Tag:Portland Trail Blazers
Posted on: July 11, 2011 6:23 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 10:23 pm
 

What teams risk in a lockout: Northwest Division

A look at what is at stake for the NBA's Northwest Division if a whole season was lost due to the lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver.

ricky-rubio

Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the Southeast Division, the Atlantic Division, the Central Division and the Southwest Division. Let's continue with the Northwest Division.  

MINNESOTA Timberwolves


The NBA's worst team won just 17 games last year, had the league's seventh-worst home attendance and is generally mentioned at the top of the list of examples that "prove" the NBA's economic system is broken. That's because their local television, ticket and memorabilia revenue simply cannot compete with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics of the world. Despite all of that, the Timberwolves might very well have more to lose than any other team in the Northwest Division if the league were to miss an entire season.

Let's start with 2009 lottery pick Ricky Rubio, who against all odds took the plunge and decided to finally join up with Minnesota. For multiple seasons, Rubio has represented hope, carrying Timberwolves fans through ugly winters and late-season collapses. The wait was excruciating. The uncertainty about whether he would or wouldn't stay in Europe further into the future made it worse. Now that he's on board, he's been greeted at an airport, introduced to his teammates, sold some jerseys and rallied the collective fan spirit a bit. To lose an entire season would make that interminable wait that much longer. It would also rob Rubio of a valuable development and acclimation year, which would be an absolute disaster. This is a point guard who needs to start on Day 1, entrusted with the full support of his coaching staff and allowed to make mistakes and build chemistry with his teammates while learning on the job. No season means no opportunity to do any of that.

Aside from Rubio, there are financial risks as well. That might be surprising, because the Timberwolves currently are the only team in the NBA that does not have anyone on their books for more than $6.3 million next season, a fairly astonishing accomplishment. Of course, there's a catch: All-Star power forward Kevin Love is on his rookie deal. Indeed, Love is heading into the last pure season of his rookie deal before Minnesota either must issue him a qualifying offer or sign him to an extension. Worse yet, it's possible that Love, one of the league's premier rebounders, will command a mini-max extension or close to it. The point here? He's set to make just $4.6 million next season, a bargain for his production. If the season is lost, the Timberwolves miss out completely on that outstanding value and are one year closer to biting the bullet on extending him without having reaped full benefits. That's tough.

Last but not least, a lost season is the perfect excuse for any franchise to delay tough decisions or to talk themselves into trying to make things work. With an imbalanced roster full of mixed and matched pieces, the Timberwolves, despite their accumulated talent, are going to struggle mightly again next season. The pains of those struggles, theoretically, could be enough to finally convince owner Glen Taylor to pull the plug on president David Kahn, a man who hasn't shown the ability to construct a team and outright wasted two second round draft picks on technical mistakes during the 2011 NBA Draft, by trading a hurt player (Jonny Flynn) and drafting someone who lied about his age (Tanguy Ngombo). A year without games, then, is a year without losses, which means another year for Kahn to preach patience and wiggle out of responsibility for this mess. The sooner Kahn is gone, the sooner this ship turns around. A lost season will make "sooner" feel like never.

OKLAHOMA CITY Thunder

While the Timberwolves need to get headed in the right direction, the Oklahoma City Thunder are already there. With the best designed roster in the league, two young All-Stars, an undisputed Northwest Division title and a Western Conference Finals appearance under their belt already, and a passionate fanbase that is guaranteed to provide 40+ home sellouts next season, the Thunder would happily start the season today. A lost season, then, would be a nightmare.

Name something, anything, and it's at risk for the Thunder. They lose the value of Russell Westbrook playing on a rookie deal. They lose the value of James Harden on a rookie deal. They lose the value of Serge Ibaka on a rookie deal. They lose one year of Kevin Durant's Hall of Fame playing career. They lose another season of playoff experience. They lose a very good chance at making a run at an NBA Finals. They lose a season of having their top eight players (Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefalosha, Nick Collison, Eric Maynor) all locked into affordable contracts. They lose the chemistry and momentum that goes with having an entire nucleus together for multiple years.

What's worse: they have nothing to gain from a work stoppage, other than perhaps the money that would come with increased revenue sharing. Without a single bad or untradeable contract on their books, there is no financial reason OKC would root for a year away from the game. In fact, any change to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that firms up the cap would make it more difficult for the Thunder to keep all this talent in house. That means they wouldn't get the chance to win now and their ability to win later could be compromised.

Usually, young teams that make a deep run through the playoffs can't wait to get back on the court for a second go-around. Multiply that feeling by about 10 and that's the situation facing OKC. 

