Monday, April 30, 2007

One last post about Joe

I was pretty happy to find out this morning that Joe Newton had been signed by the Seahawks. As much as I wanted him to get drafted, this is really the best non-draft situation possible. As a Seahawk fan I'm happy because I believe we got one of the top tight ends in the draft without having to spend a pick. As a friend of Joe I'm happy that he gets to play in the northwest for a team on which he could have an impact. I'm still disappointed that he wasn't drafted, but that's not too bad anymore. This is from the official Seahawks site:
But he [Offensive coordinator Gil Haskell] also insisted they are very happy to have signed free agent veteran Marcus Pollard as their starter. Besides, they were very happy to snag Oregon State’s tight end Joe Newton right after the draft as a free agent who slipped through the draft without being chosen.
That makes me pretty happy, too. I think Pollard is pretty good, and I am hopeful that Haskell's feelings about Joe are signs that he'll make the team and contribute.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

My name is Jonas

I'm sure I've mentioned it but my friend Joe Newton, aka Jonas, is a pretty good football player. Most thought he would be drafted during the late rounds today, including me. He didn't get drafted, though, which was really disappointing. I think he'll be picked up as a free agent, but I haven't heard anything yet.

To quote my friend Yates, "he's a really great guy." There's not too much more to say about Joe other than he's a big-game player and fun to hang out with. I got to go up against him in tight end drills when I was a senior in high school and he was a sophomore, and he was in my brother's group of friends. I haven't cared as much that someone get on with a team before now, so hopefully he signs somewhere soon.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Day 1...continued

4:00 The Chargers just traded four picks away to draft a safety from Utah, Eric Weddle.

--Here's a great blog post about Brandon Roy. I really like reading anything about this guy. I've also been trying to find the book The Breaks of the Game in town. The Sports Guy wrote about this book yesterday, but I've been wanting to read it anyway. It's about the Blazers' season in '79-'80. I couldn't find it in any of the book stores in town, and it isn't in the local library or the Oregon library.--

4:06 The Dolphins seem to have redeemed themselves by drafting John Beck out of BYU to play quarterback for them. Nice job by Miami.

4:15 The Falcons did a great job on the two picks surrounding John Beck. They drafted a guard that should help them, and then they picked up a corner back to help the defense. Justin Blalock and Chris Houston should be good for Atlanta. Unfortunately I'm not talking to J-Lew right now, but I think he'd be somewhat happy.

--I can't even find The Breaks of the Game online for a good price. Ugh. This is frustrating.--

4:21 The Colts just picked another offensive player, tackle Tony Ugoh from Arkansas. It's pretty incredible that they keep adding to their offense and not addressing the needs they have on the other side of the ball.

4:23 It looks like the Lions drafted a quarterback, which is too bad because they really need some help on the offensive line. Drew Stanton sounds like a good football player, and the sort of guy who could lead a team, but it also sounds like he has some work to do on his technique.

--I just finally found the book online, so I submitted my order. Hopefully things work out, because I find it for about ten bucks, which is way better than the $100+ that it was in most place I found it.--

4:34 There are few things as enjoyable as listening to Keyshawn talk about how good someone is because he reminds Keyshawn of himself. Dwayne Jarrett is that guy, as the Panthers picked him with the fourteenth pick in the second round. Watching the interview between Keyshawn and Dwayne is probably an 86 on the unintentional comedy scale. Keyshawn's asking every question that he wouldn't want to answer. Fantastic. I think that's the best way to end this pseudo-diary of the first day of the NFL draft. I'm going to keep watching, because this is one of my favorite sports-days of the year.

Day 1 of the NFL draft

9:19 No introductions are necessary, but in case you weren't watching, the Raiders just drafted JaMarcus Russell with the first overall pick. Detroit is on the clock now.

--Between picks I'm going to be writing plans for this week at school.--

9:33 My brother, a Lions fan, is becoming happier with the Calvin Johnson pick. Watching the footage of Georgia Tech, it amazes me to see what Johnson did in his last year.

