May 22

Bill Simmons Has A Trade Proposal For You

By caseyholdahl Posted in: LaMarcusAldridge

Grantland editor and ESPN television personality Bill Simmons spent part of his morning on Twitter concocting fake trades involving draft picks now that the order has been set. Simmons always likes to mix it up with Trail Blazers fans, so it figures he'd suggest a potential move featuring our most important player.
Now, Simmons isn't exactly pulling this idea out of thin air. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reported a month ago that the Cavaliers have "fantasized" about acquiring Aldridge, thinking it would help in luring Lebron James back to his native land when he hits free agency, potentially in 2014. And of course, there are those who believe Aldridge himself is going to bolt once he becomes a free agent, with the assumption being the Trail Blazers should consider trading him now, lest they lose him without getting some kind of compensation in return.

So there are grounds for Simmons proposing this trade. Having said that, I still don't like it. Tristan Thompson is a nice, young player who shares various similarities to Aldridge, but he'd be a considerable downgrade in the short term, and all indications are that the team is not willing to take a huge step backwards after achieving some level of success this season, relatively speaking. If you're the kind of fan who hates power forwards who shoot from midrange, you might prefer Thompson, who only took 14 shots outside of 14 feet this season, over Aldridge. Thompson rebounded at a slightly higher rate than Aldridge last season, but that could have had as much to do with Cleveland rebounding machine Anderson Varejao missing much of 2012-13 with a blood clot in his leg (Thompson's rebound percentage jumped three points after Varejao's injury).

And as far as the No. 1 pick goes, there's no one in this draft, in my imperfect opinion, who is anywhere close to Aldridge's level. If he were leaving Texas after his sophomore season to enter the 2013 Draft, there's no question in my mind that Aldridge be the No. 1 pick. Not to mention that, according to some reports, no one even wants the No. 1 pick this year.

If you're going to trade an all-star in his prime, you need to get back a player who you think is going to be an all-star in their prime. I don't think this deal meets that criteria. Then again, if the move created cap space, as these kind of uneven trades often do, and you felt strongly about the chances of wooing an all-star caliber player in free agency, then maybe it becomes more palatable.


  1. That offer just isn't enough. If the offer was there in 2012 (Davis) or 2014 (Wiggins), then you more than likely do it, but not in this draft where there is not a clear cut No. 1 guy. Now if they offered Waiters, Zeller, No. 1 and No. 19, then the decision becomes tougher. But Cleveland is reportedly high on Waiters and may turn their attention elsewhere to find more of a bargain if Portland indeed would ask for a package of that nature.

    by DHawes22 on 5/22/2013 10:40 AM
  2. How can you write "some level of success this season, relatively speaking" with a straight face? 33 wins with a ROY, an all-star, a guy who just got $11m/yr and the #7 offensive rebounder in the league (Lillard, Aldridge, Batum and Hickson) is not a level of success relative to the expectations of this team.

    Two things: First, flipping Aldridge for cap relief and a promising big (Thompson) PLUS a shot at a legit 2-guard (McLenmore) that would both be on rookie contracts makes immediate sense for a cash-strapped team; amnesty or not, Roy's contract is still clogging Portland's cap space through 2015.

    Second, Paul Allen's micromanagement of this franchise means their ceiling -- at the very best -- will be the second round of the playoffs without a top-3 player. I don't see LeBron, Durant or CP3/Melo/Harden/Howard/Love/Westbrook (depending on your thoughts for the #3 slot in the league right now) coming to an income-tax-heavy state with lots of rain just to play for a franchise with a single championship, a notoriously micromanaging owner, a shoddy medical staff and jackass fans like the Free Throw Guy.

    In other words, Aldridge deserves a chance to spread his wings elsewhere. He could absolutely be the #2 guy on a contender, but Lillard won't be ready for top-dog status for a few years...when LMA will start to slide. I say let LMA contend elsewhere in his prime, and use him as an asset in a forward-thinking trade that gets Rip City back into the postseason with a fighting chance before the end of this decade.

    by sleepesoteric on 5/22/2013 10:46 AM
  3. I like this. Free up cap space, resign Hickson and play him at PF (his natural position), Use the extra cap space to sign a true defensive center in free agency, Trade the 10th pick and one of our second rounders away for a rotation player, and with the 1st overall pick get a solid back up 2 or someone who could swing between the 1 & 2.

