that I instinctively kept private, but that would lead me to believe much of what you have said in this particular blog. People, and especially Trail Blazer fans, can be incredibly skeptical. I suppose it's fair, after the relentless disappointments the fan base has endured, that they are inclined to take a more pessimistic approach now. Nevertheless, I feel badly that you are receiving the brunt of that cynicism.

    As for the blog itself, I am excited too! The Blazer swung for the fences back in '06 & '07, slammed it out of the park, and managed to completely resurrect a franchise mired in negativity and a waning fan base. A total culture change took place. I can see clearly how the organization is once again perched for great opportunity.

    When you consider that they managed to put themselves in this position, during a season that wasn't 100% lost yet (though it definitely looked to be), making it possible that the normal 3-5 year "re-building" process will likely be circumvented completely...well, wow! That Chad Buchanan and Larry Miller be credited with pulling that off is a no-brainer. For me personally, I am insulted when I hear that Chad is only a possibility for the job. I recognize there are more experienced and more capable GMs out there, but Chad possesses three things that will likely make him the most SUCCESSFUL: 1) He already has a working relationship with Allen, 2) He is loyal, and 3) He is a Blazer :)

    I am not sure about Kaleb's abilities as a coach. It is clear he is new, but it is also apparent he has a ton of potential. I would love to see guys here who aren't even available (Coach Monty, Rick Carlisle, Jerry Sloan), and have been pretty sure the Blazers need an experienced Head Coach. However, after hearing the exit interviews and the ringing endorsement for Coach "K", especially from Lamarcus, Nicolas, and Wesley...well, that demands attention. Having your players' ear and respect is probably the most important thing any coach can have. Kaleb appears to have that. So, while I would still love to see a big name here, I will also be pleased to see Coach "K" get a full run with his guys.

    I wholeheartedly believe the Blazer picks will be packaged in a trade, along with a player, maybe two. However, I would like to note that I read recently the Blazers cannot trade their OWN first round pick, because they already traded their 2013 one (can't trade own first rounders two seasons in a row or something). Not sure if that is true, but if it is, then the NJ pick becomes extremely important. I believe if a trade does occur, it will be for a Center and that the Point Guard will come via FA (I wished for Rondo in my Wish List blog, but I don't REALLY think that will happen!)

    Haven't been here much, or for a long while, so hope the extraordinarily long post wasn't too much! Hahahaha

    by SisillaRiann on 5/2/2012 9:18 PM
  20. @EowynAmarie; I had time for two snacks, but us old fogies doesn't have to watch our waistline as much. I didn't know about the trading your pick two years in a row. Thank you, that will change my thinking. I have been pondering on whether we should keep NJ pick and trad our, I guess that is out.
    IMO after listening to Mike quiz Chad, I believe our PGofTF is already to sign a contract after the first of July.
    I am pretty excited, Sarah answered many of my questions, so now all I really have to do is WAIT

    by Hg on 5/2/2012 9:47 PM
  21. Mike,

    I really liked this blog from you. It gave me a new perspective on Chad in particular. I had him pegged as a guy who probably wasn't going to keep his position in the FO, and I certainly wasn't sold on the job he's done. Maybe I was being too cynical about the Felton trade. Although at the time, I remember thinking it made sense, and maybe it would have, if we'd still had Roy to play along side him. And Crawford not living up to expectations was not Chad's fault. Crawford was forced to play out of position, outside of the role he was used to, and was obvious to me he wasn't happy here.

    So maybe we need to give him a shot at least to see what he can do for us during the draft, unless someone REALLY high quality comes beating down our door. In spite of what you said, I just don't see that happening. But not knowing who is knocking makes that tough to say with any kind of certainty. I'm sure you know better than me who's available and who's applying. I also understand you can't say anything until the decision is made and announced.