9:42 Everyone in the room is waiting for Brady Quinn to start crying. We hate him. I think Joe Thomas was a pretty good pick for the Browns. Cleveland had problems in their passing game and in their running game. How can a team address both of those problems at once? Oh, right. Draft a really highly rated lineman. Nice job by the Browns with the third pick.

9:54 Yup, Brady Quinn is still in the green room. That's my favorite part of this day so far. Gaines Adams feels like a good pick for Tampa Bay, which is good, because I'm taking the Stephen Colbert approach to this draft: it's not about thinking with my head, it's about thinking with my gut. My gut says the Cardinals take Levi Brown. I was going to say someone else, but then my gut remembered that Ken Whisenhunt is the new coach in Arizona.

10:03 My gut is so smart. And Brady Quinn is still sitting in his chair, looking like...something derogatory. I just read that the Seahawks and 49ers are near a deal to send Darrel Jackson to San Francisco. I don't like that deal for two reasons: 1) Jackson is worth more than a fourth round pick and 2) I don't want to keep making an in-division team better, especially when it looks like they're already on the way to the top of our division.

10:17 LaRon Landry just went to Washington. I like that pick. It's still great to see Brady Quinn sitting there, but as my friend J-Lew just said to me: "skill players are overvalued in my opinion in drafts." He and my dad also agree that Quinn's girlfriend isn't that pretty. Nice job all around.

10:27 Adrian Peterson just went to Minnesota. I think that's a good pick. And it's fun to see Quinn still in the green room. J-Lew just told me that the Falcons need offensive or defensive linemen, or a safety. I'll say that they pick Okoye.

10:35 My brother just asked the million dollar question: When's John David Booty going to get drafted?

10:38 The Falcons just reached a little for Jamaal Anderson. He seems like a great athlete, and he fills their need at DE, but it still seemed like they could have done something a little better with the pick.

10:51 I can't believe that just happened. Ted Ginn just got picked by Miami, and Brady Quinn looks pretty disappointed. J-Lew feels a little bad for Quinn, but I'm not sure that I do. He might end up playing for Dallas or Kansas City, which could be pretty good for him.

11:05 I like this pick, with Amobi Okoye going to the Texans. That kid seems like a great pick. As far as the marijuana debacle, I think the guys who told teams they had tried it actually showed some high character by revealing something that a test hadn't revealed.

--I just finished my rough plan for next week's lessons in 10th honors. That's some high quality work.--

11:17 They've been talking about San Francisco's last few drafts, which have been great. They picked Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, and Alex Smith. And now they picked Patrick Willis, an LB who will hopefully replace my man Julian Peterson.

11:27 Bruce Smith just announced that the Bills picked Marshawn Lynch. I like that pick a lot. My friend Mark thinks it was a huge stretch. While I may agree that they reached a little, I think Lynch is a great back. Now I'm off to play soccer.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'm back on the trade Zach wagon...for now

I've been stewing about this stuff for a little while, and I know I've already written about trade scenarios for Portland, but I think I've finally decided on what I think would be a great deal for everyone. In addition, this deal looks at first glance like it isn't a great deal for Portland.
That is, if you're looking at the stats from this season. That's not how I'm thinking, though. This came about from talking to my brother, stewing, and reading several things online today. Here's the deal at RealGM and here it is at ESPN's trade machine.

Portland trades Zach Randolph and Jarett Jack to the Atlanta Hawks, and they trade Martell Webster to the Utah Jazz.

Atlanta trades Tyronn Lue, Marvin Williams, and Josh Childress to the Utah Jazz.

Utah trades Derek Fisher and Andrei Kirilenko to Portland.

