Apr 07

Blog Contest: Wishes...What Dreams Are Made Of

By SisillaRiann Posted in: Blazers, ElliotWilliams, JoelPrzybilla, LaMarcusAldridge, NicolasBatum, WesleyMatthews

What’s your dream? Everybody’s got a dream…

*The following provides a brief historical overview of the foundational moves the Portland Trail Blazers made throughout the 2012 NBA off-season that completed the base necessary to their becoming the 2014-15 NBA Champions. All entries are excerpts from Portland area media articles or blogs, and have been republished here with their permission.*

May 21, 2012

Today the Portland Trail Blazers released an official announcement that they extended a qualifying offer to third year Power Forward JJ Hickson, which he immediately accepted. Though details of the contract have not yet been revealed, it is likely Hickson received a substantial raise from his previous rookie contract after proving himself a highly capable backup for All-Star Lamarcus Aldridge. Earlier today, JJ broke the news via Twitter by saying, “Staying in Portland!!”


Mid-June 2012

Portland Trail Blazers announce acting General Manager Chad Buchanan has officially accepted an offer to become their General Manager, thus removing the acting label in place since June 2011.


Late-June 2012:

...Later this afternoon, the Portland Trail Blazers are expected to hold a press conference introducing their new head coach, Rick Carlisle. The Blazers aggressively pursued Carlisle after Marc Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks failed to secure a contract extension with him earlier this month. It was widely speculated that Carlisle might choose to look for opportunities elsewhere after the NBA defending champions were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round. A former Trail Blazer assistant coach under PJ Carlesimo from 1994 to 1997, Carlisle has openly admired both the city of Portland and the talent on the Blazers’ roster, most notably All-Star Lamarcus Aldridge. Carlisle replaces interim head coach Kaleb Canales, who took on the job after long-time coach Nate MacMillan was fired in March. Despite managing to lead the team to the playoffs with a 10-2 streak down the stretch of the regular season, the organization felt Carlisle’s proven track record was too good an opportunity to let pass by...


June 28, 2012:

   ...In a shockingly brilliant move today, the Portland Trail Blazers traded both of their first round picks, a second round pick, cash considerations and rookie guard Nolan Smith to Boston for Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, who will be entering his sixth NBA season. Widely considered one of the best point guards in the league, securing Rondo was an absolute coup for Portland, who has struggled to find an elite floor leader since drafting All-Stars Lamarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy. Rondo, drafted by Boston in 2006, finished second in the league in assists for the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season. With their remaining second round pick, the Blazers drafted shooting guard Darius Johnson-Odom, a four-year player out of Marquette University. Johnson-Odom joins fellow Marquette alumnus, Wesley Matthews...


July 2, 2012:

The Portland Trail Blazers announced today that they have matched a four-year, $42 million contract offer from the San Antonio Spurs for small forward Nicolas Batum. The fourth year player became a restricted free agent after the Blazers tendered him a qualifying offer immediately after the 2011-12 season ended. Highly sought after for his defensive skills, tremendous wingspan, and silky-smooth shooting touch, the Spurs wasted no time in extending the young Frenchman an offer they hoped would prove to be too pricey for the more cost-conscious Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen. Unfortunately for San Antonio, the Blazers proved they really did mean it when they said Batum was part of their future heading forward by quickly stepping up to match the offer. Nicolas expressed his relief and happiness via Twitter by tweeting, “So happy this is over, that I will get to go back to the Trail Blazers after the Olympics.” Batum plays for the French National team alongside Spurs guard Tony Parker.


August 20, 2012

...Following months of negotiations, the Portland Trail Blazers are finally bringing European big man Joel Freeland over to play in the NBA. Drafted 30th overall in 2006, the Blazers originally encouraged Freeland to remain in Europe and further develop his game. Frequently mentioned as a potential solution by both local media and fans as it became clear number one draft pick Greg Oden was not ever going to play for the Blazers again, the 25 year old, 6 ft 10 in PF/C appeared likely to remain in the Euroleague after he signed a five-year contract with Spanish club Unicaja Málaga in 2009. However, once the Blazers waived Greg Oden following a third micro-fracture surgery in March, the path was cleared for the team to guarantee Freeland the opportunity for real playing time, something reported to be one of his primary concerns about joining the Trail Blazers. After re-signing Center Joel Pryzbilla and Power Forward Craig Smith, and bringing back fan favorite Chris Johnson, it appears the Blazers are finished making moves this off-season, though they may still fill the final roster spot at a later date...