PORTLAND Trail Blazers

lockoutYou might think the injury-plagued Trail Blazers would welcome some time off to lick their wounds and assess the damage, but missing an entire NBA season wouldn't necessarily be a good thing for this franchise. Really, it's a muddled picture.

The main benefit is clear: the Blazers have a very difficult cap situation next season, thanks to a mini-max contract for guard Brandon Roy, who is apparently no longer capable of reaching his previous All-Star level of play. Saving the $15 million owed to Roy, as well as the $10.5 million owed to aging center Marcus Camby, would be a tempting proposition for most small-market owners. Money aside, saving the miles on Roy's knees wouldn't hurt either.

Blazers owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, however, has dealt with serious health problems in recent years and is clearly in spend-big, win-now mode. He would cut a check tomorrow for five times his team's total salary cap if it meant a shot at the NBA Finals, no questions asked. It's difficult to imagine a financial enticement that would make it worth Allen's while to take a year off. 

Aside from Roy, the other big question is center Greg Oden. Missing an entire NBA season doesn't play in Oden's favor, as he hasn't taken the court for an NBA game since December 2009. A lost season means his layoff would extend nearly three full years to October 2012. That's a long, long time to be away from basketball. Complicating that further for the Blazers is the fact that Oden is a restricted free agent this summer. The Blazers would retain matching rights on Oden if a season was lost but they would be forced to offer him an extension without being able to see whether he recovers fully to be able to take the court and, more importantly, withstand injury once he's out there. Oden could command a mid-level type of offer on the open market, which would be a major investment for Portland, because the Blazers have already committed to nearly $80 million in salary for next season, with contracts to Roy, forwards LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace and guard Wesley Matthews already on the books into the future. Without another center on their roster who is in their long-term plans, though, the Blazers wouldn't have a choice. They'd have to pay up. Given that situation, you want as much information as possible; a lost season would mean no information.

Finally, the Blazers have a big question at the starting point guard position. His name is Raymond Felton, and he was acquired in a draft day trade for previous point guard Andre Miller. Felton is in a contract year and hasn't played meaningful minutes with any of his current teammates, except for a stint in Charlotte with Wallace. Felton will require a good-sized contract extension next summer as well and the Blazers would surely like to see how he gels with their core, particularly Aldridge, before they commit to him long-term. Without any starting quality options on the roster, they would again find themselves stuck in a corner, forced to do what it takes to retain Felton without a readily available back-up plan.

To boil it down: the Blazers have enough questions without a lost season. Missing a full season would simply create an array of complications and made some tough roster decisions that much more difficult and, potentially, costly. 

DENVER Nuggets

Sure, the Denver Nuggets lost franchise forward Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks, but they did an excellent job of stripping their roster down to allow for a quick bounceback rebuilding effort. The Nuggets, somewhat like the Thunder, are in a financial position where their salary cap situation makes it more advantageous for next season to take place unhindered. The Nuggets currently don't have a truly horrible contract on their books, although the mid-level deal for Al Harrington and the $15 million or so left to be paid to Chris Andersen over the next three years are regrettable. Indeed, the Nuggets have committed to less than $40 million in salary for next season, pending a potentially major financial commitment to big man Nene, who has decided to test the free agency waters, and a decision on guard J.R. Smith.

The biggest risks for Denver would be missing out on the value of point guard Ty Lawson on his rookie deal and managing whatever concerns might arise about Denver's ability to use its salary cap flexibility to continue work on its rebuilding situation. Most analysts believe teams with salary cap room will be in a position of strength, regardless of how the new CBA shakes out, so perhaps that uncertainty is more of an annoyance than a true concern. 

The Nuggets have a lot of questions. How will they spend their money? Who will they bring back? Who will they let go? Are the players under contract currently good enough to compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference next year or is it better to continue slashing and burning for another season? These are good questions to have because they all point to one fundamental truth: The Nuggets have flexibility thanks to their young, cheap assets. The worst case scenario is that Nuggets fans have to wait a year to watch a promising, athletic upstart group entertain. That's not too bad. 
 
UTAH Jazz

If I'm the Jazz, I'm totally cool with taking a year off. A lost season means that Utah would save $14 million owed to Al Jefferson, $10.9 million owed to Mehmet Okur, $9.3 million owed to Devin Harris and $8.1 million owed to Paul Millsap. While Millsap is probably worth his number, the other three certainly aren't worth theirs, especially on a team that lost its foundational identity when it shipped franchise point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets at the trade deadline.