    It makes our team deeper, as well as gets us more solid young talent to go with our young core.

    by JR_Spahn on 5/22/2013 10:56 AM
  4. Sleepesoteric - How can you write that Roy's contract will be clogging Portland's cap space with a straight face? His cap space was cleared when he was amnestied. The "success relative to the expectations of this team" was higher than anyone anticipated. We were projected as bottom 3 in the west.

    We aren't a cap strapped team, so you're argument about flipping LMA for that purpose doesn't make sense. Clearing his contract to get McLemore AND sign a max contract free agent might make sense, but getting a max level free agent here is going to be a problem. Losing LMA and only adding two mid-level players doesn't make sense either.

    Lillard is potentially an All-star in his second season, should he improve his second year; which is almost guaranteed. Should the Blazers pull of a decent signing or two this summer, plus adding a little more depth, we may be contending sooner than later. Especially if Batum stays healthy and plays at the level he did early in the season. A team who swaps equal value for LMA is probably not any more of a contender than we are next year.

    by WhattheMike on 5/22/2013 11:00 AM
  5. Not a chance. If they do that move, that'd be one of the worst trades EVER for Portland. Yeah lets get 2 guys that aren't ever gonna be all-stars for our 2 time all-star and one of the best PFs in the game. Um, no thanks.

    by Ricky Ackerman on 5/22/2013 11:04 AM
  6. Void...not to even be considered. Getting Rip City back in the postseason (Mr. Sleep) will depend on what we can get behind our core. Yes...we did make steps forward last year...better then any of us thought and that was with the horrible losing streak at the end in which we were injury plauged.

    by daddylogan on 5/22/2013 11:26 AM
  7. Yes. This trade would be ideal for the Blazers.

    I think with this, you get to build a core that will stay together for their entire careers. LaMarcus is in his prime and Lillard won't be in his prime until LaMarcus is hitting the twilight of his career.

    Trade LaMarcus, draft Oladipo, groom Thompson alongside lillard, and draft the best available at number 10.

    Now you've got Lillard, Oladipo, Leonard, Batum, and whomever you draft at 10 all hitting their primes at the same time in a few years.

    The problem being that I don't think Cleveland would pull the trigger.

    by Ryan Thomas on 5/22/2013 11:53 AM
  8. Whatthemike: Nope, Roy is still on the books. Do your research.

    Also, projections ranged from the 8-seed to last place in the Western Conference, depending on your sports news source. They were in playoff contention as late as February. Again, relative to expectations for that much talent, going on a seven-game losing streak close to the all-star break was awful.

    This season was not a success. Trying to build a title contender over the next two years does not work due to cost issues and the sheer competitiveness of the west right now. OKC, Memphis and San Antonio are locks for the playoffs, with the Nuggets, Warriors and Clippers right behind them (even if CP3 walks). The two remaining spots are probably going to Dallas (no way does Cuban rest on his laurels all summer) and Jazz (once they sort out the Millsap/Jefferson dilemma).

    Portland desperately needs to bring in a defensive big that can clean the glass in ways Aldridge just never seems willing to do. They also need a more consistent two-guard. I love Matthews' game, but he needs to be on the bench. He'd be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate right away, but asking him for more than 24 minutes seems to hinder his efficiency.

    I would love to see this trade:

    POR gets: Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, 2013 #1 (McLemore)

    CLE gets: Aldridge, Matthews, Freeland, Claver, all three 2013 POR 2nd-rounders plus a top-10-protected 2014 first-round pick

    (Side note: This assumes Hickson is gone, since several teams need an interior presence and can offer him $8m/year.)

    The money works in that trade, and it gives Olshey plenty of room to build around several up-and-comers without hamstringing the budget once it clears up in 2015:

    Starter (bench)
    Lillard (Maynor)
    McLemore (Waiters, Barton)
    Batum (Gee)
    Thompson (#10 pick, Zeller or Olynyk, maybe?)
    Varejao (Leonard)

    Fill out the roster with Idaho Stampede call-ups or veteran minimum guys, and you have a team that can go to war with Dallas, Utah and Minnesota (assuming Love and Rubio actually stay on the court for a full season). I'd much rather see that happen as a segue into 2015 than desperately clinging to LMA, wasting his prime on a team that won't get out of the first round as currently constructed. Let him play for a ring somewhere else. He deserves that chance after toiling away in Portland's injury hell coupled with Paul Allen's meddling and poor long-term vision.