    The coaching position seems a bit more like a no-brainer to me. Hire Caleb. He's shown us he's got guys playing hard, playing with determination, despite a rather large number of near-miss losses down the stretch. And some of those near-miss losses, like the Utah game (just to name one example) I honestly have to blame more on the refs than on the guys or the coach. I think it was Rice that said during that final broadcast that the clearly missed call by the refs in the closing seconds in that last Utah game was a "fitting end" to this season. And it was.

    One of the other comments mentioned coach k using the same type of SOS defense that Nate used. I want to address that comment, because while it is valid, I think there is a good reason why, and why I think it will likely change next year, even if Caleb stays on as head coach.

    Nate liked to go zone a lot, but didn't really have a grasp on when he should and when he shouldn't, and how to set up a zone defense properly. A good zone defense is all about spacing and stopping dribble penetration. It's designed to close off the paint and get your guys good rebounding position. It's not something that should be used when the opposing team has more than 1 good outside shooter on the floor. I think, from watching coach K calling defensive schemes, that he understands this and just needs time to re-coach his guys on when to go zone, when to man-up, and who should rotate when and where. This is not something that can be done mid-season, with little-to-no practice time.

    Bottom line: Both Caleb Canales and Chad Buchanan were handed very tough situations, and inspite of some mistakes along the way, have really made the most of those situations. If for that reason and no other I think they deserve more than just a passing glance at getting their "interim" titles removed.

    by soulseeker on 5/3/2012 7:01 AM
  22. I saw the comments earlier on the ability Portland has to trade its first-round pick this year. There is that rule about not being able to trade your first round pick in back-to-back years, but it works this way, this year.
    The Blazers can trade one of the two picks at any time leading up to draft day, and can trade the other one on draft day. So, both may be traded. The clock resets on draft day and the Blazers can go without any picks in the draft if they want to, and it doesn't count toward 2013 being encumbered- almost like a zero year.
    So, I hope that answers that question.

    MB

    by mikebarrett on 5/3/2012 11:39 AM
  23. Mike, this is in response to your response to my "I don't believe a thing you say" post. Specifically, I'm reacting to your comment that candidates are "lining up" to be the Blazers' next GM and HC. If someone like Wojo was saying this, there might be a ring of truth to it. Things like this are hard to keep a secret these days. You are paid by an organization that doesn't seem to take criticism well, which is why your credibility is suspect. I think that, in the end, selling season tickets, sponsorships and so forth are what drives the Blazers to continue to announce that every game is "sold out" (which I highly doubt if "sold" means a customer not connected with the Blazers in any way actually bought the tickets) and why you might well be inclined to make the GM and HC "searches" look much more promising than they really are.

    by kuhnsmith on 5/3/2012 12:07 PM
  24. I understand that. I don't position myself as an impartial investigative journalist, and I think everyone knows where my check comes from. I've never pretended to be anything else, and don't want to be. That being said, no one tells me how to position things, or what to "sell." You are right that things are tough to keep secret these days, but I will say that (for the sake of this example) Rich Cho was in town for two full days after he was hired and there wasn't one article written or tweet out there about him getting the job. That's not because no one was working the story, but because this franchise does a pretty good job at being tight-lipped. If you recall, the trades involving Camby and Wallace weren't rumored at all before they happened, they just happened. Going back a few years, no one thought the Blazers were hiring Nate McMillan until it was actually done. Usually leaks happen for a reason. So, I guess my point here is don't think because you're not hearing anything out there that nothing is happening. Larry and his staff just don't do it the other way. I included the line in my blog about the candidates because I've talked to two of them, and they stressed to me the amount of people interested in these jobs. I've also heard from one of the people doing the hiring who has said the same thing. I've just heard it said too many times that no one is interested in these jobs, and that's just silly. I realize that just lobbing that line out there without sourcing it isn't exactly the way it would traditionally be done in the press. But, again, I'm a team broadcaster who offers opinion, and some occasional inside info. I wouldn't have brought up the number of candidates without having some knowledge of what is going on. If you'd rather not believe that, it's okay with me, and I understand you being hesitant to buy all of that. Thanks for getting back to me. I appreciate you taking the time.

