Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Potential Offseason Moves For the Blazers

The Blazers should show Chandler some love this offseason
Which players could take the Blazers over the top next season?

The Blazers had a great run this season while battling through tough injury problems.  Their main scoring threat, Brandon Roy, is now hobbled by knee injuries and looks like he will be for the remainder of his career.  This year saw the Blazers' Lamarcus Aldridge grow into the new face of the franchise and a perennial all star candidate.  They also saw the emergence of Wesley Matthews as a starting two guard, acquired Gerald 'Crash' Wallace, saw Batum's continued improvement, and Miller's solid play once again.  One thing is certain, the Blazers have a good core of players but a few holes still remain on the roster.  I believe their biggest need is a go to perimeter scorer to play off of Aldridge, and that take over when Lamarcus is on the bench.  Another need is a tough defensive minded center to patrol the paint, and finally they need to find the point guard of the future.

Rich Cho, the Blazers GM,  now needs to find a perimeter scorer who can get to the hoop and create their own shot.  Cho may not have to look outside the current roster to fill that void.  Roy used to fill this need, but because of his injury he is and will continue to be mainly a perimeter threat.  Roy has said that he wants to battle for the starting position after a few great performances in the playoffs where he showed the ability to finish at the basket, but it is not something I think he can consistently excel at in future years.  The Blazers hope Matthews can make even more headway in a promising career and have the same kind of improvement he showed this year.  After the season Matthews admitted that he has a lingering ankle problem that plagued him throughout the playoffs.  The Blazers need to make sure that he heals correctly and does not over stress the injury this summer,  if he comes back healthy, and can work on his game a little, he could potentially be that go to guard that the Blazers need.  If either Roy or Matthews can assert themselves in that 2 guard position Cho can turn his attention elsewhere.

Nene could add the powerful
inside presence the Blazers need
next to Aldridge
Batum is also a player that needs to assert himself more and really work to get stronger in the weight room.  In the Dallas series he was repeatidly over matched, by a bigger player in Dirk Nowitzki.  I think if he really took an off season and committed himself to developing his body he could take his overall game to the next level.  He is already a defensive stopper because of his long rangy frame, and he has proven he can be a solid perimeter shooter and has the confidence to make some big shots at the end of games.  He needs to work on his ball handling and look to attack the hoop more.  If Batum can make some of these improvements he could become that perimeter threat instead of one of the two guards.

Gerald Wallace is one player that is already primed to have a huge season next year.  With a whole off season under his belt to fine tune the offense and to try and imiprove his perimeter shot he should be an even more potent part of the offense.  He turned around the attitude of the team with his arrival.  His hard play and tough demeanor worked great with this team, and you could see a huge improvement in other players such as Batum.  It is very exciting to see an all star player such as Wallace in a Blazers uniform.

Camby did very well last season, but his career is almost over and ideally he should only play about 25 minutes a game next year to try and save him for the playoffs and possibly extend his career by a year.  That means the Blazers need to get a center in the draft or free agency.  A possible free agent fit could be Tyson Chandler.  Chandler is the defensive stopper that they need and he has proven he is a smart player and is just getting through a season that saw him injury free.  They could make a bid for Deandre Jordan or Marc Gasol, both of whom could shore up the front line.  Another very intriguing name is Nene.  There are rumors that Nene will opt out of his contract with the Nuggets and become a restricted free agent next season.  He provides a huge body down low who can provide both offense and defense.  Of course, if they made a successful offer to any of these players it means the end of the Greg Oden era.

Oden continues to rehab, but all hope
 is not lost as rumors are circulating of a
possible 4 year $40 million deal.
I think that at this point in Greg's career it may be time to cut their losses.  I feel bad for Greg and its not his fault he has been constantly injured, but it does not make sense for the Blazers to shell out $8 million for a one year tender on a player that has played only 82 games his whole career.  There have been rumors of the Blazers offering Greg a longer term contract, 4 years for 40 million.  Given, he has shown signs of being the player they need down low, and they spent millions making him the face of the franchise when they drafted him number one overall,  that is why it is so hard for them to give up on him. I think it is, unfortunately,  time  for the Blazers to cut their losses and give Oden a chance somewhere else.

The Blazers' have had a lot of issues with Andre Miller since his addition two seasons ago, and there were a lot of rumors at the trade deadline of acquiring Devon Harris at the trade deadline.  Now he is on a rebuilding utah team, and I think that the Blazers may be able to pry him away from them.  They could offer some combination of Miller's expiring contract, Rudy Fernandez, Luke Babbit, the rights to Victor Clavor, and two picks in this years draft.  That would give Utah a couple of nice young players along with another draft pick and the expiring contract of Miller, who could tutor any young point guard that the Jazz draft.

I think that Harris would look much better in a Blazer uniform
next season.
If the Blazers stand pat and retain their current roster they will still have a very good team next year, and if they do bring Oden back and he can play at least 40 games and in the playoffs the Blazers will be at the top of the defensive rankings and a big threat to any team in the playoffs.  They could find a solid rotation player in this years draft, but they probably won't find anyone who will be a star.  I would love to see a player like Faried drop to them, although with the lack of talent in this years draft it looks doubtful.  I think the Blazers should take a shot at a player like Lucas Noguiera, who can step in immediately and help out on defense despite his raw offensive skills and young age.

Overall, I think that the Blazers have a lot of potential if they can stay healthy (which has been a universal feeling for the past 3 years), and they have the assets to make a real splash in a turbulent offseason. It will be very interesting, and I am excited to see what moves Cho decides to make and which players on the current roster can take their game to the next level.   

No comments:

Post a Comment