    (Wow, that was a hell of a way to spend my lunch break!)

    by sleepesoteric on 5/22/2013 12:16 PM
  9. Sleepesoteric: The 13-game losing streak makes the season look a bit worse than it really was, which is why I wrote "relatively speaking." And that team you would "go to war" with would be one of the worst in the NBA. Stampede call-ups and veteran minimum guys do not a quality NBA team make.

    by caseyholdahl on 5/22/2013 12:26 PM
  10. Ryan: I think the bigger problem is you're assuming players in this draft are certain to be starting quality NBA players. From the sounds of it, a lot of people in the NBA aren't so sure that's the case.

    by caseyholdahl on 5/22/2013 12:29 PM
  11. Sleepesoteric:
    Those are salaries that have to be paid out of Paul Allen's money, but it doesn't affect the salary cap, do your research. The Blazers are still on the hook for the money, but not a cap hold. If their was no release from the cap, then there wouldn't be any point to the amnesty clause (unless it was just to clear a roster spot). Why would the Blazers amnesty Roy to keep a roster spot for guys like Nolan Smith or Luke Babbitt if there wasn't more to it than clearing a roster spot?

    I'm not convinced Wes is the answer at the 2 but 15 pts a game and his defensive play isn't quite a liability either. Unless there's a star available at SG, then I don't see a huge upgrade coming here.

    We have a great starting group, sans center. LMA averaged over 20pts and 9 rbs, not exactly useless on the boards as you suggest. I don't see McLemore and Thompson making us better than LMA and Wes. Varajao would be good but I don't know that he'd be on the table and are looking to sign a difference making big anyways.

    Again, the budget will not be clearing up in 2015, except Aldridge's contract...

    by WhattheMike on 5/22/2013 12:53 PM
  12. If you for sure knew that Aldridge was leaving, I do this trade in a heartbeat. But that's not the case. To do a trade like this after declaring Aldridge to be a core piece of this franchise is a disrespect, and nobody would really want to sign with us in the near future.

    by Choong Huh on 5/22/2013 1:27 PM
  13. Everyone keeps talking about Aldridge walking for nothing at the end of his contract, but I have to imagine that if he were planning on leaving, he would do what he could to secure something in return...via sign and trade. Look at what Lebron did for Cleveland. Although they obviously lost out of LBJ, he made sure they got something in return, quite a bit actually. I have to imagine that LMA respects the Blazers (especially the fans) enough to do the same...should he choose to leave when his contract is up.

    by WhattheMike on 5/22/2013 1:57 PM
  14. @sleeper first off, your web sources to "correct" Whatthemike show roy as amnestied on the books and NOT being held against the team. however is shown on the record because paul allen still has to pay that contract. so perhaps you should do your own research before posting "research" that does not validate your wrong statement.

    by TregoBlazer on 5/22/2013 2:05 PM
  15. @sleeper and secondly, your second source was a speculative article about what the new barganing agreement might be. written while the terms were being negotiated and was pointed out the rules of the 2005 amnesties not the current set. did you even read what you wrote? Here is a blip from oregonlive "In order to get under the threshold, the Blazers needed to waive Roy and his $15 million salary for this season under the league’s new amnesty clause."

    by TregoBlazer on 5/22/2013 2:11 PM
  16. I'm with WhattheMike on this one. I don't see LA walking, which is a monster factor in this whole proposition. Of all the guys on our team, I think he views this most as a business. Yes, I believe he wants to win a Championship, but there's never a guarantee of that. He's going where there's potential to succeed and more importantly, where the $$ is.

    With Lillard and the helm and a savvy guy like Neil building the rest, Portland's ability to offer the most cheddar is enough to keep LA.

    Plain and simple, NO WAY on this deal.

    by sarahhecht on 5/22/2013 2:14 PM
  17. Yeah, if you think LA is going to leave, this is probably a decent deal. If not, its not so great. Thing is, if you REALLY think LA is going to bolt, you could probably get a better deal than Thompson and No. 1 some time within the next two years.

    by caseyholdahl on 5/22/2013 2:20 PM
  18. You can get more than Thompson and #1 right now. I would bet that Cleveland would give up Thompson, #1, a 2014 pick with some protection, and the best 2015 pick out of theirs, Memphis or Miami's. Then you try and flip Thompson and #10 for Larry Sanders #1 if you have to. Sanders is a major upgrade over JJ and Milsap or Smith could be brought in via free agency to fill in for LA. Then you still have pick #10 or #1 and 2 future picks. That is how you compile assets and move the needle Olshey.

    by cmeese47 on 5/24/2013 5:12 PM
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