Friday, July 03, 2009

The best course of action

Okay, now we can really get to it. If we were willing to overpay for Turkoglu, why not do this instead: overpay for Artest and steal him away from the Lakers. We'd accomplish three things at once.
  1. Get a player who is older than we want and a problem for our offense, at too high a price.
  2. Get a player who could help out on defense.
  3. Screw the Lakers.
Of course I don't really want to do this, but it would be pretty funny. And Artest has changed his mind on things like this quicker than you can blink before. Look back at last year's free agent period if you don't remember.

What we should really do is look to Houston. As Dave said on Blazer's Edge early this morning:
1. Yao Ming is out indefinitely. Tracy McGrady is eternally questionable and maybe on his way out of town. That's a ton of scoring power out the window...the two main pillars of the franchise entering the year. Battier is an amazing complementary player, perfect alongside those guys. If they're gone Houston needs more firepower. All of a sudden Battier looks like a nice piece who doesn't fit anymore, kind of like your beautiful sandcastle after the tide has come in. It's under that flood somewhere but you're not getting much use out of it anymore.

2. Just today, as reported below, Ron Artest committed to the L*kers while Trevor Ariza reportedly agreed to join the Rockets. On the surface this appears to make Battier more valuable to Houston, as the guy he formed a battery with is gone. But Ariza is, in many ways, a younger, cheaper Battier. They could use a contrast there.
So here's what we do: we get both our guys, right now. Three team deal that uses our cap spaces, solves the problem that Houston will have with lack of offense and no back up (or starter, perhaps) at center, and helps another team save money in the long run.

Portland sends out four good players; four players that I really like. Jerryd Bayless, Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw, and Joel Przybilla. Przy and Trout go to Houston to help fill some empty spots there. But that's not enough for Houston to do it unless we help them dump T-Mac for something now. So we bring in a team that will love T-Mac's expiring deal if it can get rid of one of it's albatrosses. So McGrady goes to the Hornets, along with Martell Webster and Jerryd Bayless. The Hornets, in order to do this, have to give up the prize of the whole trade. Chris Paul comes to Portland, but they get to shed Peja Stojakavic and Morris Peterson, sending both of them to Houston. Both of those guys could potentially help with the offense of the Rockets and play shooting guard or small forward, which would help a team that just lost all three of their 2/3 type players from the year before.

In this deal New Orleans would immediately get four million in cap relief, most likely keeping them out of the luxury tax. They would get even more relief at the end of the season when McGrady's contract expires. Also, they get two young guys to build with. I know that I value Webster more highly than others, so I won't say much about him. But I think that Bayless is going to be pretty amazing, and I think a lot of other people would agree with me. Houston gets some offense to replace the loss of Artest and McGrady (who was already lost anyway), and now doesn't have the old version of Ariza to go with the new version they just signed. They also get a very good NBA center (and one that I really don't want to trade) in Joel Przybilla. He'd be the perfect back up to Yao, but for the time being he'd be a decent starter alongside Scola. I know they might not like this deal very much for the contracts they get, so we might have to add a piece to make it happen. This would be my initial offer. If the Rockets instead insisted on a guy that seems more like what they'd want in James Posey, that would work. He again fits more of the Battier/Ariza role than Morris Peterson, who on his best days is closer to a poor man's version of McGrady. Also, if either team insisted on Rudy Fernandez to make this deal go through, the Blazers could add him. That would be one more guy I really don't want to give up, but for these two guys – who I believe would put us in championship contention immediately – it would be worth it. The Blazers would then need to sign someone like Antonio McDyess or Chris Anderson at the mid-level exception to back up Oden. Actually, Anderson would fit well with Portland then, since he is similar to Przybilla but not quite as productive.

Here's how the rosters would most likely look for the three teams if they did this deal:

  • PG Aaron Brooks/Kyle Lowry
  • SG (Rudy Fernandez)/Morris Peterson or James Posey/Brent Barry
  • SF Trevor Ariza/Travis Outlaw/Peja Stojakovic/James White/Chase Budinger
  • PF Luis Scola/Chuck Hayes/Carl Landry
  • C You Ming/Joel Przybilla/Joey Dorsey/Brian Cook
That would be if they insisted on Rudy, and I'm sure that there may be a difference in the way that line up would look, perhaps with Ariza starting at the two – if Rudy went to New Orleans – and Outlaw at the three. Or with Yao hurt, maybe they go small with Scola starting at center, Przybilla still coming in off the bench, Outlaw at power forward and Ariza at small.

New Orleans
  • PG Jerryd Bayless/Darren Collison/Antonio Daniels
  • SG (Rudy Fernandez)/Rasual Butler/Morris Peterson (if not traded)/Devin Brown/Marcus Thornton
  • SF Martell Webster/James Posey (if not traded)/Tracy McGrady (injured)
  • PF David West/Julian Wright (probably also playing some SF)
  • C Tyson Chandler/Hilton Armstrong
Again, if the Hornets insisted on Rudy being included for them to make the deal (instead of the Rockets or no one) he would probably be their starting shooting guard. Depending on which of MoPete and Posey they traded would effect how that depth chart looks, but probably not how the guy would get played. They would still be thin in the front court, but that's the case currently as well. If by some miracle T-Mac got healthy before the end of next year he would give them some offense, too. Again, though, this deal for them is about saving money at a time when the franchise is in big trouble.

  • PG Chris Paul/Steve Blake/Patty Mills
  • SG Brandon Roy/Rudy Fernandez (if not traded)
  • SF Shane Battier/Nicolas Batum/Victor Claver
  • PF LaMarcus Aldridge/Jeff Pendergraph/Dante Cunningham/Joel Freeland
  • C Greg Oden/Chris Anderson
As you can see, making this trade would force us to get a back up big in free agency, and would probably force us to bring over some of our guys stashed in Europe before we really want. But even so, it's not hard to convince anyone that we get the best in this deal (which is why it wouldn't happen). If we could somehow keep Rudy, then the guard rotation of him with Roy and Paul would be amazing. But even if we couldn't, a three guard rotation with those two and Steve Blake is pretty good. And the learning that would happen as Batum – and then Claver – played with Battier would be amazing. That starting line up is also quite formidable defensively. In addition, if we could actually sign Anderson then we would keep a rotation similar to the one we are probably moving toward anyway, with one of those three back up PFs being relied on for a little bit of offense when Anderson is in the game. Or we just play him and LaMarcus or him and Greg together.

So there it is, that's the panic move that needs to happen as soon as the new salary cap is announced on July 8, since Hedo didn't pan out. I'm calling dynasty (and tons of luxury tax) in the very near future.

To see all the possible deals that work, click the corresponding link:
Without Rudy:
Posey to Houston
MoPete to Houston

With Rudy to New Orleans:
Posey to Houston
MoPete to Houston

With Rudy to Houston:
Posey to Houston
MoPete to Houston

1 comment:

Lewis said...

Decided to give this a read after our phone conversation tonight. I am still skeptical of it from the Hornets part (again, Paul is the only thing they have going for them right now putting them on the league map; West is solid, but people won't talk about him the same way without CP3). Also, while I know you love your guys, I am still not sure that Houston has significantly more firepower after this deal than they do now. No real new players that can get their own shot. Just my $.02. The Blazers would look pretty incredible after this trade though