Friday, November 09, 2007

Closing up shop

After 2 1/2 years and over 40,000 hits, Blazersblog is closing its doors.  Thank you for all of your support -- and GO BLAZERS.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

BlazersBlog Featured On HoopsHype

Jorge over at has been running a feature entitled "Bloggers Corner", and he asked us - along with a few other blogs about the Blazers - to answer a few questions.  Enjoy.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance


I can't seem to get past #4.

My first post in two months, my triumphant return to the blog, and all I can produce is a gloomy, depressed "sigh". I keep, as you likely do as well, staring at the screen, reading the headline and looking at the picture of Greg Oden, hoping that it's not real. (Denial.) I haven't read the story yet because I know what it'll say: Portland's good luck turned bad, ridiculous comparisons to Sam Bowie, devastating news, etc. It's nothing that any of us don't already know, and it's not going to help to read it. We've already taken a hard punch to the stomach today; let's not exacerbate it. (Anger)

Portland's 2007-08 season which 4 hours ago seemed so promising will now have a cloud hanging over it. The development of our best and brightest player, our dominant monster who's going to lead us to the promise land, has been cut off; our hopes and dreams brutally sucked away; betrayed and stolen like a jealous wife discovering her best friend in bed with her spouse.

Please allow me to advise you to not talk yourself into any of this "he could be back by March and help the team push into the playoffs" nonsense -- I went through that phase about 10 minutes after finding out "the news", but it's fool's gold. (Bargaining.) I think we've all learned by now that it takes 12-18 months to fully recover from microsurgery. Do the names Zach Randolph or Amare Stoudamire ring a bell?

There is a silver lining, but you have to look awfully hard. For our own sanity, let's give it a try:
We still have a lot to look forward to for the Blazers' season. It's an exciting, talented young team which still has one of the brightest futures in the league. They won 32 games last year, and solely from the growth of Roy and Aldridge (not to mention having them for a full season), a potential step forward by any of Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster, Jarrett Jack, Sergio Rodriguez or Channing Frye, they've probably improved by 5 or 6 wins already. The team wasn't going to win a championship next year anyways. And you know what, we still have B-Roy, and we still have LaMarcus, who's probably ready to make The Leap.
But that Leap is going to be about 75% harder without The Big Fella patrolling the paint next to him. (Depression).

A few notes from the press conference:
  • The doctors performed a full microsurgery and it was successful
  • Oden will spend 6-8 weeks off of his leg; following that, he'll be out for the full season, 6-12 months
  • The club did MRI's on both of Oden's knees prior to the draft and they were "pristine"; even having the MRI results examined by three independent doctors
  • Going into the knee surgery, one of Portland's doctors speculated that a microfracture surgery might be necessary so it was not a total surprise
  • Greg and his mom said "sorry" to Kevin Pritchard probably "20 times" after coming out of surgery and finding out what needed to be done
  • "I can't underemphasize how bad he felt...because he feels that he's let us down."
  • The doctor who performed this surgery is the same guy who did Zach Randolph's microfracture
  • McMillan: "Certainly it's tough as it is, we have to move on. Injuries are a part of sports."
  • "This team is a long-term investment...we like the direction this team is going in; Greg Oden is a great addition and we'll just have to make that addition a little later than we hoped."
  • KP: "You never say never, but at this point in time, we don't expect him to come back at any point this season....we do expect him to fully recover but don't have a time table."
  • This doesn't open up a roster spot for Portland; Oden remains one of the 15 guys on the team's roster.
Putting aside the excruciating emotional trauma for a moment and trying to think technically, what could this mean for Portland's rotation? Obviously Joel Pryzbilla re-claims the starting center position, and LaMarcus Aldridge probably gets a little more burn at Center as well. Those two and Channing Frye will get the bulk of the frontcourt minutes, and likely one of Raef LaFrentz or Josh McRoberts will need to emerge as a reliable backup.

Who knows. I'm not quite sure what else to say. For crying out loud, Nate McMillan made comparisons to losing his mother two years ago. This is devastating news, and all of us in Blazer Nation are feeling a lot of pain today. Email us your thoughts and we'll post the best replies. Vent your heart out. I'm not ready to move on to "acceptance" yet, and neither should you.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Oden Surgery

This is not good. Hopefully it's just a minor scope, but anytime your cornerstone center is having his first knee surgery before he's even played a game for you, you're allowed to worry. Here's the story from ESPN:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We May Have Something Here

Rudy Fernandez was named the FIBA European Player of the Year and he's still lighting it up for the Spanish National Team. It's entirely possible that he's the final piece of the puzzle at the small forward position and Pritchard knows it. Would it be all that surprising if they went into 2009 as the trendy pick to win the Title with this starting 5?

Chris Paul
Brandon Roy
Rudy Fernandez
LaMarcus Aldridge
Greg Oden

Considering their ages, their potential contract status at that time, and their games that appear to fit very well together, that could be a legitimate dynasty in the making.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm posting essentially on a weekly basis until camp starts and The Moderator is MIA at the moment. We'll be back to daily business here in about a month.

And yes, I've noticed how awesome Team USA looks. Carmelo is still awesome in that format, potentially the best player in the world at that sytle of game. Kobe's defense and Redd's snipering is the difference and could make them borderline unbeatable in China. I also still think Oden will be on this team when they head to the Far East.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tournament of the Americas

I'm bumping around the channel guide last night and to my surprise I found basketball, and real basketball at that. Needless to say I had to watch this incarnation of Team USA after their flop at the World Championship last year. They obliterated Venezuela, who should probably start Johan Santana at point guard, they'd certainly be better. The final was 112-69 and I did not make it to the end, they were up 44 in the third quarter and I figured that was that. I do have some thoughts on this version of the team (shocking).

  • Carmelo, LeBron, and Kobe do kind of look awkward on the floor together. I actually kind of wonder if LeBron is a good fit for this style of play. Carmelo clearly is, he's our best international player by a mile, and Kobe is just so dominant on both ends of the floor that he has to play. If LeBron can turn into the passer of the 3, then they could be almost unstoppable.
  • Kobe's defense is a serious upgrade, as is Tayshawn Prince coming off the bench.
  • I like Chris Paul as much as the next guy, but Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups are better for this style. They're much more in control and set up guys in the exact position to hit shots.
  • Michael Redd makes a huge difference, Team USA would be the world champions right now if they'd had him. You just simply can't sit back in a 2-3 zone with him on the floor. And when the back court is Billups, Kobe, Redd, they'll just destroy a 2-3 zone. Then when you come out of it Kobe just takes his guy for an easy bucket.
  • Greg Oden is going to be on this team next year. If Tyson Chandler is on it right now, then it's a no brainer Oden will be going to China. Plus they're going to need another athletic big man to play along side Howard against teams like Greece.

Some final scoring numbers: Carmelo had 17, Michael Redd 17, Kobe had 14, Amare 16, Dwight Howard 12, and LeBron had 11.

Update: How come nobody has told me about the sweetest bald spot in the league? Everyone knows Manu's is great, and it is, but apparently Michael Redd developed a great one over the summer. Wait till you see it, it's quite enjoyable.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bring Out Your Dead

I assure you, we are sill alive. There's just not a lot going on right now, just kind of waiting for camp to start and things to pick up. Since we're all dying for some info, here's a few things I could find but none of it is really that shocking.

Ime Udoka is finalizing his deal with the Spurs. Should be a good fit, he's kind of a poor man's Bruce Bowen anyway.

Aldridge has left the Washington Generals portion of the US National Team scrimmages. Apparently he has some discomfort in his heel and is going to rest up for camp. I have a feeling Aldridge is going to lead the team in scoring and rebounding this season. I know Roy's the popular pick, but Aldridge could thrive with Oden getting all the attention. He's my pick to make The Leap this year.

Rudy Fernandez is tearing it up for the Spanish National Team over in Europe, putting up 16 and 7 in a 93-69 victory over Venezuela, which is odd because Venezuela is most definitely not in Europe. Sergio is also on that team, had a 6 points and an assist (hat tip to the Oregonian's Blazer Blog for that story).

