The big three in Miami is a relatively new concept for the NBA in terms of having three “superstars” on one squad. In order to have three near-max contracts, an organization has to spend a large amount of their available salary before reaching the cap. It may seem like a great idea, but when a team has little depth outside of its big three, problems arise.
The Trail Blazers are not taking this route and with the help of interim general manager Chad Buchanan, the Blazers are looking to build a complete and deep team.
As the Trail Blazers traded Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby, two of our veteran starters, they looked forward towards the future. For Gerald, the Blazers acquired expiring contracts (both of which are out for the season), but namely a top three protected 2012 first round pick from the Nets. And for Camby, the Blazers again acquired two expiring contracts in Hasheem Thabeet and Jonny Flynn. Unlike the Nets’ players the Blazers received in the trade, Thabeet and Flynn could pan out and have the potential of landing a contract after season’s end.
Although in trading away two great players, the Blazers did lose a lot of their core, yes, but Aldridge spoke about how it has allowed the remaining team to get closer and work harder for one another.
The long-term plan is beginning to take form, as management looks to build around a young core of 26-year-old LaMarcus Aldridge and 23-year-old Nicolas Batum. But beyond that, it’s really up in the air as the Blazers are still testing the waters with a few of their players, specifically Raymond Felton, Jamal Crawford and Wesley Matthews. All three players have struggled this season, putting up career lows in far too many categories.
It seems nearly everyone had given up on our three struggling guards except Kaleb Canales, and in the Blazers’ first game of the post-McMillan era, all players posted solid lines. Chatter amongst the Blazer organization has revealed a tight bond between interim Coach Canales and his squad; this bond entails confidence, respect and most importantly, friendship.
Canales brings a newfound youthful energy to the team, something that has been lacking since their stellar 7-2 start at the beginning of the season. Many may have given up on the season already, but one Canales trait should not be overlooked, he works harder than anyone else.
This Blazer team has been given something few teams get, a second chance, and with a bright future ahead full of countless possibilities in free agency and bright young prospects via draft picks, they simply have nothing to lose.
There’s nothing more dangerous than a team with nothing to lose.