Friday, March 16, 2012

Portland Trail Blazetrs Blow Up Roster

At the trading deadline on Thursday Portland decided to blow up their lineup.  Not saying change wasn't needed.  They have 11 of their last 16 games and the team seem to have checked out.  To that end coach Nate McMillen was fired.  Not a bad coach, in seven seasons he twice had 50+ win seasons and 48 wins in 2010-2011.  His tenure was tough as franchise player Brandon Roy couldn't stay healthy and Greg Oden who was supposed to anchor the middle also couldn't stay healthy.  Still the dissapointment of this season was just too much and they both had to go.  Greg Oden was released Thursday.  He was mainly on the payroll as a possible dispensible contract to add to trades and clearly it was time to part with the former number one overall pick . 

Gerald Wallace was traded to the Nets for a first round pick and some throw ins.  With the draft this year projected to be deep and New Jersey playing poorly this was a great pickup.  Even so, Wallace was a nice pickup last year from the Bobcats.  He is very good defensively and shoots a high percentage but was a victim of the rebuiling effort.  Marcus Camby goes to Houston in a deal for Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn and a 2nd round pick.  Portland saves a few dollars this year and it is doubtful Portland will keep either of the 2009 draft busts they received in this deal.  The contracts of all players involved expire at the end of the year so that is a wash.  The 2nd round pick is nice but you can never count on a 2nd round pick to bring you quality.  I really like Marcus Camby so I might be talking from the heart here.  I would have liked to have kept him.  Even with diminishing playing time he is the guy in the middle.  Won't score much but he'll protect the basket and give you good defense even at 37.   

Two trades that didn't happen may be as big as any that did.  Raymond Felton who was acquired in the three team trade last summer that sent Andre Miller to Denver wasn't moved.  He is shooting a career low 37% and though he is averaging six assists a game he hasn't shown anything to say he is the point guard that will lead this team to the next level.  Rumor has it he was shopped to anyone and everyone and the fact he is still in Portland tells ya something.  Rumors I had read had Jamal Crawford leaving town with a few teams having above average interest.  He is scoring at the same clip as last year but his 40% shooting percentage isn't making believers of fans or the team.  As ishe is a luxury.

Were these the right moves?  Portland wasn't going anywhere with the roster as is.  It is a tough decision to start over but sometimes you have to do it whether it is popular or not.  It will also make for some tough games to watch the rest of the season.  Everyone's hope is that this year's draft will be as deep as folks say there is.  These trades also put Portland in position to have tons of cap room.  Maybe they'll make a run at someone decent.  The lack of a true general manager has to be addressed as well as deciding on a coach.  Much to do this upcoming offseason.  Still I have hope and can't wait to see what the future holds.   

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