And...that's about it. It's pretty dead around here. Football is on the TV again, baseball games are starting to feel a lot more tense, which means basketball season is right around the corner. Hang in there.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Western Conference Tier Trauma: Version 1.0

Below we have our first Western Conference Tier Trauma, pre-season edition.  As always, the teams are listed by grouping, and within the group in order.  We don't believe in true "rankings" around these parts, so we have teams set into four groups: Heavyweights (title contenders), Cruiserweights (very good teams who are still a player or some growth away), Middleweights (borderline playoff teams), and Lightweights (terrible teams).
Tier 1: The Heavyweights
San Antonio
All of last season, we assumed it would be a two-horse race to the finish: Dallas versus Phoenix.  But Dallas got upset in the first round, San Antonio beat Phoenix in the second round, and Utah ended up in the Western Conference Finals by default.  I still believe Phoenix and Dallas are the most talented teams, but until someone either knocks off San Antonio or they've shown themselves to take a big step backwards, they're still the favorites.
Tier 2: The Cruiserweights
I don't believe that Utah will repeat their performance from last year -- I don't even think they'll win the division -- but I've included them here because it's tough to deny how well they played at the end of last season.  They're a candidate for relegation so keep an eye on their first 20 games.  Houston and Denver on the other hand wouldn't surprise me to take "the leap" this year.  The Rockets stole Steve Francis, hired Rick Adelman, made a nifty little acquisition in Luis Scola, and are looking like a scary team this year.  I believe Bonzi Wells will do much better under Adelman than he did under Van Gundy, and with Yao's continued dominance (he was the best center in the NBA last year, and I can't believe this didn't get more pub) Houston could very well join the "big three".  Denver will probably win their division, and I don't think the loss of Steve Blake will hurt them that much.
Tier 3: The Middleweights
Golden State
LA Lakers
New Orleans
LA Clippers
One of the more interesting groups to watch.  Teams like Golden State, the Lakers, the Hornets, and the Blazers could win 45 games and contend for a 6-seed, or they could win 35 and be out of it by late February.  You'd be shocked how thin the line is between those two win totals. All of these teams are either extremely thin and carried by a few star players (Lakers, Hornets, Clippers) or young and blossoming teams who will be very strong in future years (Blazers, Grizz).  Frankly, I'm not quite sure what to make of the Warriors just yet.  I still like their team, but trading away Richardson was a huge mistake that I think will end up costing them big-time.  Two other quick notes: I created these rankings after the news that Elton Brand was going to be out at least 6 months, maybe 12, with an achilles tear, so the Clip got knocked severely for that.  Also, I'm not quite as high on the Blazers' win total for this coming year as many of you are.  I love this team in the future, but I think we've got one more year of non-playoffs before things really start looking sweet.  We'll obviously have more on that in the coming weeks.
Tier 4: The Lightweights
Three horrible teams.
That's it for now. 

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Ho Ho Ho

If you had any doubts about what kind of impact Greg Oden has on the Blazers, look no further than the schedule in his rookie year. The schedule just came out this morning and the Blazers have a couple of marquee games on there.

They open the season in San Antonio on October 30th. That's right, the home of the Champs while they hang their banner and Oden's first game will be against Tim Duncan. Thanks for that.

They make their triumphant return to Christmas Day basketball. They will be the third game of the annual triple header, hosting the Sonics. You might notice that means Durant v Oden I will be quite the spectacle here in the Rose City.

Some other first impressions, San Antonio, Dallas twice, and a 4 team Eastern roadie in the first month of the season. Yikes. They have two 6 game home stands, one in December and one in late January/early February, and they have a monster roadie in January, 7 games in 10 days that goes Toronto, Jersey, Boston, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, New Orleans.

If you're thinking playoff push in April, they got no favors handed to them. They play the Lakers twice, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Phoenix in 6 of their 8 April games.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dog Days

We've reached the down time portion of the off season, except in Boston apparently, where you just kind of sit around and wait for camp to open. Here are some notes from some various news sources that have been bouncing around in the last few days.

Oden will likely not play for Team USA this year. He's going to rest up and get ready for his rookie season. I think this is good for the Blazers obviously, Oden will have plenty of chances to play for Team USA down the road.

Kevin Pritchard recently told the Oregonian that the roster is set and us fans shouldn't expect any other major moves. That makes it all but certain that Outlaw or Jones will be the starting small forward on opening night, with Martell Webster being the long shot.

The Blazers are about one draft away from setting up their own team in Europe with all the players they've got stashed over there.

The Garnett deal is obviously good for the Blazers in the short term. They've moved to the third best team in their division, with the Sonics and Wolves being arguably the two worst teams in the Western Conference. I do kind of like the nucleus the Wolves are starting with, and with all their draft picks they kind of look like the Blazers two years ago.

As for the Celtics, in honor of The Donaghy, two days ago they were 100-1 to win the NBA Title, today they're 5-1. They were 75-1 to win the East and are now 5-2. That says about all you need to know about the deal from their end.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


One of the most fascinating, relatively new analysis methods for baseball players is judging players statistically against all players throughout the game's history and coming up with their most similar players. There's a couple of ways to go about it, the Baseball Prospectus runs theirs through a computer system called Pecota, and runs theirs through a system called "similarity scores". Pecota is based on projecting the future and similarity scores is based on what they've actually done so far. Well, as you might imagine, there is some ground breaking work being done on this front in basketball as well. If you'd like to know more about the method behind this madness, there's a link at the end of this that will explain it all. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the current Blazers roster and where their similarity scores lie, note that these are most similar at age and based solely on past performance, not projecting what they will be:

Brandon Roy: Jason Richardson (Ray Allen & Paul Pierce make an appearance on his list)
LaMarcus Aldridge: Michael Doleac (yikes, see disclaimer below)
Travis Outlaw: Michael Doleac (this isn't exactly going as I had planned)
Martell Webster: Marvin Williams
Jarett Jack: Joe Dumars
Joel Przybilla: John Salley (apparently we've entered the Detroit Pistons part of the program)
Steve Blake: Pearl Washington
James Jones: Kenny Walker (of former slam dunk champ fame)
Raef LaFrentz: Herb Williams (no idea)
Sergio Rodriguez: apparently not enough data
Channing Frye: Sharone Wright (and Michael Doleac making an appearance at #2)

Grain of Salt Disclaimer: Each of these contain 10 most similar players, I'm just putting out the #1 guy on the list. For example, LaMarcus also has Al Jefferson, Chaz Villanueva, and Vlade Divac on his. Basically for the younger guys it has a really wide range that could go either way. It would also appear that when they have a wide range they always throw Michael Doleac on there. He's got to be the most comparable player in the league just looking at this small sample size.

Overall, not all that surprising, a lot of young players that could still go either way but there's some real promise there. That's kind of the "firm grasp of the obvious" way to look at it. Then there's the Greg Oden factor. As we all know, he changes everything. The link explaining similarity scores is listed below.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

70% (Updated to 57%)

Stories are starting to come out about the games a certain ref worked under the orders of Uncle Junior Soprano, apparently 70% of the games he refereed hit the over. That's astonishing. He should be indicted for that alone. If you hit 70% of anything gambling wise you're either a cheat or you built a time machine out of a Delorean and already know the outcome and are just losing enough not to get caught. I think point spreads would be a little tougher to fix from a ref's standpoint, but still certainly possible. The over/under would be extremely easy to fix though. It appears blatantly obvious that the 30% of the games they didn't hit the over were games that they weren't wagering on, obviously it's quite a red flag if games you're reffing happen to hit the over 100% of the time.

UPDATE: Appparently the numbers above are not entirely accurate. Here's an excerpt from's Wayne Drehs and his analysis of the subject:

"In the two seasons in which the FBI is investigating Donaghy for allegedly fixing games for gambling purposes, Bell found that NBA teams scored more points than Las Vegas expected (hitting the over) 57 percent of the time when Donaghy was part of the officiating crew. With a league average of 49 to 51 percent, the odds of such an occurrence are 19 to 1."

"When Bell analyzed the numbers from the two seasons before the two in question, he discovered that in games Donaghy officiated NBA teams scored more points than Vegas expected just 44 percent of the time."
"Although the 13 percent difference might not seem that jarring to the casual observer, it's jaw-dropping in the world of sports gambling. Bell said the odds of a 44 percent probability happening 57 percent of the time are about 1 in 1,000. "

I echo The Moderator's thoughts on this as well, I don't think this will destroy the league. Unless there were players and hordes of refs involved and this was the tip of the ice burg, then that might have a lasting effect. Baseball didn't suffer too much overall when the Pete Rose stuff was coming out, but it did when the 1919 Chicago White Sox threw the Series. That really hurt the game and until the Babe started doing his thing in the Bronx, baseball was on the ropes (note: there's obviously a lot more to this, but this is a basketball blog). It would be much worse if they found out the Dallas Mavericks threw the series against the Warriors.

Onto some Blazer related stuff, it would appear the mystery starting small forward for the Blazers is going to be James Jones or Travis Outlaw. I'm somewhat ok with this, Jones is a gunner and Outlaw is a slasher, they should complement each other well in a sort of baseball player platoon split kind of way. I get the feeling that they're just waiting for Fernandez to get over here after this season and then go with the run and gun style with Sergio, Roy, Fernandez, Aldridge, and Oden. Is it too soon to call Sergio and Rudy "The Spanish Armada"?

Does anyone else get totally fired up when they're driving on the freeway and see the giant Greg Oden jersey on the side of the Rose Garden?

