I like this trade, for several reasons.
The Magoire Trade: 5-Point Analysis
1. I don't feel that anything we gave up was a big loss. None of the three pieces they dealt were major assets for the future. Milwaukee was in a similar situation with Magloire that Portland is currently in with Darius Miles: talented player who had been very good in the past, but had demanded a trade and is coming off a so-so year.
Blake had a very nice season in Portland and was surprisingly effective, but he wasn't a long-term solution and probably had his career year. He's a very careful player who can create a bit for his teammates (4.5 apg) and won't beat you with mistakes. His assist numbers weren't huge, but was 3rd in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio and Portland's anemic offense can probably account for a portion of that. We all know that Portland had (still has, actually) a glut of PG's and Blake will be a decent backup for the rest of his career. No more, no less, and I wish him luck. Skinner is a serviceable big man who can eat up some minutes at the 4 and 5, but having LaFrentz around eliminates the need for him, and he was essentially insurance in the event that Pryzbilla didn't re-sign. And finally, Ha -- do we even need to discuss him? I wrote when Ha made his debut that he might be the worst big man I've ever seen log an NBA minute, and though he's got size, the absolute ceiling for him would be a 10 minutes per game 11th man. I doubt he's still in the league 24 months from now.
2. It clarifies our PG depth. With the combination of Sergio Rodriguez being signed (see my earlier post - "Give me some of that spanish chocolate love" if you'd like to hear my thoughts on him) and Brandon Roy showing he can play backup PG minutes, Portland clearly felt they had a logjam at PG with Jarrett Jack and Dan Dickau also being in the fold. We've pared down the guys who can play PG, and potentially freed up both the starting spot for Jarrett Jack and some backup minutes for either Dickau or Rodriguez.
3. Magloire is a true center, and a decent offensive post-player. He averaged 10 and 10 last season in 30 minutes per game, and is more of a back-to-the-basket player than LaFrentz. This allows the team to play LaMarcus Aldridge at PF, and put Magloire into the game at Center so they still have a low-post scorer and a very good rebounder, allowing Aldridge to work in the mid-range. The team's depth chart in the front court is now a little more clear, and I see it as:
C - Pryzbilla, Magloire
PF - Randolph, LaFrentz, Aldridge
Yes, there will be times when LaFrentz and Randolph play together, but I also think there will be times that Magloire and Randolph play together.
4. The team stuck to their guns about Miles. Portland didn't execute a "trade just to make a trade" regarding Darius Miles, as I've been afraid they would do. Everyone knows that Milwaukee needs some depth at the "3", and you know that they asked for Miles. But we also know that Miles and Outlaw are the only true SF's on Portland's roster, and they simple cannot trade Miles without getting a SF in return. So while I wish they could have found a way to make it work, at least they stuck to their guns.
5. And finally, the roster was cut down. The Blazers were carrying 15 contract players prior to the trade, and now we're down to 13. The last thing this team needs, with all of its young talent and potential, is to be bogged down with convaluted roles that include mediocre veterans. We got rid of two MV's and took a small step toward clarifying some roles.
Catching up on a few other loose ends while I've been traversing the Orient:
- First of all, two high-quality posts by Lochi while I was out of the country -- including the clear frontrunner for Post Title of the Year: "Get Busy Livin', Or Get Busy Dyin'." Excellent work.
- Quick note on the potential trade of Zach Randolph: I don't think it will happen for a moment this offseason. Not only did Portland have the league's worst offense last year and they'd be trading their best and most consistent offensive player, but I believe Zach's trade value is a bit low and it will take at least the first half of next season to get it back to where the team can receive adequate value in return. Granted, with Pryzbilla, LaFrentz, Magloire and eventually Aldridge, they've got the depth to be able to make that deal -- I just don't see it happening yet.
- As for the team's roster as it stands, they've got 13 guys, which means one player will either be on the "inactive" list or sent to the NBDL. I imagine that player will be either Rodriguez or Dickau, with the frontrunner being Rodriguez. He may have more potential than Dickau, but because of his service time, Dickau cannot be sent to the NBDL so the team would have more options with Rodriguez.
- An update on projected minutes-per-position:
PG: Jack 25, Dickau 15, Roy 8 (DNP: Rodriguez)
SG: Webster 25, Roy 15, Dixon or Outlaw 8
SF: Miles 25, Outlaw 15, Roy or Webster 8
PF: Randolph 28, LaFrentz 15, Aldridge 5
C: Pryzbilla 28, Magloire 15, LaFrentz 5
Update: Jason Quick is also reporting the trade here.