Thursday, April 05, 2007

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.

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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.

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