The Blazers have a new backup point guard with the trade today to acquire Eric Maynor from Oklahoma City. The deal is reportedly for a $2.2 million trade exception and the draft rights to European stash away Giorgio Printezis (drafted in 2007, the Thunder will be the fifth NBA team to hold his rights).
Eric is expected to back up Damian Lillard at the point and, perhaps, team with him on the court at times. He comes to the Blazers with a 3-1 career assist-to-turnover ratio and 23 games of playoff experience with the Thunder.
To make room for Maynor on the roster, a player had to be let go. As most know right now, that player is Ronnie Price.
When Ronnie was signed last summer, he was touted as a veteran who could come in and show leadership while mentoring Damian. In fact, it was widely reported that he had already the two had worked out several times together previously. In other words, they already had a professional relationship. It was a perfect fit.
Blazers fans already know about the success Damian has had during his rookie year. It's spoken nationally about his poise and fearlessness. I can't help wonder what kind of boost he got from Ronnie in those areas. Not to say he didn't have an abundance of that himself, but we can only imagine how his mentor's contributions to his growth and adjustment to the NBA impacted his success. These are some of the intangibles of being a seasoned veteran, a leader and a positive locker room presence about which are so often discussed in league circles. It would not surprise me if it had a good-sized hand in it.
Ronnie Price and the Kings' Marcus Thornton pursue a loose ball.
Ronnie has been bothered by an ankle injury all season long. He's gone through a couple stretches this season where he's missed games, but he's still that veteran in the locker room which is valuable to a young team like the Blazers. He appeared in 39 games, averaging 2.7 points, 1.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.7 steals in 13,1 minutes per game. He teamed with Nolan Smith to provide backup for Damian and, in my opinion, did some very nice things on the court in his short tenure with the Blazers. Some fans might have liked to have seen a little more consistency but, frankly, that's hard to do when you have such an inconsistent bench rotation as the team has had this season.
Reports were that Ronnie would like to come back and play for some team this season, and certainly would seem to want to play in the NBA beyond that. Why not? As he showed this season, he is steady and has quite a bit left to offer a team.
Faithful fans of the Blazers have a saying: Once a Blazer, always a Blazer. Sure, there may be one or two players we would like to scratch off that list, but by no means is Ronnie one of them. I will fondly remember Ronnie's time with my hometown team.
Thank you Ronnie, and best wishes for the future.
In Kassandra's Words features periodic blogs throughout the year. Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged. Seasons begin and end; players come and go; our Blazers are forever. Please follow on twitter: @PDXKass