sarahhecht

Mar 15

Trail Blazers Prepare For The Future With Trade Deadline Moves

By sarahhecht Posted in: LaMarcusAldridge
This may be the understatement of the year, but it’s been a wild day to be a Trail Blazers fan. Trade Deadline Day 2012 shaped the franchise—or rather opened it up for shaping.

Parting Ways With Nate McMillan

Portland started the day with President Larry Miller announcing the end of Nate McMillan’s reign as head coach.

"Clearly the season to this point has not gone the way we had hoped it would and after talking with Nate we decided it was best to part ways," said Miller. "I want to personally acknowledge and thank Nate for his many contributions to this franchise and wish him nothing but the best for the future."

It was the first piece in a series of moves aimed at transitioning the franchise into a new chapter of Trail Blazers basketball. The front office and ownership acknowledge that what was on the floor this season wasn’t working. Owner Paul Allen said via Twitter, “@paulgallen: Some tough trades today & letting Nate go but had to face the reality of how the season was going. Now @pdxtrailblazers focusing on future.”

Current assistant coach Kaleb Canales will step in as Interim Head Coach.

Read the full press release.

Okur, Williams And 1st Round Pick Acquired From New Jersey for Wallace, C. Johnson and Oden Waived

Next the team announced a deal with the New Jersey Nets. In exchange for Gerald Wallace—who had a player option for next season—Portland received center Mehmet Okur, small forward Shawne Williams and New Jersey’s 2012 top-three protected first-round draft pick.

“This trade was very compelling to us because not only does it give us more flexibility in free agency, but we also acquire a very attractive first-round draft pick,” said Acting General Manager Chad Buchanan.

Okur has a sizable expiring contract, and Shawne Williams has a player option for next season. New Jersey’s first rounder is protected through the third pick which means Portland could land as high as the fourth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Also, waivers were requested for centers Greg Oden and Chris Johnson.

“I’d like to thank Gerald, Greg and Chris for all they’ve done for the franchise and hope for nothing but the best for them and their futures,” Buchanan said. Thus ending the era of Greg Oden in Rip City

Read the full press release.

Thabeet, Flynn and 2nd Round Pick From Houston For Camby

Finally, Marcus Camby was traded to the Houston Rockets for center Hasheem Thabeet, point guard Jonny Flynn and a 2012 second-round draft pick. Thabeet and Flynn both have expiring contracts with team options allowing the Trail Blazers to free up even more cap space.

“We’re looking forward to what Jonny and Thabeet can bring to our team at two positions we can use help at and we’ve added an additional asset with the second-round draft pick,” said Buchanan. “We appreciate Marcus’s contributions over the past three seasons and we wish him the best for the future.”

Read the full press release.

Soaking It All In

There comes a time when a team’s style of basketball becomes difficult to watch. Not just when struggling in the win/loss column but when, as a fan, you see no effort. If thoughts like “why aren’t the playing with heart?” and “do they even care?” come to mind there is clearly a bigger issue.

Over the past few weeks the Trail Blazers have traveled down that road while the organization and fans watched totally perplexed.

Today the organization drew a line in the sand. Moves were made to better position the team to dramatically improve during the 2012 draft and free agency period. The Wallace and Camby trades both returned draft picks and expiring contracts to Portland. The first-round pick received from New Jersey has potential to be a major pick in a draft said to be stacked through the 20th spot. The expiring contracts open the door for serious movement in the 2012 free agent class boasting the likes of Deron Williams, Steve Nash, and Serge Ibaka. (See the full 2012 free agent class.)

Here’s the simple version of Portland’s flexibility this summer:
- Potential draft picks
     - 1st round pick from New Jersey (top 3 protected)
     - 1st round pick
     - 2nd round pick: we have the right to swap our own 2nd round pick with Denver’s
         second round pick
     - 2nd round pick from Houston (It's technically Minnesota's pick but Houston had the               rights to it.)
- Salary Cap
     - Five current players have contracts through at least next year (Aldridge, Matthews,         Williams, N. Smith and Babbitt. Crawford has a player option.)
     - Portland will have ample cap space (enough to resign players, acquire a max player     AND others)

With the extreme pliability the Trail Blazers gained they’re in a position to dramatically improve over the summer. This is the kind of flexibility that can launch a team into legitimate championship contention at break-neck speed.

What that means for the immediate future is yet to be seen. It’s not uncommon for teams who experience swift and meaningful change to rise to the occasion and play high-energy basketball with nothing to lose. On paper losing two starters is a huge blow and it may look like there isn’t a chance for this team to push to the post-season this year, but those squads can be the ones who surprise you.

Bottom line. Moves made today give Portland the ability to reshape the roster in the offseason and better position Rip City for the long-haul.

I’m sure there are MANY questions floating around, so pop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer as many as I can. And don’t forget there’s a blog contest on the  trade deadline moves where you can win media credentials!

5 Comments

  1. Do you see us dropping lower in the standings, boosting our chances to get a better pick in the draft, or players playing hard to show the NBA they are good, making the first round and being swept?

    question 2- what players in the draft are you eyeing?

    by jamsmashers on 3/15/2012 6:25 PM
  2. Hey Miss Sarah, great piece of info. I had to work for the most of the day so haven't read the transcript yet. Trying to figure out what the catalyst for going down hill so fast was IMO addressed, but not sure we had a choice. and I will not point fingers and ask for your opinion, I just hope that the Blazers play the new members and the Bench to make them prepared for next year.

    I am sure that Raymond will continue to be starting PG
    I am sure Matthews will go back to starting 2gd, Nic the three, LaMarcus the 4 of course, but will Joel start, or Thomas.
    I would really like to have Nolan start at PG, but that is probably a dream.

    but like you said on Rip City Live, anything to make it better. or lets work together to make it better.

    by Hg on 3/15/2012 9:12 PM
  3. Sarah:

    Nice blog I know you must be sad i know Wallace was your guy. How ever i think you understand where this is going and the future could be bright. It was a busy day for you alot of stuff going on today i am surprised you found the time to blog about it.

    I for one agree with most of the moves made today i will not get into them cause i could go on and on. But i just wanted to say Blazers are and will always be my team and i will stand by them despite not making the playoffs this year. Not saying they wont but i do see it being unlikely. well thats all for now have a good night all. And Kalob get some sleep you will need it. (not that he reads this)

    by Avgjoe28 on 3/15/2012 10:13 PM
  4. Avgjoe28, I agree I don't see us winning enough games to make the play-offs, We didn't trade Camby and GW to make us better, but to give us something back for their effort. Camby will get to play out his career in his home town, Wallace wasn't going to sign his players option and was going to hold up for a bigger pay check, can't blame him there that is just business.
    On the court Camby and GW will be missed horribly, It may not show up every game, but Batum does not have the energy that GW has, and Joel, Thomas and what Thabeet can bring won't be enough to make up for Camby's leadership. Although if Joel is reaching his game conditioning, I will put my money on him; of course he is a little prone to foul trouble and hard fouls, (snicker, snicker) so we will need Thomas, LMA and Thabeet, plus the Rhino, since if we go small we don't have Gerald playing the four.

    All in all I am hoping for the zest that has been lost, but I feel we still have the catalyst that caused us to downfall.

    by Hg on 3/16/2012 5:20 AM
  5. Its bittersweet that we have to blow it up... I think a lot of fans thought we could have made some noise in the league, and that we were close. However, I think it was the right move, we couldn't be floating around in no mans land of making the playoffs and not being a top contender. In order to win a championship we can't be waiting around in no man's land not getting a look at the best picks in the draft.

    by foxrlu on 3/16/2012 9:17 AM
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