    MB

    by mikebarrett on 5/3/2012 12:40 PM
  25. MB,

    I'm on your side on this little debate you've got going on, but just to play devil's advocate for a moment, credibility is something you've got working against you. Maybe not from you personally, but from the Blazers' organization, or rather certain groups involved in the Blazers' organization (namely, the Vulcans). Also, I think sometimes the Blazers like to play things a little too close to the chest. Not 100% sure why they do this, it seems like a discredit to their fan base. But, your paycheck does come from them, so if they tell you not to disclose certain info about who's applying for what position within the organization and so forth, then I fully understand that you have to respect that. I would think true fans would understand this as well.

    by soulseeker on 5/3/2012 12:58 PM
  26. I do, and totally get that anything I say will be looked at through a much different light. I've always assumed that fans get that as well. All I know is that it's nice to have the time to actually respond to comments and that people care enough to take the time to explore for themselves and challenge everything. That's part of the gig.

    Thanks

    by mikebarrett on 5/3/2012 1:19 PM
  27. Mike: my support for you wouldn't count, because everybody would discredit me because I am such a fan of you and Mike R. OBTW, you are getting competition from Sarah, I have already added her two my list. Nevertheless, although you are a bigger homer then me by just a little, anybody that listens to you Rice and Sarah knows that you don't sell propaganda but just report it like you see it. Just don't let bad apples stop you from doing what you love being a wonderful announcer for the Blazers.

    Now that I've patted you on the back can you give me some of those inner secrets of the front office LOL.

    by Hg on 5/3/2012 1:48 PM
  28. Thanks for clearing up the draft pick thing Mr. Barrett. Not sure I totally understand it, but trust that you have the correct information :)

    by SisillaRiann on 5/3/2012 4:28 PM
  29. hey guys. sorry i'm a little late to the party. been busy with school and some other things.

    we have a potential of five picks in the draft, depending on where the Nets end up in the lottery. it's reasonable to assume that we will trade some of those picks, possibly the first rounders and maybe even a couple of the second rounders. i certainly would.

    the problem is that with a draft as deep as most are projecting, i question the value of trading the lottery pick(s) for a short-term vet. when i say short-term, i mean someone with two or three years on their contract. of course, fans are impatient and want to win now. however, there's something to be said for locking in an impact player for a full five years. given the depth of the draft through the lottery picks, i think we need to actually select a player or two who would be able to step in and make a contribution immediately, as well as in a few years.

    we have the draft picks to make an impact, and we have the money to spend to bring in a free agent or two around which to build the team. trading just for the sake of bringing in a veteran simply seems redundant. there are a lot better courses of action than trading away your lottery pick(s).

    i imagine there is a specific plan heading into our off-season; perhaps a plan A, plan, B, plan C and perhaps even a plan D. those plans probably make all of our speculation irrelevant, at least at this point.

    and that leads me to this whole "pick the best player available" nonsense. oh yea, i know i'll be chided for that. after all, weren't Jeff Pendergraph, Patty Mills and Armon Johnson once considered the best player available given management's philosophy? we don't even know what Elliot and Nolan might do or whether either will get a real opportunity.

    we have high hopes for Luke, Elliot and Nolan, but the jury is still out (though Luke would not have gotten much run at all this season had we not graded Gerald.

    part of this is on the coach. as accomplished and respected as Nate is, he did virtually nothing over the past three years as far as player development is concerned.

    a more effective draft strategy would be to be to take the best player who will contribute to fill our needs. obviously, we don't need a pf -- especially if we plan to sign J.J. if we take a sf then either that player or Luke sits on the pines long-term. if we take a sg then either that player or Elliot will see no court time.

    that's the real problem. the best player available is not necessarily the best player available for us. unless you make some trades, then drafting at one of those positions makes no sense whatsoever. the tangent to that problem is that you run the risk the possibility of not being able to move a player you wish to move.

