Oh the trade possibilities we could see…

Take a look at that left knee cap

Blazers fans have gotten used to this. Since Kevin Pritchard took over the reigns as general manager six years ago, he has seen his team through some sort of draft-related trade every season. Usually it’s more than one. In 2006, it was six.

Pritchard has a history of aggressively trading up in the draft in an effort to build a deep, talented roster. He has engineered brilliant draft-day deals that have landed players such as Victor Claver and Jeff Pendergraph in 2009, Nicolas Batum and Jerryd Bayless in 2008, Rudy Fernandez in 2007 and Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Sergio Rodriguez in 2006.

If all the buzz is true, this year will be no different. Pritchard, who will reportedly be fired immediately after the draft, seems to want to go out with a bang. The Blazers hold the No. 22 and No. 44 picks in the upcoming draft, but are weighing their options in an attempt to move up. The team has reportedly been hunting for a pick in the mid first round — somewhere between No.16 and 19. They appear to be trying to move ahead of the San Antonio Spurs, who hold pick No. 20.

Portland recently signed 36-year old Marcus Camby to a contract extension worth up to $26 million over the next two seasons. The Blazers also stand to get back Joel Przybilla at some point, after he injured his knee in December and missed the rest of the season, then re-injured the same knee in March when he slipped in the shower, which required a second surgery. The oft-injured Greg Oden rounds out the trio of 7-footer centers now has in Portland.

But rumor has it that the Blazers are looking to draft yet another big.

Could this be the end of the Greg Oden era in Portland?

If the Blazers were to make Oden available in an effort to move up in the draft, guess which organization holds an interest in such a deal and a draft pick within Portland’s target range?

Of course, the Blazers would much prefer to trade Przybilla. But that might not be possible.

Przybilla is a big presence in the post at 7’1″ and 255 pounds, whose offensive limitations are somewhat mitigated by his impressive rebounding and shot-blocking capabilities. But the timetable for return from his twice-ruptured right patella tendon is still unknown, and may last into the regular season. By then he will be 31 years old, and in rapid state of decline from an athletic standpoint. And if his injuries have robbed him of his ability to jump, he may never be a meaningful contributor again.

There’s also his contract to think about. Joel has a $7,405,300 player option for next season. He is certain to pick it up (and would need to do so prior to any trade). He also has a 15% trade kicker which, by league rules, he cannot waive, effectively making his salary $8,516,095 upon a trade. That’s a steep price for a player with an unknown return date and an unknown ability to contribute at a high level when he does.

Greg Oden’s return date is equally unknown. But when and if he does, we’re not talking about Przybilla-talent anymore but rather a mammoth 22-year-old defensive presence with All-Star caliber talent who was once thought to be the next Bill Russell but with soft hands and an emerging offensive game. That makes him Portland’s most tradable frontcourt asset, even with his lofty $6.8 million expiring contract.

Could a deal with the Heat get done? How about:

Miami trades Michael Beasley and pick No. 18 to Portland in exchange for Greg Oden and pick No. 44

Is it too much for the Heat to give up? Would Portland be interested in such a trade?

Both are playing in the fourth seasons of their rookie scale contracts. Both can be restricted free agents next year.

Portland would be in a position to offer Beasley the one thing Miami simply cannot – the time and patience to develop his game. In South Florida, there were flashes of scoring brilliance. Beasley can be a savant with the basketball. But never did he deliver anything resembling sustained excellence. He’s certainly not part of the Heat future and may in the intervening weeks be traded away for nothing more than cap space and future draft considerations. A change could do him good. Beasley might flourish elsewhere under less pressure with a team not trying to reconstruct itself into a title contender.

The Blazers have wonderful and youthful options at each of the forward positions in Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge, but Beasley could make for a relatively inexpensive first-off-the-bencher with an ability to carry an offense over short stretches.

The Blazers would also acquire the No. 18 pick they covet. It is unclear at this point what they’re looking to do with the pick but it is what they want. Perhaps they have identified a draft target. Perhaps they are looking to package it with their own No. 22 pick in an attempt to move up into the lottery. The possibilities seem just about endless – something that has certainly struck the fancy of Mr. Pritchard in the past.

The Heat, on the other hand, would be acquiring their long coveted dominant low post presence.

Let’s for a moment be realistic about what Oden truly is and what he isn’t. What he is, certainly, is a overpowering, albeit slightly awkward big man who can rebound the basketball and block shots with the best in the game. What he is not – yet – is a once-in-a-generation center.