Monday, July 23, 2007

(chirp, chirp)

That sound you don't hear are the crickets chirping away because nothing is going on with the Blazers. At least that we're privvy to. So let's catch up on a few other items around the league.

1. Ime Udoka. Nothing much has changed from Portland's perspective...he appears to be out. Portland doesn't have a roster spot for him and doesn't have much cap room, either. The most that Portland can/would give Ime would be a 2-year, $1.35 million per year deal with a team option for a third. A guy like Udoka doesn't get the chance to "cash in" very often, so he should - and likely will - receive more than $2.7 million in guaranteed money in whatever deal he signs. I'm not buying the three-year, $12 million that his agent is claiming, but I'm sure he'll end up with a $5 - $9 million deal at some point. He's a good guy, and I hope he gets paid. The Spurs and Grizzlies appear to be the most likely destinations right now.

2. Desmond Mason. It appears that he is going to sign a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, thank god. I say "thank god" because this means he won't be available to Portland. In fairness to Kevin Pritchard, he's never hinted that Desmond Mason is on his radar, and given all of KP's statistical analysis I highly doubt he'd be interested anyway. But the last thing the Blazers need is an on-the-downside player who relies on his athleticism and can't shoot.

3. Tim Donaghy. I won't expound any more on the situation than has already been said, other than to make two quick points. First, while we are only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of what will be exposed ...I'm just not buying the theory that this will have any sort of major effect on the league's popularity. The game and the league is bigger than all of this, and I suspect that once all is said and done - which , granted, may take awhile - the only real effect this will have is how closely the league monitors its officials. And second, I'm a little annoyed at the lack of depth in some of the coverage. For example, it was revevaled today that "20% of the games Donaghy officiated had the point spread move by two points, due to heavy action on one side of the wager." Fair enough... but how does that compare to other referees? What is the league average? Is that by far the most of any referee, or is it just near the top? We need more information before that number is useful.

Frankly, I find this whole thing more "funny" than "shocking"; it was only a matter of time until this happened. NBA officiating is terrible, and if this fiasco results in better on-court refereeing than perhaps it will all have been for the best.

4. Troy Hudson. Remember him? He's a crappy SG who supposedly plays great defense and shoots the ball well. Portland gave him a huge offer sheet three years ago when he was a restricted free agent - something like 5 years, $32 million - and the Wolves thankfully matched it to retain him. Since then, Hudson has averaged roughly 8 points, 1 rebound, and 2 assists per game while shooting 40% FG and 35% 3PT, with PER's of 12.38, 10.74, and 11.1. Well, the TWolves have had enough of that, and they're negotiating a buyout. I don't know what is more stupid -- giving him that offer in the first place, or matching it. But we should all give a big "thanks!" to Kevin McHale for matching that ridiculous deal, and be thankful that it wasn't us who got saddled with Hudson.

And finally, for those who haven't heard, Portland's pre-season schedule has been released:
  • Wed., Oct. 10, 7pm: Blazers vs L.A. Clippers, Rose Garden
  • Fri., Oct. 12, 6pm: Blazers at Denver, Coors Event Center Boulder, Colo.
  • Sun., Oct. 14, 11am: Blazers at Atlanta , Philips Arena
  • Fri., Oct. 19, 7pm: Blazers vs Sacramento, Rose Garden
  • Sun., Oct. 21, 6pm: Blazers at Sacramento, Arco Arena
  • Wed., Oct. 24, 7pm: Blazers vs Seattle, Rose Garden
  • Fri., Oct. 26, 7pm: Blazers vs Denver, Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center
This guy is getting FIRED UP for the season to start. Let's go, Blazers.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

If Anyone Would Know, It's Him

Everyone listen up - Jamaal Magloire says the league has gotten soft!

"This league has changed a whole lot since I've been a rookie and a second-year player. It's gotten soft," proclaimed Magloire,

My question: is he talking about the seats on the end of the bench?

Magloire played about 20 minutes per game last year, averaging 6 rebounds and 3 fouls.  I can see why a guy who's lighting up the NBA like that would have those types of things to say.

The Blake Conundrum

I agree with my co-author in that Blake is far from the type of player who will elevate this team into "contender" status. But is that what Portland needs?

i wrote at the time of the signing that:

"I'm not convinced that Jarrett Jack is a long-term solution at PG for a playoff-caliber team...but I'm also not quite sure what has changed about Steve Blake since the last time he was here. I think that averaging 6 assists per game while being the only pass-first player playing next to a couple of mad gunners like Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony isn't that impressive."

But thinking a little more about this, and taking a closer look at the numbers, it's starting to make a little more sense. Blake piloted a pretty good team last year -- the Nuggets went something like 15-7 (Editor's note: it was actually 16-6) to finish the year once everyone got healthy and acclimated to each other, and they gave San Antonio their toughest playoff series of the playoffs. And I keep going back to the fact that with Roy, Aldridge, and Oden, you just need role players to fill the gaps -- and Blake is that type of role player. Plus, since it's a three year deal, he's basically here to help facilitate the transition from "young guys with promise" into "bad ass conteders". We don't need him to take us to the next level; we need him to play well while our studs mature.

Also, his 6 assists/2 turnover averages was in 22 minutes per game, so if he plays 30 , you can probably give him 8 assists per game. Do you know how many players averaged 8 assists per game last year? Five. Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Baron Davis, Chris Paul, and Derron Williams. And check out Blake's April numbers. He played 30.1 minutes per game and averaged 7.7 assists. In February, he played 35 minutes per game, and averaged 8.4 assists per game. Denver was a better offensive team last year, averaging 105.4 points per game (third in the NBA), than Portland will be this year so we can't expect the same amount of production purely based on the fact that he won't have as many possessions to generate those assists. But given what Portland needs right now, given what we're paying for Blake, and given the flexibility it gives our roster both from a trading perspective and an on-court perspective, I've gone from "optimistic but wondering why" to "fully in favor" of this signing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why Steve Blake?

That's the question that's been bugging me for a week or so now. I know he loves living in Portland, and still has his house out in West Linn. Hey, I love Portland too, and I certainly don't mind if anyone else loves my city and wants to live here, but is that really a qualification for being the starting point guard on an emerging power in the NBA? Let's take a look at Steve Blake and see what exactly we have since they just gave him a good chunk of the MLE to be their point guard.

When he was 25 years old he played a full season in Portland, 68 games, 57 starts. He averaged 26 minutes per game, 8.2 points, 4.5 assists to 1.2 turnovers, and was generally a fairly average player on a team that won 21 games. He never annoyed me, but I wasn't exactly blown away.

Most of his perceived value comes from his play in Denver last season, he was traded from the Bucks to the Nuggets early in the year and in the Mile High City he played in 49 games and made 40 starts. He averaged 8.3 points, 6.6 assists to 2.1 turnovers. The spike in both assist and turnover numbers could easily be argued as being a result of dribbling up the floor, passing to Iverson or Carmelo, who then jack up a shot.

According to, his three most similar players are Pearl Washington, Jay Humphries, and Bryce Drew.

So what exactly do we have here? He looks like a fairly steady player, but I certainly don't see an upper tier NBA point guard there. I would certainly wager more on Jarrett Jack at 24 years old becoming an upper tier guy than I would Steve Blake at 27. On a side note, Jack's most similar player is Joe Dumars.

If the long term plan is "just hold it together at the position for a few years and see what you've got with Jack and Sergio, but we need a veteran to stabilize things" then I suppose I'm ok with the signing. It's not long term, it's not a lot of money. If they think he's the starting point guard that will take this team to the next level then they appear to be valuing his intangibles more than his tangibles, which I think is a serious mistake at the point guard position.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Fought The Outlaw - And The Outlaw Won

Jason Quick’s new “partner”, Joe Freeman, is reporting that the Blazers and Travis Outlaw have agreed to a three-year, $12 million contract. It’s unclear whether the third year is fully guaranteed or a team option.

I like this signing. Even if last year's progression was his plateau, I think you can get away with paying a 20-minute per game, 10 point, 6 rebound player $4 million per year. That's not a contract that could even come close to crippling the franchise, and with Travis being so young, he still has some room to grow. At this point in his career, we can probably forget about Travis turning into an all-star, but the skills and statistics are there to indicate that he has the ability to turn into a solid role player and perhaps starter. It's another solid move and I think the potential positives of this signing outweigh any potential negatives.

T- T- T- Travis & The Jets

Jason Quick said yesterday that he spoke to Travis Outlaw, and he thinks he'll have a deal inked with Portland soon.  I'm hearing 3 years, $15 million, team option for fourth year at $6 million, but we’ll see what happens.  Regardless, it sounds like Outlaw will be back, which I can’t decide is a good or a bad thing.  More on that later.

I'm still curious to see what the team does with their glut of PG's and young PF's.