The three rosters would then look like this:

PG Deron Williams/Tyronn Lue/Dee Brown
SG/SF Gordon Giricek/Matt Harpring/Marvin Williams/Josh Childress/Martell Webster
PF/C Carlos Boozer/Mehmet Okur/Paul Millsap/Jarron Collins

PG Jarrett Jack/Speedy Claxton
SG Joe Johnson/Salim Stoudamire
SF Josh Smith/Sheldon Williams
PF Zach Randolph/Solomon Jones
C Zaza Pachulia/Lorenzen Wright

PG Sergio Rodriguez/Derek Fisher/Dan Dickau
SG Brandon Roy/Freddie Jones
SF Andrei Kirilenko/Ime Udoka/Darius Miles
PF LaMarcus Aldridge/Travis Outlaw
C Joel Przybilla/Raef LaFrentz

Why Utah would think about this
As was said in this story:
The Jazz’s best defender [Kirklenko] and most unique talent has seen his minutes drastically reduced this season. Why? Because his play has been that bad? No. Not really. The answer is simple: Sloan is trying to recreate the era of Stockton and Malone wholesale. Through Williams and Boozer, the Frankenstein’s monster has taken on a remarkably disturbing life.


Kirilenko’s shooting woes have received a lot of press this season, but his current field goal percentage is better than it was last year and two of his previous years—including his best season overall, the 2003-04 campaign.[2] AK-47 is a once in a lifetime defensive talent. Not since Russell, or Olajawon’s 1994 campaign, has any defensive player had such a dynamic impact on a game. Pippen was close, but I’ll still take the 2003-2004 version of Andrei over anyone other than Russell. Provided with the right situation on the court, there is no reason why he is not capable of that same level of play.

Andrei saved the Jazz franchise from complete embarrassment once the two cornerstones moved on. However, today Sloan has decreased Kirilenko's minutes, touches, and really made no effort to move toward arranging the team around AK’s unique talents. All things considered, AK hasn’t really caused much of a fuss about dropping completely off Sloan’s radar. In this super-star celebrity centered world, he has been a very good sport. Kirilenko hasn’t fought back, or attacked Sloan. He hasn't even asked for more shots. In January, he simply requested that Sloan involve him more in the game.


When Stock and Malone were around, there was no Andrei-the-undeniable-havoc reeker to incorporate into his rigid system. In Sloan's preferred system, big men are given the ball in the post, and tough-minded guards set screens for cutters who take jumps [sic] shots when lay-ups aren't available. In this old-school offense, there was no role for a gangly slashing, passing, shot-blocking forward.
By doing this deal the Jazz would get rid of two guys who didn't fit the offense well. Kirilenko didn't fit for the reasons mentioned in the article, and Fisher didn't fit because he was a small, old point guard playing shooting guard (and not shooting very well). Since they'd be shipping off their veteran backup PG, it makes sense to replace him with a different backup point guard, and Lue fits that spot. With Harpring and Giricek both being less than starting material and on the down-swing of their careers, Utah might be willing to take a risk on three young guys with huge potential. Childress and Williams could both fit a more traditional SF role, and Webster could go back to his natural SG position, where he thrives on curl screens. He's also built his toughness, so that he could fill that other role mentioned in the article. Is this risky? Yes. But all of these contracts are expiring at the end of next year, and it would rid the team of a guy who no longer fits with the team at all.

Why Atlanta would think about this
Even though this looks a little risky for the Hawks, it seems like this trade is most obvious for Atlanta. This would take care of the current Atlanta logjam at SF, and it potentially fills two glaring needs. The Hawks need a good long-term solution at PG, and Jack could end up being a very good NBA point guard. The Hawks need a low-post scorer to open things up for Joe Johnson, and Randolph is definitely that. Josh Smith could continue to be a do-everything small forward, and they would be betting on Shelden Williams to be the young forward who turns into something amazing. If his play at the end of this season is any indication, then he's the right choice. In the ridiculously weak east a well-coached team of these guys could be a real contender.

