2013 Summer Plans
Did everyone forget about Tyreke Evans? He is the perfect fit for this team. He shot 48% from the field and even got up to a respectable 34% from 3 this year. He posted a PER over 18 and despite playing most of his minutes at SG or SF still posted almost 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game. His position flexibility alone makes him valuable off the bench.
While Evans is not a good defender, he is not terrible either; although, combining him with someone like Tony Allen would be awesome. Allen's perimeter defense would allow the Blazers to assign Evans an easier assignment every night and allow him to focus on scoring. Since Evans is more of a drive and kick guard he would need a couple shooters to pair with him. Matt Barnes would be a perfect fit he could play small forward or even stretch forward, he is a good tough defender and a solid rebounder, but he also can shoot the ball, effectively stretching the floor. Martell Webster would be a great addition to this unit as either he or Barnes could handle the PF spot and his 3 point shooting would effectively open the court for Allen and Evans to attack the rim. Run a combo of Meyers Leonard, Brandan Wright or LaMarcus Aldridge at the 5 and since all of them can hit from mid range they can effectively run pick and roll.
Since Evans, Allen and Barnes are all good rebounders for their positions when combined with someone like Leonard this team would more than hold its own rebounding despite a small ball lineup. Wright on the other hand offers better post defense and shot blocking than Leonard. Since Webster or Barnes might not be acquirable it is good that Portland has Victor Claver who could be interchanged with either. Although, Claver would need to improve his 3 point shooting to properly space the floor with this unit.
Why this is important: Well the odds of Portland finding that dominant defensive, shot blocking and rebounding center they need is slim. Therefore, it is important that Portland build a deep and versatile bench. That starts with Evans scoring ability and position flexibility. Veteran leadership and toughness comes with Tony Allen as well as the league’s best perimeter defender. Barnes adds a similar veteran presence, toughness, and a perimeter jumper. Webster is similar to Evans in that he can play 3 positions SG, SF, PF; however, his biggest value is likely to be as a stretch 4 and bench scorer. Wright is not capable of being a starting center and playing 35 minutes a night but he can provide 15-20 minutes of efficient basketball, shot blocking and some points.
Weaknesses: A lot of this success depends on Leonard and Claver continuing to develop. If Meyers can play an aggressive 25 minutes a night at Center and Claver can improve his perimeter jumper this team will be just fine. There is plenty of scoring available on this bench unit; furthermore, if Matthews or Batum get hurt we are at least 3 deep at those positions. Point Guard, I fully believe that Evans is capable of running the show on the second unit; however, it would probably be wise for the team add an additional PG. I do not believe Eric Maynor will be affordable for this team but if he is then he or someone like CJ Watson or Jannero Pargo would be a good cheap option.
How it happens: First trade Joel Freeland for any second round pick or euro stash player. Freeland makes around 3 million a year and while that is not a lot of money trading him for a pick or a euro stash player gives us a 3 million trade exception or essentially 6 million in extra cap room.
Second Tyreke Evans must be signed to an offer sheet, it will likely take around 10 million per for him not to be matched but if we work out a sign and trade, we might be able to negotiate that number down to about 8.
Third sign Tony Allen I fully expect Allen to have a ton of suitors so it will be important that we have enough money left to sign him for just over the MLE somewhere around 5.5 million. With the Freeland trade and a cap at 60 million Portland will have around 20 million in cap space, (note roster spots, our first round draft pick if we keep it and other factors play into that number as well.)
Fourth sign Martell Webster with our remaining cap space (Portland might have to do a sign and trade with Washington to make the cap work but 3-4 million should sign him). Pavlovic and Jeffries non guaranteed contracts could be used here.
Fifth Sign Matt Barnes we can use our trade exemption from the Freeland deal or our room exception to sign him.
Sixth Sign Brandan Wright using whatever exception was not used on Barnes. Those signings give us a 12 man roster.
Lastly sign CJ Watson, Delonte West, Jannero Pargo or another PG to the veteran’s minimum exception. The last two spots can be filled by minimum salary veterans or roster invitees.
For 68 million he is what your 2013/2014 Trail Blazers could look like
PG Damian Lillard
PG Tyreke Evans
PG ? Jannero Pargo, CJ Watson, and for all you fanboys and girls Coby Karl
SG Wesley Matthews
SG Tony Allen
SG Will Barton
SF Nicolas Batum
SF Matt Barnes
SF Martell Webster
PF LaMarcus Aldridge
PF Victor Claver
PF ? Louis Amundson, Tony Mitchell
C Meyers Leonard
C Brandan Wright
C ? Chris Anderson, Jason Collins, Gorgui Dieng
You might be asking what happened to our draft picks this year. Well if I am Portland, I am moving down in the draft to take Giannis Adetokunbo he should be available around the late middle to bottom of the first round. We also could use the #12 pick to draft for the Kings and use that pick as part of a package to sign Tyreke Evans. Portland would be well off if they could turn pick #12, #39, and #46 into. Adetokunbo, Tony Mitchell and Gorgui Dieng. Adetokunbo would stay in Europe for a couple more seasons while Mitchell and Dieng would fill those ? spots on the roster at PF and C.
Personally I think this approach is better than waiting around for a team to decide if they got a shot at Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum then trying to trade for a high price center like DeAndre Jordan.