PG: Jack, Blake, Rodriguez, Green

PF: Aldridge, Frye, McRoberts, Freeland

Clearly Aldridge and Blake aren't going anywhere, but those are about the only guarantees.  There isn't room for all of those guys.  You'd think Freeland will go back to Europe, but that’s not set in stone.  He'll just ride pine over there anyway because his coaches won't play him.  He’s the best big man on the team, but they don't want to invest anything in him when they know they'll lose him next year.  Since McRoberts and Green already signed guaranteed contracts, they’ll be making the 15-man at the very least.

Also, don't count out Roy playing a pseudo-3 position.  Not because he will play SF, but because Nate’s talking about going with a faster three-guard lineup next year.  Blake, Jack, Roy, Aldridge, Oden.   That's interesting to think about.  Or how about this, Sergio, Blake, Roy, Aldridge, Oden.  Wow.  It may not be the greatest defensive team in the world, but those guys would streak past everyone not named "The Phoenix Suns".  I’d love to see that lineup in short bursts.

Here is Portland’s full, updated depth chart with the Blake signing, and assuming Outlaw is back:

PG: Blake, Jack, Rodriguez, Green, Kopenen
SG: Roy, Webster, Fernandez
SF: Jones, Outlaw, (Miles)
PF: Aldridge, Frye, McRoberts, Freeland
C: Oden, Pryzbilla, LaFrentz

* =  likely heading back to Europe

I still think there will be another roster change, but I don't see where Portland has room for any of Koponen, Freeland, or Fernandez right now on their roster.  They all have to go back to Europe this year (we already know Fernandez is).  And I don't see where they have room for Ime unless they trade 2-for-1, or 3-for-2.

Portland gets 15 spots; 12 active and 3 inactive or NBDL.  Guys in Europe don’t count towards that.

1. Blake
2. Jack
3. Sergio
4. Roy
5. Webster
6. Jones
7. Outlaw
8. Aldridge
9. Frye
10. McRoberts*
11. Oden
12. Pryzbilla
13. LaFrentz
14. Miles*
15. T. Green*

* = likely inactive or NBDL under this scenario

Unfortunately, Miles has to be counted as one of the 15 unless he signs the medical retirement buyout papers in August — which I’m hearing he may not do, as there’s a chance he could be back playing basketball by December.  Feel free to roll your eyes at that one.  And because Portland signed McRoberts and Green to guaranteed one-year deals, they’re guaranteed roster spots.  So there’s no room for Ime or Freeland unless Portland makes another spot-opening move.

Non-Blazer Related Sports Blog Note

One of the best sites on the internet that I’ve mentioned in the space before is Deadspin ( It’s a sports-satire site that I recommend highly to anyone who will listen. They’re one of the top sports sites on the internet — I believe it is the most trafficked sports blog – and they’ve linked to us a few times, so we feel obliged to pass along any good news. The guy who runs the site, Will Leitch, made a guest appearance on ESPN Radio with Scott Van Pelt last week and the audio clip can be found here:

It’s a great listen. Will is one of those few guys who is still a blogger, he hates ESPN like the rest of us, but his site is so successful that it’s mainstream enough to actually matter so he’s stuck in a bizarre middle-ground. He got in a few nice digs but cracked a few one-liners, and while it’s not like any new ground was broken you have to admire the efforts of both guys on this broadcast. Van Pelt is one of few likeable ESPN personalities and Leitch, while perhaps a better writer than broadcaster, brings up a few interesting points.

Edit: Awful Announcing has a fantastic take on this whole thing. Click the link or paste in this URL address-

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Details on Steve Blake Deal

Here's the deal: 3 years, $12 million.  The third year is a team-option as we suspected.
So by my count, the club still has about $1.35 million of it's MLE to offer to another free agent if they want.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Blazers Sign Steve Blake

Hoopshype, RealGm, and The Rocky Mountain News are all reporting that Steve Blake has signed a three-year contract with the Blazers. The News even has a quote from Blake:
“That's OK, if that's the direction they want to go," Blake said in a brief phone interview. "I just decided to go back to Portland."

No news yet on the dollars, but I imagine it’s in the $5M - $5.3M per year range.

A couple of things about this. One, the Nuggets had agreed last night to sign PG Chucky Atkins to a contract; so it’s quite possible that Portland reached agreement with Blake yesterday and he had notified the Nuggets that he wouldn’t be back. Two, to me this indicates that Jarrett Jack is almost certainly getting traded. And three, if Portland spent its entire MLE on Blake, that means Ime Udoka is almost a certainty to not be brought back.

Although we can't really evaluate this at face value until we know the contract numbers, I have mixed feelings on this deal. First of all, I'm not convinced that Jarrett Jack is a long-term solution at PG for a playoff-caliber team...but I'm also not quite sure what has changed about Steve Blake since the last time he was here. I think that averaging 6 assists per game while being the only pass-first player playing next to a couple of mad gunners like Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony isn't that impressive. Also, it is surprising that Portland would give Blake a three-year deal since the club seems to be positioning itself to be massively under the salary cap in two years. Finally, a big part of this as well is that we need to find out if there's a subsequent trade involving Jarrett Jack being sent out for a SF. That will be another factor by which to judge this signing...if Jack nets us a good SF, then this has to be considered a win. Knowing KP, I'd be shocked if there wasn't another deal in place because as of right now we have four point guards signed to guaranteed contracts next season: Blake, Jack, Rodriguez, and Taurean Green.

Updated Blazer Depth Chart:

PG: Blake, Jack, Rodriguez, Green
SG: Roy, Webster
SF: Jones, (Outlaw?)
PF: Aldridge, Frye, McRoberts
C: Oden, Pryzbilla, LaFrentz

Inactive list: Miles
Europe: Freeland, Koppenen, Fernandez

Other non-Blazer items floating around the net:
  • The "Mike Bibby to Cavs" trade talks are back on, with Drew Gooden as the main return-piece.
  • Morris Petersen has agreed to a four-year deal with the New Orleans Hornets.
  • Uncle Cliffy, Cliff Robinson, has been released by the Nets.
  • Eddy Curry is supposedly annoyed that the Knicks acquired Z-bo.
  • Derek Fisher has signed a three-year deal with the Lakers.
UPDATE: Jason Quick is reporting that Portland's agreement with Blake is a two-year deal, with a team option for a third. Shows you how much Blake wanted to play here if he was willing to agree to that.

Ime Gets Offer From Spurs

Mike Barrett is reporting that the Spurs have offered Ime Uodka a 3-year, $9 million deal.

This is a real tough call for Portland. From what I have been able to gather based on KP’s statements and Jason Quick’s reporting, Blazer management was hoping to land Ime to a 2-year deal at about $2 million per. A smart bid by the Spurs, and it will be interesting to see what Portland does. Given the team’s desire to re-sign Travis Outlaw, and given the uncertain status of his situation along with James Jones’ presence, I’m afraid we may be saying goodbye to Ime over the weekend. Despite his 3-point shooting and intangibles, I'm not sure that Ime is worth a three-year contract, and my sense is that Blazer management probably feels the same way.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bobcats Re-Sign Gerald Wallace

It looks like the Charlotte Bobcats are going to re-sign Gerald Wallace to a 6-year, $57 million deal. That’s a nice signing for Charlotte; they get their young, talented leading scorer back and don’t have to break the bank to do it. I think most of us thought Wallace would get a deal in the $10-$12 million per range, so 6 and 57 isn’t too shabby.

The reason I bring this up is that things are relatively quiet on the Blazer front today, and I’ve been thinking for a while that I like what Charlotte is doing with their team. They’ve got a nice young PG in Ray Felton, acquired Jason Richardson to play the “2”, have Wallace at the “3”, and Emeka Okafor on the front line. Throw in Adam Morrison and Sean May off the bench, and that’s a darn good nucleus right there. Combine all that with a new coach - Marc Iavaroni, whom I was pushing hard for Portland to hire two years ago - and I might even go so far as to say that Charlotte may be a playoff-caliber team in the East. I expect them to fight for a playoff spots this season and they might just be a legitimate center (sorry, Primoz Brezec and Jake Voshkul) and a few years’ experience away from being a legitimate force in the East.

Quick Speaks

A few notes from Jason Quick’s blog post today:

Pritchard said he was pleased with the Francis buyout, which is believed to be around $30 million. The Blazers negotiated a 50 percent offset in the deal, meaning the team will get 50 percent cap relief from whatever Francis earns in the next two years... Pritchard also said that Portland fans will be pleased with the Jones addition, noting that the 26-year old has the personality to be a locker room leader. I asked Pritchard if he expects Jones to be the starting small forward this season, and he hesitated, saying he wasn't sure if he was done making moves. It confirms a suspicion I've had ever since the draft was done: Pritchard still has one big move left....Also, Pritchard reiterated on Wednesday that the team will sign free agent Travis Outlaw. The only sticking point is how much they will pay him. Outlaw is a restricted free agent, meaning the Blazers can match any offer given to Outlaw, so the hold up is waiting to see how much other teams will offer him.