Why Portland would do this
A lot of the reasons for trading Zach have already been discussed. The main one is that LaMarcus Aldridge is already a very good player, and he will be a better power forward than a center in the NBA. The other main reason is that Portland seems to be moving toward a running offense, and Zach doesn't fit that very well, even though he likes to run and thinks he could do a good job at it. Kirlenko can run. As the article said, even though he's not a great shooter, he is a decent shooter. He also has the possibility to be an amazing defensive presence. I think that's even more important than bringing in someone like Rashard Lewis, the favorite of most Blazer fans. The other need mentioned by most around the Blazers is a veteran point guard. As much as I like Jack, I think Rodriguez will be a special pro. Derek Fisher is exactly the sort of veteran point guard who could bring the experience to the team that is needed at PG and once we hit the playoffs at the end of next season. It hurts to trade three guys that I really like and think could continue growing as NBA players. I would also re-sign Outlaw if his price isn't too high.

The other thing that needs to happen
If the Blazers can do this deal, then either Przybilla comes back next year and becomes the sort of player we thought we signed, or they need a center who can be the low post presence to go with the rest of the team. Oden is still the guy I want there, but that would be tough. If Portland gets the second pick then everything is out the window as we draft Durant. But if it's a different pick then Portland can think about packaging it with some other asset to get a center that could be what the team needs. I still don't know for sure who that is. Part of me likes the idea of Darko, but he's a restricted free agent. A sign and trade for Darko might be more possible than signing him outright, but I don't think it's possible because the signing period happens after the draft, and would be more worth it if we could swap first round picks. I still don't know who else would be possible, or even who I'd like, but Biedrins and Frye are guys that I'd think about to play center along Aldridge.

Here's something great from a column that Dwight Jaynes writes for the Portland Tribune. I'm quoting the entire section.
Last Tuesday, when the 1977 Trail Blazers were gathering in Portland to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of their championship and to retire Lionel Hollins’ number, Dr. Jack Ramsay paid a visit to the locker room of the current team.

There wasn’t much of a fuss made about it, but those who were in the room tell me the team was spellbound as the 82-year-old Ramsay spoke. This is a man with basketball credibility and a personal charisma that hasn’t diminished with age. And, if the young Blazers came away impressed, so did the ol’ coach.

“You know, when you talk to a group of people, you get a feeling about them,” he said. “I looked around the room, and every guy was looking me right in the eye. I liked that a lot.

“I really like what they’re doing here. In Nate (McMillan), they’ve got an outstanding coach and leader, and the young players are going to be good. I’m very impressed.”

Ramsay, by the way, looked terrific and said he was doing well. It’s no secret he’s been fighting cancer for a while, but if not winning he’s at least holding his own.

“I feel good,” he said. “Still swimming just about every day.”

The man is an NBA treasure – a generous, articulate, passionate basketball guru. I wouldn’t mind seeing the team bring him back to town once in a while as a guest consultant, for players and coaches.

He’s one of those people who makes you feel better just by being around him. And, as a source of knowledge about the league, its players and basketball in general –I’m not sure you can do much better.

We need to see more of this man in Portland.
That makes me happy.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

State of the Union Corollary

There needs to be a sports equivalent to the measures taken by our government during the state of the union address. According to that bastion of all that is true and pure, Wikipedia:
Customarily, one cabinet member (the designated survivor) does not attend, in order to provide continuity in the line of succession in the event that a catastrophe disables the President, the Vice President, and other succeeding officers gathered in the House chamber. Additionally, since the September 11, 2001 attacks, a few members of Congress have been asked to relocate to undisclosed locations for the duration of the speech. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) (the longest serving Senator in history) does not attend the State of the Union Address, opting instead to watch it at home on TV.
If that's good enough for the government, it should be good enough for sports teams. On an everyday basis this could be pretty hard, as it wouldn't make sense to charter a plane for the team and then have one guy take his own jet or a first class seat on the next flight out of town. But what if the team is doing something in the off-season? If players are traveling to an exhibition, or a community event, or even to some other special occasion, what wouldn't make sense about making sure that the three or four most important guys weren't all together, just in case? For a good example think about how devastated the city of Portland and the NBA would have been if Maurice Lucas, Bill Walton, and Herm Gilliam had all been in a car crash on their way to dinner before the 1977 season. Sure, Gilliam wasn't the most important guy on that team, but the other two were the most important guys. What about Shaun Alexander, Matt Hasselbeck, and Walter Jones? Or John Smoltz, Chipper Jones, and Jeff Francouer? If any of these groups of players all went down at the same time--even if it was just for a while--because of injuries sustained while traveling together, the respective teams, cities, and leagues would be affected in a powerful and negative way.