    we know which positions we need to fill -- center and point guard. i would guess one will be acquired through the draft and the other through free agency. my fear is that this year, just one or neither will happen. my guess is that the "best player available" will just happen to be a pf, sf or sg. or, we might just trade off these picks for the "best free agent" available.

    either way, we could miss out on a golden opportunity to add a couple pieces of what we need to the puzzle. you could say i'm not as confident as some that that will actually happen.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 5/3/2012 9:06 PM
  30. Hey Miss Kassandra; welcome back
    I can't fully agree with you, partly because the FO plan A is to get a proven PG that is in the elite level to play along with LMA in his prime. that sounds good to me. Of course I don't know for sure who that PG is, but if we can, say, get Dragic from free agency then we could keep our draft picks or trade them for a elite center to a team that has to dump talent because of the new CBA. or again do it with FA then we could keep our picks.
    One of the other needs we have is depth, so in the draft, according to Chad we will draft for BPA.
    If we can get all the players signed before Batum's dealt with we can go over the cap space because of Bird rights. Oh we are planning on giving JJ a QO, but we can't go over the cap space with him because we don't have bird rights; so ideally we would sign him to a contract before Nic.

    That is part of the FO plan A. Of course as usual they are keeping most information close to the vest so we have no way of knowing for sure. Like I know one of the targets is D Williams, whether we can actually get him or not is to be seen. I think the FO knows but they can't tell because no deal can be made if D Will opts out. If he opts in then as of now we could offer a trade using our draft picks and everything but the kitchen sink, that being LMA, to cover his 17 mil contract.

    by Hg on 5/4/2012 8:20 AM
  31. Hg: Seems to me that Deron is a prima dona. We need more of a Steve Nash type but he is too old. Dragic may be the best answer. Then we need a Center. A Greg Oden without his Knees.

    by Ancientone on 5/7/2012 8:46 PM
  32. Ancientone: I do agree with you, on a center that is Greg style. or a JJ style with a little more height. You sure would know more about which PG to get then me, but LMA, DWill and Wesley are friends, and Wesley played with DWill, so there is already camaraderie. But Dragic is OK for me, It was said he was a Ginobili type.

    by Hg on 5/8/2012 5:02 AM
  33. I just have to post this link and hope that as many people (including Mike Barrett) takes a look at it. It is regarding the tons of injuries to the many Blazer players in recent years. I think the Blazers fans should know about this.

    http://zigsports.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/greg-oden-brandon-roy-what-what-happened/

    by Mark Handberg Howett on 5/10/2012 7:04 AM
  34. Mark Handberg Howett:
    Miller already commented on the Zigs accusations.

    by Hg on 5/10/2012 8:10 AM
  35. good share mark. i totally believe that the blazer training staff's inability to properly rehab his knees played a huge factor to his subsequent injuries. what makes me sick is they didn't listen to this biomechanical expert. i'm not surprised portland's athletic trainers ignored his advice. people in the medical field don't like backseat drivers.

    now how about that weasel canazano's rumor about an ownership change? wouldn't that be something! i'm all for it. as long as allen is owner this team will look and feel like his team. i'm ready for the change.

    go blazers

    by thedanman on 5/14/2012 3:18 AM
  36. by thedanman on 5/14/2012 4:50 AM
  37. have you applied for gm , Mike ?! : ) on second thought , dont . love your commentaries . you're skookum !

    by kilgoresalmon on 5/17/2012 7:10 PM
  38. IF POSSIBLE I think that the blazers need to make a move for the #2 pick with the #6 and #11 picks. They need to try to get Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the number 2 pick. He will add more length to the roster than Beal and he can still play beside Batum or swap in for him. Having Kidd-Gilchrist as the other SF sounds a lot better than having just Babbit!

    by Letsgozers on 6/1/2012 3:50 PM
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