All of this are items we have suspected here, but it’s good to see a legitimate source put them in print.  Very interesting.  So Jason agrees with us that there’s another big move coming, the team is planning on bringing Outlaw back, and they’re excited about Rudy Fernandez.  Good stuff.

James Jones / Rudy Fernandez Deal Complete is reporting that the James Jones & Rudy Fernandez deal is complete.

All that’s said is that Phoenix has traded Jones and the draft rights to Fernandez to Portland for “cash considerations”. I believe this deal also includes the trade exception that Portland received in the Knicks deal.

And for those of you still confused as to how everything went down, here is the chain of events.

1. Portland sends Randolph, Dickau, and Fred Jones to NY for Francis, Frye and a trade exception.
2. Portland uses the trade exception to take James Jones off of Phoenix's hands, but also purchases the #24 pick for their troubles.

So essentially, we've traded Zbo, Fred Jones, and Dickau for Frye, James Jones, Rudy Fernandez and a bunch of cap space in two years.

I still think we could have done more with Zbo, but it's not a terrible place to have ended up. I also still believe there will be another deal this offseason to further address the small forward position.

Blazers' Roster

Now that Steve Francis is officially gone, we can update the Blazer roster.

PG: Jack, Rodriguez, Green (Koponen: staying in europe)
SG: Roy, Webster (Fernandez: staying in europe)
SF: Jones (Miles: inactive list)
PF: Aldridge, Frye, McRoberts, Freeland
C: Oden, Pryzbilla, LaFrentz

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Removing the Europe and Inactive guys, that comes to 13 players. If you assume they’re going to add one more small forward (outlaw, a free agent, whomever), that makes 14 players.

Which says to me that clearly there isn’t room on the team for all of Taurean Green, Joel Freeland, and Josh McRoberts. For this reason alone I think the Blazers will encourage Freeland to head back to Europe for one more year, and probably give the last roster spot to either McRoberts or Green, with the odd man out going to the NBDL. Or if Freeland stays stateside, perhaps two go to the NBDL. Talent-wise, I’d lean towards keeping McRoberts over Green, but as you can see we have a lot more big men than we do guards, so I wouldn’t assume quite yet that will be the case. Of course this could all change pending any trades, but as of today, that’s where we stand.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Steve Francis: Dead And Gone is reporting that Steve Francis' buyout is complete and final. 
The Blazers will be paying approximately $30 of the $34 million remaining on Francis' deal.  I don't think this is much of a surprise as none of us really expected Francis to ever play a single game in a Blazer uniform.  I'm not clear yet on whether this saves $4 million on next year's cap or not, but we'll keep you updated.
Congratulations, Clippers -- enjoy.

Clarifying Something: Signing Outlaw vs the MLE

Just to clarify something for all of you out there...I’ve seen some confusion on a few of the Blazers messageboards regarding whether it will require Portland using the mid-level-exception to re-sign Travis Outlaw.

The answer is simple: no. The Blazers drafted Travis, and he has played for them for four years, so they own his “bird rights” which means they can match any offer that he receives and it does not affect their mid-level exception. It would affect their total salary and hence would have luxury tax implications, but they can match any contract and they would still have their full MLE to use even though they would be over the cap.

The team who offered Travis the contract would either have to 1. have cap room, or 2. use some or all of their own MLE to present him with a contract offer.

Ime Udoka, on the other hand, does affect the MLE. So if they re-sign him, whatever his annual contract amount is would get deducted from the MLE available.

Hope that clarifies things.

Oden To Chill

Greg Oden's rather dubious debut in the Vegas Summer League is officially over. He apparently has tonsils the size of golf balls and he needs to have them out ASAP. He'll be back in Portland resting for the next week or two. By all accounts, this is a good thing, his non-stop tour had started to wear on him and the Blazers obviously need him ready to go this fall. I'd be surprised if he isn't with Team USA in some capacity when they start their camp next week though.

On a side note, since we all love gambling, the night before the Draft the Blazers were 80-1 to win the NBA Title this year. The day after the draft they are 30-1.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Regarding the Ime Uodka situation: Jason Quick is reporting that Udoka’s agent claims to have a three-year, $12 million offer on the table.

He’s also reporting that Kevin Pritchard is saying this is much more money that Portland is willing to pay Ime. This comes as a big relief for me, for two reasons.

One, it appears that Portland is all set up to both give Roy and Aldridge large contract extensions and make a big free agency play in two seasons. So I’d be surprised if they gave Udoka a contract larger than two years. Two, there was a bit of concern on my part that Portland would overpay for Udoka – who, let’s admit it, is a 10th-man at best on a good team – because of his local ties and “feel good” story. But Pritchard saying three years at $4M per is too much makes me feel a little better about this. My sense is that Portland would be more than happy to bring Ime back at say — 2 years and $5 million total. Maybe two years and $7 million. But three and twelve? I doubt that’s happening. And if you’re Ime, I don’t think you’re willing to give Portland much of a home-town discount. This is your one shot at a big-money deal and I don’t think you give any of that leverage away.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Crazy Summer

The Summer League just keeps getting stranger and stranger as the years go on:

  • Greg Oden fouled out of his first game...with 10 fouls.
  • Asian Darko would have joined him, but after picking up 6 in the first quarter and 7 by halftime they didn't play him anymore.
  • According to Jason Quick, none of the stats are relevant because they half ass it, and that's being nice.
  • Martell Webster sucks (ok, not everything is strange down there)

Yes, I realize this sounds like rationalizing Oden's debacle of a debut. He certainly looked tired from the beginning and reached for everything and they were fairly legit fouls in every case. But keep in mind this is a league where Travis Outlaw has looked like one of the breakout stars in the league.

Some things I did like, obviously Aldridge is a great player. He could easily be the best player on the team this year. His game is exactly what I like in a PF, runs the floor, hits mid range jumpers when they're there but also can hit little hooks and cuts to the basket when the other guy is double teamed. Oden getting doubled and hitting a cutting Aldridge for a dunk is going to be a regular occurrence this year. I also thought Taurean Green looked like the best guard they had, certainly better than Sergio, who looked about as uninterested as Oden.

Overall, yeah, that was pretty much rubbish.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Steve Francis - An Optimistic View

Felt obliged to pass along this view of Steve Francis for your disposal:

Now THAT was a jersey

Spicing Things Up Around Here

As you noticed, we’re spicing things up a little bit around here. This being a blog about the Blazers, we figured that perhaps we should – you know – have some Blazers colors and all. So that’s nice. Only took us three years to figure that one out.

We’ve also added a few graphics and a video reel along the righthand side. Those video clips should be switching out pretty frequently, so enjoy them. When you click on a video, it should start playing right here in the post area. I have only figured out how to have partial control over which clips are shown, so apologies if some of them are painful Blazer highlights.

That’s all for now. Enjoy the new “features”.


D-League News

Kind of funny to read that as a headline, huh?

Regardless, Portland’s D-League team will be somewhat of a story this year given the deep roster.  Players like Joel Freeland, Taurean Green, Josh McRoberts and Petteri Koponen will all be candidates to play in the D-League this year.  

Ladies and gentlemen, the Idaho Stampede.

Portland will share Idaho with the Seattle Supersonics.  Meaning that Freeland and Green will be running the court with players like Big Baby Davis, Carl Landry, Randy Livingston and Andre Brown.  

Go Stampede.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Oden The Rookie

Greg Oden isn't going to average 30 points, 20 boards, and 10 blocks a game as a rookie, but what is he going to do? Here's a look at the dominant big men of the last 30 years in the NBA and what they did when they entered the league.

Tim Duncan: 21.1 points, 11.9 reb, 2.5 blocks
Shaq: 23.4 points, 13.9 reb, 3.5 blocks
The Dream: 20.6 points, 11.9 reb, 2.7 blocks
Patrick Ewing: 20.0 points, 9.0 reb, 2.1 blocks
David Robinson: 24.3 points, 12.0 reb, 3.9 blocks
Moses Malone: 18.8 points, 14.6 reb, 1.5 blocks
Lew Alcindor: 28.8 points, 14.5 reb, no block data available
Bill Walton: 12.8 points, 12.7 reb, 2.7 blocks

Now, obviously Oden is similar in style to some, completely different in other cases, but at least this is somewhat of a guide to what we can expect. The game's also gone through changes in defense, tempo, officiating, etc. For the most part the scoring is on an upswing but certainly nowhere near some of those players rookie seasons. Therefore, the official Lochi prediction for Greg Oden's numbers this year in Rip City are as follows:

18.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.7 blocks. Basically I think his offensive game is a tad less polished than most, but I think his defensive game and rebounding is as good as anyone when they entered the league.