There's always a chance that everyone could rally together around the city and team if they faced this sort of tragedy (see: Marshall, Wichita State, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), but it would still be something horrific to overcome. By taking the extra precaution to make sure one of the stars of a team is the designated survivor, teams could make sure there is a better chance of responding well to tragedy.

Friday, April 13, 2007

All those posts were meaningless

Last week I wrote that the best thing we could do with a lottery pick outside of the top two was trade it for a good veteran piece, presumably a center or small forward. This sentiment has been echoed--better said, I was echoing the sentiment from others--all over the internet. Dave at Blazer's Edge has said it (kind of), he's quoted Blazer beat writer Jason Quick saying it, and other people have said it. But while looking at all-things NBA for a while with my brother this morning, I found out that my favorite non-Oderant player for this year's draft is coming out after all. Yes, Julian Wright declared for the draft. And at several sites they project he will be available in the range the Blazers are likely to be picking. Here are several of those sites. There is a good counter-point article at RealGM labeling Wright as something other than a lottery pick, which has some important things to think about. Having said that, this video is one of the reasons I still like him. Watch some of the highlights, but then go forward to the interview (it's around the 3:24 mark). That's the kind of young player I want to continue adding to the stable of young (and GREAT) Portland players.

Kevin Pritchard's strong ties to Kansas lead me to several possible conclusions, all of which might be completely ridiculous:
  1. Pritchard will be more likely to take the Kansas guy.
  2. Pritchard will have great access to information about the Kansas guy, so that he has even better information than other GMs might.
His strong ties to San Antonio were part of the reason I thought he could work on the Duncan deal, and we all know that they still wouldn't give up Duncan, even if it was in a deal that sent their first round pick (a traded-for higher pick than the one they currently hold) with Duncan to Portland for the rights to Durant (if Portland gets the second pick) and Randolph. I mean, we know that this deal couldn't happen, but I still feel like Pritchard's charisma and strong ties could help him do a deal like this.

Even if we don't end up taking Wright, I like a few other guys in this draft that could fall to us in the non-Oderant position enough to keep the pick. I'll let Steve Kerr tell you about it:
Nate McMillan's reclamation project is going well, with last year's draft netting good young talent at the point (Sergio Rodriguez), the wing (Brandon Roy) and at center (LaMarcus Aldridge). Portland would love to add another versatile scorer/defender at the wing, so Corey Brewer, Jeff Green or Julian Wright make some sense. It appears the Blazers are on the right track. Now it's a matter of adding another high character, good player to the mix and continuing to build the foundation.
That sounds good to me.

Here are a few other links that show how people feel about the young Blazers, and give credence to my confidence in Pritchard on draft day. This one talks about all four of the Blazers' first round picks, Aldridge, R-O-Y, Rodriguez, and Freeland. And this one labels Sergio Rodriguez as a fantasy sleeper for next year.

In other news, my friend Mark shouldn't feel too bad about inviting The Yetis to join our fantasy baseball league. Compton Unified School District, the district I liked best from interviews in Portland last week, sent my contract offer to The Yetis as well. And they had a resumé which had my email address clearly written. That got straightened out today, but I may have to send The Yetis a message in Baseball to apologize for all the mail he's gotten in the last few years that was meant for me.