At seven-feet tall and nearly 300 pounds, he is a monstrous presence under the rim who has the potential to evolve into a dominating defender if he can reduce his alarmingly high foul rate. He is able to get deep post position thanks to his sheer size and will finish whatever he gets his hands on under the basket. If the Heat is successful in its quest for Chris Bosh, that’s all they’d need him to be. Bosh is more of a perimeter-oriented, floor-spacing big. That’d make Oden a perfect fit. That’d give the Heat a perfect front line.

But for any such trade to be considered, Riley & Co. would need to gain a certain degree of comfort with Oden’s propensity for injury.

Oden’s history is long and troublesome. In the sixth grade, he had hip surgery that left his left leg longer than his right. In his senior year of high school, he had surgery to repair his right wrist. He went on to miss what would have been his rookie NBA season due to microfracture knee surgery to repair cartilage damage in his knee. Then, in his regular season debut the following year, he landed on the foot of Derek Fisher and sprained his ankle, causing him to miss six games. He returned to the court in November, and scored his first NBA points in the first quarter of a game against the Heat. Later on in the season, he and Corey Maggette banged knees. The result? A chipped kneecap. Now it’s a badly fractured left patella, when he landed without contact on his left leg, that has him out until at least July. Whether he will ever play in the NBA again, let alone for a full season, is subject to serious debate.

Still, one can’t help but think just how perfect a Bosh-Oden front-line could be. Even if it does bring you into the realm of the slightly delusional.

Such rampant speculation is just part of the fun of the next 20 days.

14 Responses

  1. K215215 says:

    Yes, but no way the Blazers trade Oden for Beasley. I just dont see how they trade him for a backup power forward.

  2. Jorge says:

    Albert…love your thought process and knowledge but this trade really doesn’t do it for me. I think that you are giving too much for an unknown. I do agree with the need for a true center since it would compliment our free agent targets.

    So with that in mind, keep the #18 and pick up one of the many big man (Alibi, Sanders…) which will provide the same defensive presence as Oden but cheaper. If you do trade Beasley please do so for someone with less questions (albeit physical ones for Oden). After all that is the reason why you are trading Beasley to begin with.

    Personally at #18 I would select either a guard or someone who can create their own shot. They can address the size in the second round as this draft has a lot of servicable big man.

  3. Heat-Struck says:

    Before I read this blog entry… I have to say that looking at Oden’s left knee cap makes me want to puke…

  4. Heat-Struck says:

    I would rather keep Beasley as a Lamar Odom type role, resign Wade, sign Bosh, use our #18 pick on a center or point guard. Then we could use the remainder of the money on a good third option at SF (Rudy Gay) or C (Brendan Haywood), which depends on who we use our #18 pick on. We could then fill out the remainder of the needs with 2nd round picks.

    Besides having a Wade/Lebron/Bosh dream team, this would be my favorite team.

    PG – Eric Bledsoe #18 pick / Chalmers
    SG – Wade / Bell
    SF – Gay / Beasley / #42 pick
    PF – Bosh / Beasley / #48 pick
    C – Jerome Jordan #41 pick / Joel Anthony

    There could be stretches where our front court would be SF Gay, PF Beasley and C Bosh.

    I think the above team would fit under the cap. I’m too lazy to confirm that, though.

  5. Heat-Struck says:

    If that’s the case, then maybe it would be best to get Brendan Haywood (which we could get for less than $10 mil), and then use our #18 pick on a SF. I would love to get Gordon Hayward, if he dropped to us.

    PG – Arroyo / Chalmers
    SG – Wade / Bell
    SF – Gordon Hayward #18 pick / Beasley / #42 pick
    PF – Bosh / Beasley / #48 pick
    C – Brendan Haywood / Joel Anthony

    The beautiful thing about having soo many needs on the team is that we can just take the best player available at PG, SF or C with the #18 pick and put him in a starting role. Some one good is bound to drop to us, it usually happens every draft.

    I do think that Rudy Gay would agree to take less than his max if it was for a chance to play in Miami with Wade and Bosh… but the problem is whether Memphis would match or not. With Memphis in such financial trouble… they might just let Gay walk for that price. It would be interesting to see Memphis use their lottery pick on a SF… that could be a sign that they’re willing to let Gay walk.

  6. CB says:

    I love the trade and the thought process, best post in weeks. The key is getting a low cost option at center, where if he pans out, we keep his Bird Rights and parlay it into a long term option with security at the hardest position to find in the game. A Wade/Bosh/Oden core, with some financial flexibility to fill out the roster could actually be a powerhouse for years to come. The thought of losing Beasley for nothing is too much to take. Maybe we dont even have to give up the 18th pick, but instead swap into their 22nd and give them our 42nd. Interesting color also on Trade Kickers, was going to ask you if it could be waived – really does make Turkoglu’s contract unmovable.

    • Albert says:

      Yep, Turkoglu’s contract goes from bad to dreadful after incorporating the kicker. I can provide additional color on it in a future post.