Today's Fun Fact

Last season, the Knicks averaged 77 field goal attempts per game.  Zach Randolph, Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry and Jamaal Crawford are all players who need 18+ shots per game.  Quentin Richardson, David Lee, and Nate Robinson are players who need 10+ shots per game.

That’s 102 shots already, just from 7 players...someone’s got to give.  

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Rashard Lewis: Coming Clean

Let me come clean to about something I think about Rashard Lewis:

He’s not a max player.

Even if Portland could have acquired him in a sign-and-trade, I wouldn’t have been in support of it if the contract was a max deal or close to it. Lewis is a tall, athletic shooter, and that’s about where his skills end. He does not play much defense. He does not rebound. He is not a leader and doesn’t make those around him better. He’ll give you 20 points per game...and that’s about it. Which is fine — you need guys like that to fill it up. But a max deal? Has he ever been the best player on his own team? Probably not, and he won’t be with Orlando, either.

Eeesh. I wouldn’t give him a max deal if I were an NBA owner or GM. And it’s not like Orlando is one player away from a championship; even in the LEastern Conference. Heck, signing Rashard also means they can’t sign Darko now, which is a moderate loss for a mid-level team.

He’s a talented played and a good scorer, but it’s a somewhat questionable move.

Of course, because we're all about equal time and opportunity here at BlazersBlog, I present with you a sort-of opposing view courtesy of John Hollinger at

"...adding Lewis and renouncing Milicic is a clear upgrade. While Milicic's potential is notable, few would ponder a Milicic-for-Lewis trade for long before pulling the trigger."

That's why the deal ends up being a winner from Orlando's end. This team still has plenty of work to do to separate itself from the East's huddled masses, but between the hiring of Stan Van Gundy and the impending signing of Lewis, nobody has had a better start to their offseason than the Magic."

Today's Fun Fact

Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry combined to average 0.7 blocked shots per game last year.

Trades and Odds

In case anyone was wondering how the Blazers could just acquire James Jones from the Suns for nothing, it comes back to the Randolph trade. According to Canzano on his blog over on the Oregonian's site, Assistant GM Tom Penn fleeced Isiah out of a $3 million trade exception in the deal. The original deal was to be Webster and Randolph for Frye and Francis, but by trading three people for two, they acquired the $3 million trade exception. Let's just say that I had no idea this rule existed in the CBA, pretty sure the Knicks didn't, but luckily our guy did. The Blazers then used that trade exception to acquire James Jones for nothing.

There's been rampant speculation about who the starting SF is going to be when the Blazers open the season, so in the spirit of the Las Vegas Summer League, here are the odds for who that may be. First some ground rules, when oddsmaking you have to realize that people that are currently on the roster have a better chance than someone who's currently employed by another franchise. The Blazers have stated that unless someone does something crazy, they will likely match any offer to Outlaw, but Udoka is potentially going to be the odd man out. Anyway, the odds, based on rumors from around the league:

Starting Small Forward on Opening Night:
Travis Outlaw: 3-1
Jimmy Jones: 5-1
Ime Udoka: 7-1
Corey Maggette: 10-1
Shane Battier: 10-1
Gerald Wallace: 15-1
Marvin Williams: 15-1
The Matrix: 20-1
Mo Peterson: 25-1
Q Richardson: 25-1
Des Mason: 30-1
The Field: 10-1

Monday, July 02, 2007

Updated Blazer Depth Chart

Blazers' Depth Chart, including all players that they control rights to or may retain:

PG: Steve Francis, Jarrett Jack, Sergio Rodriguez, Taurean Green, Petteri Koponen
SG: Brandon Roy, Martell Webster, Rudy Fernandez
SF: James Jones, Travis Outlaw, Ime Udoka, Darius Miles
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge, Channing Frye, Josh McRoberts
C: Greg Oden, Joel Pryzbilla, Raef LaFrentz, Joel Freeland

That's 18 players, and you can only have 15 between your active and non-active roster.  But ...

-Koponen, Freeland, and Fernandez probably stay in Europe for another year so that's down to 15
-They probably only keep one of Udoka/Outlaw, so that's down to 14
-Taurean Green probably goes to the NBDL, down to 13

We all know that Francis is gone, whether that's via trade or release; although we don't know which it will be so we still count him as one active roster spot for right now.  If I had to guess, they buy out Francis (rumor is that there was already a deal with NY in place to buy him out and Portland is going to honor it), and trade either LaFrentz or Pryzbilla along with a pick or Fernandez’s rights or something like that for the starting SF we all want.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Things I'm Hearing

A few rumors floating around...
1. The SF that Portland has acquired in the deal that can't be announced yet may be Shane Battier.  I don't have a clear picture of what would be going out yet.
2. Another name I've heard for the potential small forward is Boris Diaw. 
3. Kevin Pritchard was on Sports Business Radio over the weekend, and he let it out that the player Portland has agreed to acquire is an "acclaimed" one.  Take that for what you will. 
4. I also have it on good authority that Portland contacted Gerald Wallace of the Charlotte Bobcats today to feel him out.
5. Steve Francis' agent was in Portland on Saturday to meet with Kevin Pritchard and Tom Penn.
6. Joel Pryzbilla's "Base Year Contract" status expired on Sunday, so it's a very strong possibility that he could/would be a part of any deal, which also may cause some of the delay.

A Cheesy Video Of Rudy Fernandez Highlights

Courtesy of the Oregonlive Blazers Forum...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Summer League Roster

#0 Taurean Green
#2 Josh McRoberts
#6 Stefano Mancinelli
#8 Martell Webster
#11 Sergio Rodriguez
#12 LaMarcus Aldridge
#18 Rick Apodaca
#31 Zendon Hamilton
#41 Joel Freeland
#42 Mo Charlo
#52 Greg Oden

I do find it interesting that while coming up with a starting lineup for that team I still can't find a starting small forward. Their 4 guaranteed starters will likely wipe the floor with the Vegas Summer League: Sergio, Martell, LaMarcus, and Oden. Might be interesting to move Martell to the 3 and play Sergio and Green together, yes, I like Taurean Green and I think long term he's going to be a very good player.

I wouldn't expect Oden to play that much in the Summer League though, he's also got to work out with Team USA. If I'm not mistaken, he will be the first Blazer to be on Team USA since Steve Smith. Looking at their roster, Oden should get a lot of playing time if not start. Brad Miller was their starting center, Oden's clearly a better option, but they do have Amare as well. Oden's going to get great experience at a high level of international basketball over the summer. I also wouldn't be overly surprised if Roy and Oden were on the team in the future. Roy's style of play would be ideal for the international game.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Obviously, There Are More Moves Coming

Nobody will be able to convince me that Portland got as much value for Zbo as they could have.

Of course, I seem to be the only person who thinks Golden State got ripped off by sending Richardson to Charlotte for a #9 draft pick – so what do I know.

Back to Portland for a moment. Clearly, there are more moves coming, and the if the Zbo deal was made to make room for another deal that was already in place, then I reserve the right to re-evaluate it. Pritchard said in the press conference last night that “we have used this draft to acquire other pieces in a trade we can’t talk about yet because of the league requirements, and we feel like we have the “3” position locked down for next year.” So there’s more to come and we can all calm down a little bit. (“we” means “me”, for the record, since I seem to be in the minority amongst folks railing against the Zbo trade.)

I’m hearing that Portland didn’t get James Jones for "cash", but that he was a part of the deal for the #24 pick. And for the record , I really like the McRoberts pick. I don’t see him getting much burn behind Aldridge or Frye, but I do think he can be a decent backup PF – in the mold of a pooer man’s Shane Battier – okay, a homeless man’s – and getting him in the second round is a great spot.

So let’s talk about the new depth chart. Who's our backup shooting guard right now? Because Martell was pretty much playing "3" last year exclusively. I’m guessing they're going to try to turn him back into our backup 2. Maybe Steve Francis? I guess...but he's too small (even though his game is more like a 2 than a 1) and I think we all sort of know that he won’t be playing a single game for Portland this year.

Here’s the new depth chart, not including Koppen or Fernandez (staying in europe) or Nichols (part of Zbo deal):

PG: Francis, Jack, Rodriguez, T. Green
SG: Roy, (empty)
SF: Jones, Webster
PF: Aldridge, Frye, McRoberts
C: Oden, Pryzbilla, LaFrentz

I bet Taurean Green goes to the NBDL, even with a potential Francis buyout.

Thank god we have four points guards, six frontcourt players, one SG, and not a single starter-caliber SF. Obviously there are more moves coming.

Update, 10:14 am:

Following is a transcript of that portion of last night's press conference, as best I can understand it:

KP: “I can’t talk about it right now, but we’ve added some pieces in this draft through trade, and we feel like we’ve got that three position solid.”

(Are there other deals in the works right now?)

“Just the mechanics of it, that the league has to process, we can’t talk about them.”

(Does that mean there are other possible trades in the works right now?)


(Outside of the New York trade?)