Friday, April 06, 2007

All good points, and more points

I understand all the comments I've received about the Duncan trade. I already said that I'm crazy and that I know the trade would never happen in a million years. I think what all that writing was meant to show is the tough situation this off-season presents for the Blazers. If they get one of the top two picks it's a no-brainer: draft Oden or Durant. But if they don't get one of those picks, well, it's a brainer. I think they could end up with a great swing man in this draft if they draft later, and then continue to rely on Randolph, Aldridge, and Przybilla. This might stunt Aldridge's growth some, but we know that Zach is really good, and I believe Przy will come back strong. I also trust Pritchard's analysis of talent, so we should get the most for our pick no matter where it is. In free agency this summer I don't see many pieces that would fit well with what Portland is trying to do while also fitting financially. So if they want to bring in one more veteran to make things work, after thinking about it and researching it for three or four hours last night, Duncan seems like the only guy that would do it. This makes sense for more than just the normal reasons, considering that Pritchard started in the NBA as a scout for the Spurs and has basically tried to reproduce the success he saw from within that franchise.

From the quick chat recap I learned that Miles is "working hard, probably harder than he ever has in his life because this is a tough injury." Does that mean that next season he'll be worth having? I'm not sure, which makes me more likely to re-sign Outlaw. But the draft happens before free agency, so that gives Portland a chance to see what we can get out of the draft and decide better then. We only have two other decisions to make, and I think those are of the same kind as a top-two pick: no brainer. We re-sign Udoka to a two-year deal, and we let Magloire walk. That would leave the roster like this:

PG Sergio Rodriguez/Jarrett Jack/Dan Dickau
SG Brandon Roy/Martell Webster/Freddie Jones/Jarrett Jack (I really like him as a combo guard for this team's future)
SF Darius Miles/Ime Udoka/Martell Webster/Travis Outlaw
PF Zach Randolph/LaMarcus Aldridge/Travis Outlaw/Raef LaFrentz
C LaMarcus Aldridge/Joel Przybilla/Raef LaFrentz

I still think it would make the most sense to draft someone like Corey Brewer or Jeff Green, or Julian Wright if he changes his mind and jumps to the draft. But if we end up with the third pick, it might be too early to draft these guys. And even though my new fantasy sports friend Adam thinks you should draft the guy you want at any spot, I think it would be much smarter to make something off of that pick and trade down to a different spot to get the right guy. The Blazers did the opposite of that during this draft, spending and trading to make sure they got the guys they wanted. That was perfect. This works the same way, but they do it by realizing that they could still get Jeff Green--if that's who they want--a little later than their pick, so that they get something worthwhile in return. The Blazers will still be $13,183,921 over the cap next year, and that doesn't count raises in current salaries or potential new salaries for Outlaw or Udoka, so it seems unlikely that they could land one of the big names available this summer.

Once again I get lost trying to make some sort of point. Let me just say it: unless the Blazers can make a blockbuster deal (read: get Duncan) I think they should keep Randolph. They could still trade down in the draft, but they shouldn't do more than this, in my mind. Then again, I just wanted them to draft R-O-Y this year, and instead they got him, Aldridge, Rodriguez, and Freeland. So I'll give our man KP the benefit of the doubt. Even if he did play for Kansas.


I just responded to the good comments made by my friends by adding my reasons for seeing Duncan as the only guy we'd want in return for Randolph, but my title says that there are more points in this post. That's because I wanted to warn people that I might start talking about math in this post more than I already do. So far I only mention numbers in relation to basketball. But since I'm going to be teaching this quarter and playing with a lot more numbers, and since my math is a little rusty and my ability to see math things well has atrophied some in the past seven years, I plan on studying some fun problems and ideas and responding to them in this space. It won't be a lot, but it will happen some. Just so you know. If that includes pretty pictures of graphs, and hence points, then that'll make for a more enjoyable experience.

I think I'll also take this post to challenge my friend J-Lew to ruin his weekend in the following two ways: instead of working on Med school stuff (boo), he should write about the Masters after it's all over, if not during a running diary. But that's the first, not-as-fun-for-me way. The second is this: I think we should watch the Glavine-Smoltz match up in Atlanta "together" on Google chat. I'll take the chat and turn it into a running diary that could be simultaneously posted on The Sports Bigamist and The Village Tavern. The challenge is out there for everyone to see.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I couldn't let it slide

Alright, I figured out how to make this work with salaries. I know that it's still crazy, but I'm willing to try it anyway.