Late September 2012:

Training Camps open today for NBA teams over the league. Players here in Portland have been trickling in over the last two weeks, playing informal scrimmages and getting in individual workouts at the Trail Blazer practice facility in Tualatin. There was a high degree excitement about the upcoming season from many of the players, both returning and new. With proven coach Rick Carlisle at the helm, and Rajon Rondo as the new floor leader, it is widely speculated by fans, media, and the organization itself that this, finally, will be the season the Trail Blazers really break out. After agonizing years of watching a carefully crafted dream crumble at the mercy of Brandon Roy and Greg Oden’s knees, it seems everyone involved is ready to move beyond hope. Says “Ironman” Wesley Matthews, who so confidently predicted the Blazers would make the playoffs last season, “It is going to happen. Just watch.” We will be doing just that.

            Here is your 2012-13 Trail Blazer final roster:

                        Rajon Rondo

                        Wesley Matthews

                        Nicolas Batum

                        Lamarcus Aldridge

                        Joel Freeland

                        Jonny Flynn

                        Elliot Williams

                        Luke Babbitt

                        JJ Hickson

                        Joel Pryzbilla

                        Craig Smith

                        Darius Johnson-Odom

                        Shawne Williams

                        Chris Johnson

This is my dream, rife with impossibilities and bursting with belief. What is yours?

(Images taken from the Trail Blazer website and Google Images. Most player information was located at player profiles or Draft Express.)

*Here is a decent list of FA/RFAs for 2012. Meant to post it originally!*


  1. I like your blog but I do not Hickson accepting his qualifying offer which under rules would only be for one season. Therefore, Portland would need to match an offer sheet from another team. I just do not see your squad doing much more than barely making the playoffs as Chris Johnson has not shown much NBA game and Joel at times has looked pretty much ready for retirement. Combine that with Freedlands relative inexperience and you have a shaky front court.

    by cmeese47 on 4/7/2012 11:46 PM
  2. This was definitely fun to read.

    by Choong Huh on 4/8/2012 2:23 AM
  3. cmeese47 - I believe you are more likely correct than not regarding the front court. While composing this blog, I thought about posting a disclaimer explaining how uniformed I am regarding draft eligible players and this year's free agents at most positions. I recognize that Hibbert is likely the best option out there, and would perhaps be a great fit here in Portland, but I prefer to make decisions/wishes/conjectures based upon my personal knowledge. I could have said go after Hibbert and draft say, Drummond (giving up my dream PG in the process), but having little to no familiarity with their games, it just isn't my style to do that. I think this season is a superb example of how players/talent can look fabulous on paper, but have the exact opposite actual effect on the floor. Aside from all of that, I sincerely believe that Portland needs a superior point guard far more than anything else. As far as Centers go, I believe that a guy who can rebound and play good D is all that is necessary. Anything more, and Lamarcus, Nicolas, and Wesley all give up shot attempts. It is a very difficult thing to balance out a high-caliber PF with a high-caliber C, in my opinion. The best combinations couple a PG/perimeter player with a PF/C or have 2-3 ridiculously talented perimeter players. The Blazes already have an All-Star PF, so to me, it makes the most sense to balance that with an All-Star PG.

    Choong Huh - thank you :)

    by SisillaRiann on 4/8/2012 9:55 AM
  4. Enjoyable to read and hey, you never know right?

    by Yufffff on 4/8/2012 12:39 PM
  5. Thanks for the read and comment Yuffff. And yes, that was kind of my point. While everyone else took the approach of what they thought might really happen, or what was most realistic, I went a little more "pie-in-the-sky" :) I have been dreaming of Rajon Rondo for 3 years now!

    by SisillaRiann on 4/8/2012 12:49 PM
  6. Dwight Howard would have been on this wishlist somewhere if he hadn't completely imploded over the last few weeks. What a public relations and locker room nightmare! No thanks, not even for the best big man in the game today

    by SisillaRiann on 4/8/2012 1:04 PM
  7. Less informed than yourself re: draft and free-agent options, I nonetheless applaud the Rondo signing imagined here. Big time. I'm unlikely to forget his return to last season's playoff game after one of the most sickening injuries I've ever seen. Rondo is NOT one of the NBA's "fake tough guys" --oh, and he's an extraordinary point guard.

