Who Makes the 2013-2014 Trailblazer Roster???
The Trailblazers have 15 roster spots available with 12 of those being active spots on the roster. The NBA 2013-2014 salary cap won't come out till this July after all the teams earnings are calculated and that's when the current collective bargaining agreement kicks in with its extra tax penalties for teams who go out and spend excessively. With that said there will be some players possibly on the move from other organizations. This will prevent the instant championship rosters and encourage teambuilding. The Trailblazers were over the 2012-2013 salary cap by $5,000,000 with over 17 players on the roster throughout the season.
Players who are on the payroll for 2013-2014 as of now: LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, Damian Lillard, Joel Freeland, Meyers Leonard, Victor Claver, Will Barton (8 players). Eric Maynor has a qualifying offer and Aleksandar Pavlovic has a team option (2 players).
So now you address what the Trailblazers need to keep improving the squad and to enter the deep Western Conference playoffs. Is this need different than what last year's need was? Will filling this need punish the Trailblazers salary cap and if so by how much? Is the league changing styles of play, if so what does the league's new style consist of?
Look at the current playoff teams. Miami, New York, Indiana, Brooklyn, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Denver, LA Clippers, Memphis, Golden State, LA Lakers, Houston. Very few of these teams have the 1-2 punch from a true C and PF. Yes I realize there are PFs who play out of position at C. It would be safe to say you don't need those 2 stereotypical players to play starters minutes to be successful. Granted if you do have a All-star caliber true C your offensive and defensive intangibles increase greatly which might be good. I think the Trailblazers should be that Trailblazers of the new trend. Don't play other team's styles have them play the Trailblazer style. Implement a new 1-3-1 halfcourt zone and be faster and play those passing lanes. It sure has worked for Miami especially getting by with just the Birdman playing as a untrue C.
With that said should the Trailblazers think about getting rid of JJ Hickson? Hell no. If Meyers Leonard and another capable backup C can share platoon minutes between JJ and LA it will work. I think Claver and Freeland played pretty average so keep them on the bench and improve them unless you can trade up for talent.
The Trailblazers aren't giving away Hickson in a Big for Small trade to acquire a backup SG and backup SF especially since Will Barton proved he can play and belongs on the roster and is deserving of more minutes. So if the Trailblazers aren't going Big for Small in a trade its Big for Big or Big for Draftpicks. Who's getting rid of Bigs? Denver and Utah have an abundance of young and old Bigs but they would not get rid of an old Big for a new Big because they want their young Bigs getting experience. It's going to take some Draftpicks for Utah and Denver and that is where the Trailblazers have done well at in the last 5 years so I'm not sure if that would be a good idea. All of the young double double Euro talent is probably off limits which is Asik, Pekovic, Vucevic, Gortat. The Allstar overpaid Cs of the league are not the quick answer the Trailblazers need either. The Trailblazers aren't interested in starting an aging Big, we're trying to build remember. So what kind of players does that leave the Trailblazers? Players definitely who have less talent than JJ Hickson. If anything go after a tightwad organizations. Get Larry Sanders or Robin Lopez to platoon it up.
Resign JJ Hickson. Resign Luke "Deadeye" Babbitt. 12 players on this current roster with three spots remaining. The last 3 roster spots could be a lot of different players playing different positions. Draftpicks? Free Agents?
PG: Damian Lillard. Eric Maynor.
SG: Wesley Matthews. Will Barton.
SF: Nicolas Batum. Sasha Pavlovic
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge. Joel Freeland.
C: JJ Hickson. Meyers Leonard.
SF/PF(Stretch): Luke Babbitt. Victor Claver.
Olshey I want your job. :)