Portland would give up Zach Randolph, Joel Przybilla, Martell Webster, and the 2007 lottery pick. This would work best if Portland somehow landed the third pick in the draft, but could still work if they fell to their rightful spot.

San Antonio would give up Tim Duncan and James White. What, you don't even know who James White is? You can check the Spurs roster, he's there. But KnickerBlogger doesn't even have stats for him, and says that he's played 0% of San Antonio's minutes this year for a total of 14 minutes, so I don't think the Spurs would be too upset about losing him.

If you want to stare at the actual trade proposal, it's at RealGM or ESPN's trade machine.

Why would San Antonio even consider this trade? Good question...

The Spurs will have quite a few free agents coming off the books this summer. Among these are three guys who play power forward or center. Are any of them good? Not really. The three are Matt Bonner, Melvin Ely, and Fabricio Oberto. Bonner and Oberto are restricted, so they might be back, and Ely is an UFA. If Przybilla can play the way he did last year, then he would be a better option than either Oberto or Ely was this year, and would be somewhat comparable to Bonner. The Spurs are also losing Michael Finlay and Jacque Vaughn to unrestricted free agency (if Finlay takes his player option). I think that Martell would be intriguing for them, because he could play 2 or 3 like he has in Portland, and he would be another good perimeter shooter, with the potential to be the best on the team. If all of the possible free agents left, and considering the contracts shuffled in the deal, the Spurs would have a $9,277,312 smaller payroll going into free agency in July, which would be after the draft. This would give them the chance to draft the best available player (a Corey Brewer or Joakim Noah or Brandan Wright or Jeff Green or Nick Young or Al Horford or some other player that makes himself look lottery-draft-able by then) and find a good available free agent (like Gerald Wallace or Rashard Lewis or Andres Nocioni or Morris Peterson or Vince Carter or Luke Walton or Matt Barnes or Chris Webber or Jerry Stackhouse or Derek Anderson) to round things out. I'm not sure how this would work exactly with the salary cap, but I think this would put them at $2,955,333 over the cap before their rookie signings. If they were to make another move to get under the cap they could legitimately go after any free agent available.

The last piece of this deal to discuss is the Randolph for Duncan move. I know that this doesn't look good for San Antonio from the front, because they'd be losing a great defensive presence and getting a...umm...well, they wouldn't really be replacing that defensive presence. But they would be adding a player who could be considered an even better interior scorer, which could work really well with Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Brent Barry, and all the other outside scorers the Spurs hoard. As good as Duncan still is, his numbers are starting to slip a bit, and he can't hurt them at the end of games by missing free throws if he's not wearing a Spurs uniform.

Here's a possible Spurs lineup with this trade, with the draft pick possibilities and free agent possibilities added at the end:

PG Tony Parker/Beno Udrih
SG Brent Barry/Manu Ginobili
SF Bruce Bowen/Martell Webster
PF Zach Randolph/Robert Horry
C Joel Przybilla/Francisco Elson

SG/SF Corey Brewer, Nick Young
SF Jeff Green
PF Brandan Wright
PF/C Al Horford, Joakim Noah

SF Vince Carter, Andres Nocioni, Gerald Wallace, Rashard Lewis, Luke Walton, Morris Peterson, Matt Barnes, Jerry Stackhouse
PF/C Chris Webber

I think they could do a good job making my provisional depth chart a lot better with one guy from each of those two lists.

Of course, I don't think this would be too bad for Portland either:

PG Sergio Rodriguez/Jarrett Jack
SG Brandon Roy/Freddie Jones
SF Darius Miles/Ime Udoka/
PF LaMarcus Aldridge/Travis Outlaw
C Tim Duncan/Raef LaFrentz

Plus, Dan Dickau is still on the bench, James White is sitting there too, and James Freeland might come over from England via Spain next year.

Now I need to go to bed and dream of a championship next year instead of the one after. And sleep, so that tomorrow isn't terrible. At least I don't have students tomorrow.