  7. K215215 says:

    Id still rather have Bosh/Chandler than Oden. I feel like Oden is too hit or miss. Chandler is would be the perfect fit playing next to a pf like bosh/amare.

    Regardless, this is all besides the fact that theirs no way Oden is traded for another pf (let alone supercoolbeas). I hope I eat my words on this, but its not in Portland’s best interest to trade him for Beas. They could get way better value from other teams.

  8. Heat-Struck says:

    Chandler is just as broken as Oden… Chandler will never be able to play a full season, let alone an entire playoff run. All these darn centers have injury issues. I’d be happy with just one healthy center that can block and rebound. I don’t need points from that position.

  9. K215215 says:

    I agree that Chandler has an injury history, but def not as broken as Oden. Oden has missed 2 of the last 3 seasons. You cant compare that Chandler

  10. lucas fb says:

    i think the same way.

    we shouldnt trade beas unless is for big all.not injured and prone oden. prizbilla,afeter 2knee injurys on a roll?give me a break!!!

    jerome jordan could be mcgee type of center,good with more upside,at least the suns lopez he very probably ll be.

    and we have the 1rounder in bledsoe.

    only thing u didnt put,we csan still have joe j not try just for gay.

    if any one of the trio of wade,bosh,joe j/gay take a paycut and with florida no tax it wouldnt be even a paycut is doable.

    plus=i would only trade beas for big all if there s no injury concerns,keeping him off court or even if only slows him down,i mean last season he wasnt very good at defense,kind of slow in the pick and roll and…

    beastley is pure talent,and ll score easilly ,coming from gthe bench,he wouldnt have to lose looks to the max players,to me beas ll be our 4th max,if we draft bledsoe and jerome ,they like u and i said for a long time they can be our starters,and imediately upgrade our pg and c spots,even if its only at defense.cause scoring we would have 4 great ones to do it. and good for us they r not 1dimensional,if we get wade,bosh,joe j/gay.

    if we dont land a premier 1of this2 wingers,we can have or try on the cheap guys like tmac,josh h,ray,tony a., redd,…

    we could draft whiteside or orton if they r still on board,but to me the bledsoe and jerome r really the best way to go.

  11. lucas fb says:

    Bledsoe could be closest thing to Rondo we can get, unless we trade for one of the premier point guards like CP3, Parker or maybe Collison.

    I like Collison but I don’t want to trade Beasley for less value than he has. Let’s trade UD, JO, Cook or JJ, if anyone takes them. I don’t know why all the Heat players are so underrated.

    Just like Kobe said, Wade with help will be scary. That’s the biggest reason for the Lakers to make a play for Bosh. Gasol and Bosh would be the best frontcourt in the game.

    There are plenty of bigs in the draft. Another option is Tiago Splitter from Brazil. He would have an immediate impact. He’s 6’11.

  12. lucas fb says:

    The Heat should have better scouts. Shouldn’t Pat be to blame for that? The Has has sucked in the draft. But we should still give him the benefit of the doubt, unless he screws up the 2010 draft and, more importantly, free agency.

    I’m just worried Jerome won’t be there at pick 41, because we should draft him. If he bulks up more, he can have an immediate impact. He’ll be good shot-blocker,rebounder and maybe even scorer. He doesn’t have an established a post game yet, but he’s tall, a high-flier, quick (particularly for a 7 footer) and dunks with ease. he’ll be a perfect pick-and-role player.

    lucas fb June 19th, 2010 at 23:23 | #6 Reply | Quote

    Remember, Jameer Nelson cant defend very well, so that’s why Pat and many other winners didn’t draft him. I’m not saying he’s good at drafting, but he made a city with no sports history whatsoever into a winner. How hard is that? Ask Sacramento fans. And Pat got the Heat close several other times. That’s hard to do. He’ll probably build a winner again. So the timing for critics couldn’t be more wrong.

    Pat will draft Bledsoe. With his length and athleticism and ability to stay in front of his man, he’ll be better than Nelson. After all, we don’t need much scoring from our PG. He needs to be a play-maker, good 3-pt shooter and defender.

    We don’t need much scoring from our center either. A guy like Jerome will do it.

    I also think we could trade up in the draft, but guaranteeing Eric and Jerome is good enough for me.

    lucas fb June 19th, 2010 at 23:26 | #7 Reply | Quote

    Also, if we go to the Finals against the Lakers next season, you can be Wade will mop the floor with Kobe. So, it’s all on Pat, and how he plays his cards with the rest of the team… particularly the frontcourt.

    It was the Lakers frontcourt — with Gasol, Bynum and Odom — that got them a title. And the refereeing.

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