    Is this a practical scenario? No idea. All those picks and a promising young PG might indeed appeal to the Celtics, currently depending so heavily on aging veterans.

    I'm happy to watch Kaleb Canales finish out this season. He mostly likely has a brilliant career ahead of him, but is he ready to be more than interim? I don't know. It's possible to be too cautious and too reliant on experience. Carlisle is an amazing coach, however, and would be a major coup for POR.

    I might quibble about some of your reserves, but that's hardly the point, is it? The point is that the franchise is positioned to make some significant moves, even reaching for that "pie in the sky." The universe often has something far more interesting in mind than we can imagine, so we may as well dream big.

    p.s. Love the faux news clips approach. Damn, you're good. ;-)

    by occassia on 4/8/2012 1:40 PM
  8. Good blot and loved reading your fantasy. I don't agree with some such as rick carlisle does he fit in here as a coach? I don't know much about him. We need some back st and reserve pegs Flynn is great. Love rondo too. Hoping we can keep Nj hickson he is a good add for lma

    by oregongal47 view (TG) on 4/8/2012 2:03 PM
  9. Great blog EA!! The only problem I found with it...was your August 20th post, you left out the part where the Blazers decided to fly in east coast fan BlockParty on his birthday to celebrate the signing Freeland. I would be tasked that day of teaching Freeland how to speak southern.

    by BlockParty aka Teamship on 4/8/2012 2:53 PM
  10. Ocassia - LOVE Rondo. Love, love, love. I hear he is a prima donna, but I covet his mad assist skills. He barely has a jumper, but he can drive, get to the line, RUN a fastbreak, steal the ball, has superior court vision, is young, and can DISH THE BALL. And yeah, he's a legit court warrior ;) Thanks for the compliment on the approach. It came to me after two completed attempts, that I quickly scrapped. Thought this was more fun, less analytical.

    TG - I am really surprised you don't know more about Rick. I think the most important thing for me is that he guided the Mavericks to a title last season, after ten solid years of them underachieving with one of the finest PFs to ever play the game. That success wasn't ALL Tyson Chandler after all. Carlisle knows how to utilize the type of PF Lamarcus is (see his work with Dirk) and at this point, I think that is very important.

    Mike, aka Teamship, aka BlockParty - Thanks! Seriously, I would love to figure out a way to get our loyal fan from Charlotte here for a legit experience in the best arena in the NBA. Bake sale anyone??

    by SisillaRiann on 4/8/2012 4:57 PM
  11. That is as good a wish list as any I have seen. I only know about Rondo from what my dad has told me but he could be a good option for us. After last night's game I kind of like Dragic too. My only question is what we do with our third pick in the second round. And will we still have salary cap space to sign another solid player?

    by Angi on 4/10/2012 2:02 PM
  12. Great blog EA and congrats on your win.

    by blazerdarren77 on 4/10/2012 2:55 PM
  13. Winner, winner chicken dinner!! Nice job EA. This is well thought out and amazingly (dream) detailed. I love it. Can't say that I'd dream the exact same scenario, but pretty darn close! Congrats to you!

    by bigjeff911 on 4/10/2012 3:21 PM
  14. Angi - Not a salary wiz, but probably. Really depends though on what they have to give Nico and JJ to keep them. Think Rondo's contract's $10 and increases to $13 million in 2014-15 (he's in the 2nd year of a 5-year). Not familiar enough with college players, so I just picked a guy one of the mock drafts had the Blazers taking with the last pick. It's in the blog, but it was Darius Johnson-Odom. My stab at humoring Wesley, since he's from Marquette, haha.

    BlazerDarren - Thank you :)

    BigJeff - Again, thank you! I'm 100% positive NO ONE shares the exact same dream. This was a fun exercise in imagining what a person could do, if they could get whatever they wanted, without really taking into account the full reality of the NBA.

    by SisillaRiann on 4/10/2012 4:38 PM
  15. Angi - meant "probably NOT"!

    by SisillaRiann on 4/10/2012 4:42 PM
  16. Great wish list. Rondo would be my pick as well. Carlisle would be a great fit here. Glad to see Chris Johnson on your list as well. Well done EA

    by riverman on 4/11/2012 9:27 PM
  17. Thanks riverman :)

    by SisillaRiann on 4/12/2012 8:36 PM
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