My Crazy Idea

Let me just say that I know this can't happen, and I haven't thought it through all the way. That's my disclaimer.

Today I was talking to my current colleague and former math teacher, Don Crossfield, about the Blazers. One of the things I mentioned was that it might be smart for us to trade our pick this year if it isn't number one or number two. (Quite frankly, I can't imagine passing on Oden or Durant.) I was trying to figure out what sort of player we could get for the number three or the potential 6-7-8-9 pick. When I got home I started looking at players online. I thought that it would be best to trade for a solid center piece, so that LaMarcus could play power forward. That thinking led me to looking at people we could get for the third pick. This list was made up of Channing Frye, Darko Milicic, and Andris Biedrins. The biggest problem with all three of these guys wasn't that they're not really veterans--which is certainly a problem, since that's what I was going for--but that they are too similar to LaMarcus. Biedrins is the only one who has started much at center, but he's the one who would be the hardest to get. I realized that we would need to trade Randolph to get him, except there's no way that Nelson is going to want to bring in Randolph to run with the new-old-look Warriors.

All this got me thinking: if I'm making this trade to build around LaMarcus, then why not DO it. This means trading the first round pick (if it's not one of the top two), Zach Randolph, and Joel Przybilla if necessary. And when I started thinking that big, I realized that there was only one guy I wanted to go after. I'll give you a few seconds to guess.




Okay, if you guessed the guy I have in mind then you're crazy, because there's no way the other team would do this. And if you didn't guess it, then you should sit down. Yeah, I'm talking about the most consistent player in the NBA, Tim Duncan. There's one huge problem, other than San Antonio not giving him up: the second player that I thought would make this deal work, Przybilla, won't actually work because he has a Base Year Contract. This means that he is worth twice as much to San Antonio as he is to Portland, so that the salaries wouldn't match. The only other way I can think of making this work would be to do a sign-and-trade with Travis Outlaw or Jamaal Magloire. There is one big problem with each one of these. Outlaw is a freaky athlete who could bring another dimension to San Antonio, and apparently they've been interested in him before, but if the Spurs are getting the number three pick or the pick a little further down than that they'll probably drafting someone like Brandan Wright or Corey Brewer, guys who might be just as athletic as Outlaw but haven't been inconsistent in the NBA yet. The biggest problem with Magloire is one that he's had in Portland: he's too similar to Randolph to play at the same time, and you never know what he's bringing to a game for sure. This puts a huge wrench in my plans. This leaves only one option for the Blazers to make this trade happen without a third team, and this option wouldn't really work either. This last option would be to do the trade after the draft, and pick the player that the Spurs want, sign the contract, and then ship that player and Randolph to San Antonio for Duncan. This still wouldn't work because the contract of a third overall pick isn't high enough to seal the deal, and the same is true of any lower picks. Ugh, this is sooo messy, and still won't work, which means we need to bring another team into the mix. Even if we bring a third team into the mix it might mean working out a sign-and-trade with Magloire or Outlaw.

I refuse to give up on this idea, but it does seem like it's nearly impossible. Duncan has no reason to want out of San Antonio, the Spurs have no reason to move him, and the Blazers would have a hard time matching the salaries. But I can't think of any other big men in the NBA who would fit what the Blazers need in return for a lottery pick. Now that you've seen the frustration at getting the perfect fit, let me suggest one other possibility that isn't as perfect, but could work: Tyson Chandler. A deal with the Hornets would be pretty difficult too. This is just how things are going to be. I have faith that Pritchard could pull off a deal that I can't figure out right now, but it's still ridiculous to see that we're in this position.

Looking at the rest of the depth charts around the league, there is no starting center that I would consider trading a lottery pick to get outside of Chandler, and even that seems like a pretty big stretch. The only guy that would really be worth it would be Duncan, and he and LaMarcus would end up doing what LaMarcus has done a bit with Zach, which is to play together in interchangeable FC roles. I'm going to spend some more time trying to figure out how to make this possible, and I'll post a follow-up in the next few days.