(What’s the timetable for when it can be announced?)

“It’s one that’s not going to get processed tomorrow or in the next couple days, it’s going to take a week or so.”

(You’re saying it involves a small forward?)

“I am.”

(Can you explain the difference between the trades that can be announced today and the trades that can’t?)

Pritchard then turned it over to Asst GM Tom Penn: “We have to formally finish the New York trade before we can formally do another trade.”

(Is it a sign-and-trade?)


Wow. You can bet we'll do everythign we can to try and figure out what this other deal for a SF is.

The Aftermath, I love it

I have the complete opposite opinion as the co-author of this blog. I think last night was the final nail in the coffin of the dark period for the franchise. They have their core, Roy, Aldridge, and Oden. They got rid of the guy that needed to go for a variety of reasons. They also added a ton of flexibility, they can pretty much do anything with the roster now.

(UPDATE: According to Pritchard, via the Oregonian, there is another trade that can't be announced until the New York deal is officially finalized with the league. It involves a small forward.)

The Blazers don't need Zach Randolph anymore. He's counterproductive to the style of play of their core players. Zach's offensive game has become give me the ball and then I'll run the shot clock down and try to score. He gets in the way of pick and rolls because he wouldn't get out of the way. He also was standing in the way of the front court of the future (and the front court of the NOW) in Portland, Aldridge and Oden, and has 5 years remaining on a max contract. He had to go. I'm glad he's gone.

Could the Blazers have got a starting small forward for him? Maybe. I think what this comes down to is whether or not you trust Kevin Pritchard and his vision for what he's doing. I'm pretty sure he's got targets, whether in free agency this year or next year.

Rumors were running rampant last night that the Blazers were going to buy out Stevie Franchise's deal. I do think he's a bad fit as well, a shoot first point guard isn't exactly what this team needs.

The bottom line through all of this is that the past is now officially behind them. I trust Kevin Pritchard's plan, whatever it may be. In roughly 365 days he's dumped the entire disgrace that was that 21-61 team. I'm sure their trading and wheeling and dealing isn't done.

Some final draft notes:

They acquired James Jones from the Suns for nothing. He's an outside shooter that plays the 3. I suppose it's a good flier since they gave up nothing for him.

They drafted Josh McRoberts in the second round. This makes my head hurt. I think he's got no real future as a post player in the NBA. He is one of Greg Oden's best friends and supposedly a good guy. I guess if you're going to have a useless player on the inactive list you might as well get your franchise center a buddy.

They drafted Taurean Green in the second round. I like this pick. He reminds me a lot of Jarrett Jack. I think if injuries happened to Jack or Sergio then he's an adequate replacement.

They drafted Demitrius Nichols, small forward out of Syracuse. Update: He's headed to the Knicks as part of the Randolph trade.

They acquired the rights to Rudy Fernandez and Petteri Koponen, Euro guards that everyone seems to really like but will stay over in Europe for another year. Fernandez appears to be the one that everyone is freaking out over. He's a 2 guard that can "do it all" as they say, and apparently is a deadly shooter as well. Koponen is a 19 year old point guard from Finland, nobody seems to know much else about him other than he plays for some team called the Honka Playboys, which is awesome.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Done Deal, And I Hate It

Zbo, Dan Dickau, and Fred Jones to the Knicks for Channing Frye and Steve Francis. It's a horrible trade, and there are a million things wrong with it -- but I'm only going to list five of them here.
  • How do you trade Zbo and not get a starting SF in return? How are you going to get our starting SF now?
  • Steve Francis is awful. He's got a terrible attitude, he's a shoot-first point guard who will take the ball away from Roy, Aldridge and Oden, and goes against everything that Portland is trying to build.
  • If Portland is indeed going to buy out Francis' deal, then they traded one of the league's best low post scorers for a backup power forward. Wonderful.
  • Channing Frye = a poor man's LaMarcus Aldridge. That's worth giving up Zbo?
  • Anyone who says that Frye will start at the "3" is insane.

Clearly I'm not happy about this deal at all, and more investigation needs to be done. Stay tuned and we'll try to figure all of this out. In case you're wondering, here's our new depth chart:

PG: Francis, Jack, Spanish Chocolate

SG: Roy,

SF: Udoka, Webster

PF: Aldridge, Frye

C: Oden, Pryzbilla

It's not that I have a huge problem with that depth chart as it is; I just feel like Portland missed a HUGE opportunity to make it a lot better. They still don't have a quality starting SF; they don't have a good backup for Roy; and they're likely to release Francis with nothing in return.

In other news, it appears that Portland has purchased Phoenix's #24 pick and is having then select Rudy Fernandez; a 6-5 shooting guard. He's got a $1 million buyout in his contract with his Spanish team (which Portland can't pay), so he isn't likely to be here until the '08-'09 season. So it's nothing to worry about yet or get excited about to quell the disappointment of this terrible Zbo trade.

Live Blogging: 2007 Draft

Here we go, the 2007 NBA Draft live blogging. Each of us will have a smart ass comment about every draft pick except for the Blazers, who will be free from most angry heckling, what a difference a year makes. Apparently there's a trade that's going down already, Ray Allen to the Celtics for the #5, Wally, and West. I'll say this for the Sonics, if they can move Ridnour for that #11 pick and end up with something like Durant, Conley, and Noah that would be one hell of a remake job. Anyway, our Portland Trailblazers are on the clock.

A few other notes: Mike Tirico is hosting this shindig with STEPHEN A SMITH, Mark Jackson and Jay Bilas on the desk with him. Just an abomidable broadcasting team. Oh, and Joakim Noah is sporting a seersucker suit with a gigantic bowtie and his hair down. Just when you thought he couldn't look any more like a tranny.

And Jim Gray just reported that Golden State is getting into the KG sweepstakes. Anyhow, on to the picks:

#1: Portland Trailblazers: Greg Oden

Moderator: Just as we all hoped, Oden is the man. He might be the 50-year old man, but he's the man none the less. We've all kind of thought this would be the case for the last month since Portland won the lottery, but I don't think any of us were 100% sure. I'm glad to see it is. I feel better now. Portland now has its franchise center of the future - he's going to change the team as much as B-Roy did last year. Roy, Oden, and Aldridge: our fantastic threesome from this day forward.

And we won't talk about how Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr look and act like a gay couple in their ESPN ad together. Just move along. Not that there'd be anything wrong with that.

Lochi: I'll have more about this tomorrow, but honestly, I've never cheered for a team that's had a dominant center. I've always just been pissed off that other teams have them and my team doesn't. Well that all just changed. Greg Oden is our man. Start measuring for banners in the Garden, flags fly forever.

#2 Seattle Supersonics: Kevin Durant

Lochi: Hey that's great. I would have missed the Sonics and I think Durant just saved basketball in Seattle. They might as well just title this draft "A Rivalry Reborn" and I can't wait. Durant will probably be more impressive, but Seattle is going to have no answer for Oden for the next 15 years.

Moderator: Durant will be fun to watch for the next several years. He may put up better rookie numbers than Oden ... but I'd be shocked if Seattle won more games. Congrats to the Sonics and their fans; they got almost as luck as Portland did in this lottery and draft. I don't think this saves Basketball in Seattle though; it's probably too late unfortunately.

#3 Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford

Moderator: The Hawks were faced with a choice between drafting for need (Conley) or drafting for best available, commonly thought to have been Al Horford. Well, the Hawks have drafted a forward in the first round for the fifth consecutive year (to go with Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Josh Childress, and Shelden Williams). I don't really have much to say about this pick except I feel sorry for Big Al because he's goign to an awful franchise. I can't really fault them for taking Horford here, but if it were me I would have either taken Conley or traded the pick.

Lochi: I don't mind this pick just because I'm not that crazy about the other 4 forwards they took and I like Horford. Basically that's the reason Chris Paul doesn't play in Portland, but we wouldn't have Oden so that doesn't piss me off as much as it used to. They should trade Marvin or Childress for another piece and draft Law with the #11.

#4 Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley The Deuce

Lochi: Yeah, let's see how good he is without Greg Oden taking up all the defenders on the floor.

Moderator: Conley is a solid point guard. Quick, athletic, good passer, and he'll fit in great in the NBA in that he can't shoot. And most importantly, this displaces Damon Stoudamire for them. The Grizz now get to pair Conley with Mike Miller, Rudy Gay, and Pau Gasol -- plenty of scoring on this team while Conley develops his jumper. Solid squad they're putting together. Too bad they play in the West.

#5 Seattle Supersonics: Jeff Green

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boston has traded this pick to Seattle along with Wally Szerbiak and Delonte West in exchange for Ray Allen.

