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.

1 comment:

Lewis said...

Interesting. Definitely don't see it happening as a Hawks' fan, but that is primarily because bc our ownership situation is still in shambles. The other thing is that our log-jam is actually more at PF than SF in my estimation (although both are bad situations). Josh Smith is most effective at the 4 (where he is more athletic than most PF) and Marvin is actually a PF (even if no one realized this until he got into the NBA). Sheldon is also a 4 (and only a 4 bc of his physical limitations). Zaza also has to guard the 4-man on Defense bc he is so weak and horrible defender (even decent Centers just dominate him).

The big talk in the papers is actually a push for the Hawks to become the Golden State Warriors of the Eastern Conference with this line-up:

1. Free Agent PG (Bibby? Mo Williams?)
2. Joe Johnson (All-Star)
3. Josh Childress (he played PG some this year, so he can help push the ball up the floor)
4. Marvin Williams (I think he would have had a much better year if he didn't get hurt right as training camp was endind; he dominated summer league last year)
5. Josh Smith at the 5 (in an Al Harrington role)

Then of course you bring Sheldon and Zaza off of the bench.

I'm just not sure we are going to take on a MAX contract like Zach's when our ownership is still tied up in the courts.

By the way, you are completely right about AK-47. It's a shame is unique talents are being wasted.

As a Hawks fan, I WANT Conley Jr.