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