Moderator: Bizarre trade and bizarre pick. Seattle trades Ray Allen to acquire a bad contract, a third point guard (West is no better than Ridnour or Watson), and another 6-9 player to go with the 6-10 player they just drafted. This almost certainly means one of Ridnour or Watson are gone, if not tonight then later this summer. As for Boston, I've said all along that they should keep the pick, trade Pierce, and build around Jefferson, Rondo, Gerald Green, the #5 pick, and whatever they got for Pierce. But hey, instead they get to pair Ray Allen with Paul Pierce and get the fifth seed in the East for the next two seasons. Congratulations.

Lochi: The Sonics just drafted their starting SF and then drafted his backup with the #5 pick. Awesome. On second thought, maybe the Sonics should move.

#6 Milwaukee Bucks: Asian Darko

Lochi: Um...the Bucks just started an international incident. This is not good. Someone get me Jack Bauer...quick...I'm OUT OF TIME!!!!

Lochi's Alcohol check: 2 mojitos down, a glass of bubbly for the Oden pick, now on Corona #2.

Moderator: Awesome, I love it when pro basketball franchises tell the most populous country in the world to "fuck off". Yi had a list of cities he would and would not go to, dictated by the Chinese Government (which is a load of bullshit if I may add), and needless to say , Milwaukee was not on that list. But hey, it's not like they've got a lot of leverage here. What's he going to do, go back to China? (laughing)

#7 Minnesota Timberwolves: Corey Brewer

Moderator: Awesome. I had an entire scathing post all ready for the T-Wolves for when the picked Spencer Hawes; and they didn't do it -- they did the right thing and took a very talented, athletic young SF. Now hang out for the rest of the summer and watch then sell KG for 60 cents on the dollar. Brewer, Foye, McCants, and whatever they get for KG: it's not a horrible place to be. They are destined for mediocrity for the next 5 years; but it could be worse. Oh, and another thing: Corey Brewer speaks English about as well as KG does so it's a shame they won't be able to have conversations together.

Lochi: Obviously the T-wolves are trading this pick to whoever takes Spencer Hawes and Josh McRoberts. Nothing else is possible. It's a great pick, which makes no sense. By the way, Crying Mom count is at 2 with Mrs. Durant and Mrs. Green.

#8 Charlotte Bobcats: Brandon Wright

Lochi: Michael Jordan takes the "best available Tarheel." I love MJ the executive.

Moderator: I love MJ. He is definitely in the discussion for "best player ever", he was incredible, yadda yadda yadda. I don't have a big problem with this pick; but let's be honest here: would you want Jordan running your team?

Also, I'd like to point out that best players remaining according to John Hollinger are: 3. Thaddeus Young, Georgia Tech. 7. Nick Fazekas, Nevada. 8. Josh McRoberts, Duke. 9. Rodney Stuckey, Eastern Washington. 10. Jared Dudely, Boston College.

#9 Chicago Bulls: Joakin Noah

Moderator: God dammt; my Spencer Hawes fury continues to sit idle like a pathetic youngster at a junior high dance. What does Chicago need? Low post scoring. So they went and drafted a player who'll be a defensive and rebounding specialist with a limited offensive game. Noah would be a great value if you selected him in the late teens or early 20's; I don't see any way that Noah will ever become a significant offensive force. You might even go so far as to say that he'll be an offensive liability for his first few years in the league which is great because by the time he's ready to contribute, all of Chicago's youngsters will need contract extensions and their window will be closing.

Lochi: Here's one for everyone, I like Noah as a player. He looks like a tranny and that suit might be in the top 5 outfits ever worn to the Draft, but I think he's the new version of Dennis Rodman. The problem is the Bulls don't need that. I bet there's a trade in the works. I've liked all the Bulls moves (except for Ben Wallace), and they need a low post scorer. I'd be lying if I wasn't thinking Noah, Nocioni, and PJ Brown for Z-bo. Not sure if I like it, but that would be the best defensive front court in the league by a mile.

#10 Sacramento Kings: Spencer Hawes, Husky Shithead.

Lochi: With the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings select...

Moderator: And we have a winner! Congratulations, Sacramento Kings: you've taken a top-10 pick in the most loaded draft in years and wasted it on a player who's absolute ceiling is Joel Pryzbilla and more likely scenario is Shawn Bradley, only without the blocked shots. (which leaves nothing). I was wondering which team would be the one to fall for the same trick that a team or two falls for every year and Sacramento is it. They could have made a smart pick, dealt Bibby and Artest, and rebuiltt around the pick, Kevin Martin, and whatever they got for Bibby and Artest -- but hey, what do I know. Why do all that when you can draft this year's Big White Stiff. Good to know that Sacramento won't be a problem in the coming seasons.

#11 Atlanta Hawks: Acie Law the Quattro

Moderator: I can't argue with the strategy -- take one of the fantastic young wings with the early pick and get a point guard with the second pick. I am not a huge Acie Law fan but I see what Atlanta is trying to do. I just wish they'd trade a few of their young guys for a veteran because this is getting a little ridiculous. Josh Childress, Josh Smith, Salim Stoudemire, Marvin Williams, Shelden Williams, Al Horford, Acie Law ... how many babies can one team have? Greg Oden is older than all of those guys put together.

Lochi: So besides the first two obvious picks, the three picks I like the most belong to the T-wolves and both picks by the Hawks. Either the world is about to stop spinning on its axis or I've been drinking too much. Oh, and the new Hawks unis look cool too, but they should go back to that old school pac-man looking bad boy somewhere on it.

#12 Philadelphia 76ers: Thaddeus Young

Lochi: Interesting. Bilas says he "needs to tighten up his ball skills" so I'm fresh out of jokes for this pick. He looks like he's kind of doubling up on some positions for them, I think they could use a bigger guy. I would probably have shot high with Julian Wright.

Moderator: I like this pick in that I do think they went for the best available player which for a shitty team like Philly I would always advocate; I do have a feeling we'll consider him a nice pick in a few years. Seems like he might be a little bit of duplication with Andre Igoudala but that doesn't really matter for Philly right now. Interesting point by Lochi; Julian Wright wouldn't have been a bad pick here.

Also, I'm flat out disappointed by the lack of deals tonight. No major veteran has been moved, no top-10 picks moved, all in all a fairly straight forward night and none of us wanted that.

#13 New Orleans Hornets: Julian Wright

Moderator: Solid enough pick by New Orleans. Put him next to Tyson Chandler and they compliment each other quite nicely. I imagine New Orleans was hoping that Wright would slip to them and lo and behold he did. They swung for the fences and you can't blame them. It may take 2 or 3 seasons but another pick that I like.

Lochi: Let me get this straight, they add arguably the third highest upside pick with the #13 to go with Chandler and Chris Paul? Outside of the Griz, is there a bad team in the West? I really like this pick for the Hornets.

#14 Los Angeles Clippers: Al Thornton

Lochi: Best available player. Other than the fact that he's old enough to discuss the impact of Run DMC on the hip hop scene with Sam Cassell, he's a solid pick for The Clip.

Moderator: Jay Bilas just said that he's got to "tighten up those ball skills". Aside from that, this is another pick that I really like. Thornton won't be a star, but if you ask me he might be one of the safest picks in this draft. He's basically Jerome Kersey and I think he'll carve out a nice career for himself.

#15 Detroit Pistons: Rodney Stuckey

Moderator: I don't know much about Stuckey other than the fact that he tore it up for a small college. My question about him is that he seems kind of like a tweener; more of a volume shooter, and those guys are always hit and miss. Detroit has this pick because of the Darko trade. And the ironic thing is I bet Stuckey contributes a lot more to this team over the next two years than Darko did -- but he'll get a lot more PT as well.

Lochi: From the team that drafted the immortal Fennis Dembo, they bring you Rodney Stuckey. I'd say a mad gunner that shot 27% from the college 3 point line is a risky pick but that's just me.

#16 Washington Bullets: Nick Young

Lochi: Trade warning I think. He's Agent Zero insurance, but I wonder if they're drafting him for someone else or if they're working on some other deal involving Arenas. He's a free agent after next season.

BLAZERS' NOTE: is reporting that the Blazers and Knicks are talking about a Zach Randolph deal. The trade would be Channing Frye and Steve Francis for Randolph and Dan Dickau. I'm not sure why Portland would want either one of those guys so I'm not putting much stock into this. The article also mentions that Malik Rose instead of Francis could be a possiblity. Back to the draft analysis.

Moderator: Will one of these teams please do something stupid? Another nice pick. Washington needs to get some frontcourt support; they already get plenty of wing/guard scoring from Arenas and Jamison.

Well, now the guys here on the draft broadcast are saying it's almost a done deal.

What the hell? Portland already has a better version of Channing Frye in Lamarcus Aldridge. Steve Francis is a selfish, shoot-first point guard who goes against everything they are trying do. I hope this isn't true because I don't understand it.

Sorry folks, but we're going to have to suspend the live blogging of the draft until we figure out what's going on with this Blazer trade. I can only hope that the media is jumping the gun and that this trade doesn't actually exist.