- What is the team going to do for a starting SF?
- How will the club utilize its likely-#6 draft pick?
- Will Zach Randolph be dealt?
Regarding the first one, we’ve already seen a Rashard Lewis rumor. But the answer to #1 ultimately depends on the answers to #2 and 3. Before we get to answering #3, let’s take a look at what we know as definites - as of right now – regarding what the roster will look like next year.
This is what we know about for sure.
PG: Jarrett Jack, Sergio Rodriguez
SG: Brandon Roy, Fred Jones
SF: Ime Udoka, Martell Webster
PF: Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge, Raef LaFrentz
C: Joel Pryzbilla,
That's 10 players. We also know that Outlaw could be back, as could Darius Miles. I don't believe we'll ever see Darius play another game for Portland; lets leave him off this list for now for these purposes.
But look at that front court. If Portland trades Zbo, that leaves only Aldridge, Pryzbilla and LaFrentz. That's not nearly deep enough, considering that Aldridge will only be a second-year player and can't be counted on for an entire season of 30 mpg, and also given Pryzbillla's injury risk. I don't even consider LaFrentz a guy who deserves backup minutes at this point. If Portland traded Zbo, they'd either need to get another big man in return (the Soncis actually have a few that would work, going back to the Lewis rumor) or lock themselves into taking a big man in the draft. And if you look at the big men in the draft that are in the #5-#7 range, none of them are impact players right away--- most are projects, like the chinese guy, or Hibbert, etc.
This is why I still don't think that Portland trades Zbo. Zach, Aldridge, and Pryzbilla form what I see as a great threesome for the frontcourt. If you add up a full game’s worth of minutes at the PF and C positions, there are 96 minutes. 36 for Zbo and 30 each for Pryz and Aldridge sound about right to me.
Keep an eye on the situation; I think it’s fair to say that if Portland drafts a big-man, they might be preparing to deal Randolph. If they draft a SF-of-the-future, it’s likely you can both squash the Lewis rumor and the “dealing Zbo for a stud SF” idea.