Right now, Utah's finances are pretty tight, with $61.5 million already committed for 2011-2012. Look ahead just one year, though, and that number drops to $48.7 million. To make things even nicer, Jefferson, Harris and Millsap will all be expiring that season. The Jazz will be poised to take advantage of their new-found flexibility, keeping the parts that fit (probably only Millsap) and dispensing with the rest.

The biggest risk in a cancelled season for Utah would be the lost development for younger guys like Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and 2011 first-round picks Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. In Favors, they have a potential franchise forward who needs to start enjoying a loose leash so he can blossom into the player the Jazz expect him to be. Forcing him to take a year off does him no good and, depending on how he responds, could do him some harm. Kanter, meanwhile, looks like an even bigger risk on paper because he was forced to sit out last year at Kentucky, his only year at the college level, due to eligibility issues and because he hasn't yet tasted the NBA game. A lost season would mean two full years away from competitive basketball, not an ideal situation for someone the Jazz selected with the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft. As for Hayward and Burks, they are lesser concerns. Both have shown promise and clearly have room for improvement. Losing a year wouldn't be critical, but it would be better for them individually if it could be prevented.

On balance, the financial rewards seem to outweigh the development risks for the Jazz.

Salary numbers courtesy of StoryTeller's Contracts.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 11:31 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Report: Kevin Pritchard to join Pacers

Posted by Matt Moore

Kevin Pritchard has surprisingly been out of pro basketball for a bit. Pritchard, the assistant GM and later general manager of the Blazers' resurgence, was known for his uncanny ability to create beneficial trades that netted good young asset after good young asset.

He was fired in 2010 for, well ... whatever it is Paul Allen fires people for (also known as the Cho Effect). Perhaps Pritchard's most notable mistake was drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant, which wouldn't have been so bad had the Basketball Gods not have it in for Oden. Or at least his knees. 

Pritchard didn't pop up in a new position right away, fueling talk that it was his stubborn approach and "arrogant" attitude, as several Portland reports suggested, that talked his way out of a job.

But it would appear his time in purgatory has come to an end. Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports that the Pacers are "in the process of hiring" Pritchard to work with Larry Bird, president of Basketball Operations, and General Manager David Morway. Yahoo! Sports reports that his title will be "Director of Player Personnel."

Pritchard has worked with the Pacers in the past, including in the past year. He's very tight with that organization, so this isn't really a shock. It's conceivable with Bird very much on the fence about his future past this season that Pritchard could be putting himself in line to take the reins once Bird retires. Morway would head to the president of Basketball Operations, and Pritchard would then handle GM duties. 

It gives the Pacers a more forward-thinking element in the front office compared to Bird's very old school approach. And having someone who can handle the media without looking as if he wants to stab all of them can't hurt either.

In the past 30 days, the Pacers have hired the coach that helped get them to the playoffs and about as impressive a five-game series loss to the top overall seed as you can find, the former assistant coach under Phil Jackson in L.A. and Pritchard. The infrastructure is there. The talent core is there (even if a star is still missing).

Now they just need a season to test the new engine. 

Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:35 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Kevin Pritchard talks about his time in Portland

Posted by Royce Young

Kevin Pritchard was seen as one of the brighest and best general managers in basketball. He helped rebuild the Portland Trail Blazers after the ugly "Jail Blazers" era and had the team trending upward as a contender.

And then he was fired on draft day.

It's always been a pretty odd circumstance, but one that appeared to make a bit more sense as his replacement Rich Cho parted ways with the Blazers less than a year after he was hired. Pritchard has remained mostly mum after he left Portland a little more than a year ago, but finally offered some insight on his time with the Blazers, why he took Greg Oden over Kevin Durant and a few other things. Via Sports Radio Interviews:

What is was like to work for Paul Allen:

“He’s very complete in that he wants you to do the work and get to a certain place and then he’s going to challenge it. Quite frankly when we were going through complex ideas and what I don’t think people understand is that how much the draft is complicated. You go through all kinds of ‘if then what’ right? There’s just millions of those it feels like. He’s unbelievable at sitting in a draft room and going through a decision tree. Trying to figure out exactly what is going to happen. ‘If then, then what?’ He provided a lot of value with that and I learned a lot.

He’s very demanding. Every single day, in the seven and a half years I was there, I’m not sure there were many days that we didn’t communicate at least by e-mail or by phone, but he’s very interested and I welcomed that. We had developed a great relationship the first four or five years I was there and we had an ability to talk pretty quickly and get down to the main issues, but he’s demanding and he’s tough.”

On why they took Oden over Durant:

“It’s the question that I probably get most. I have never studied a person or players like I did Durant/Oden. It was every single minute of every single second of their entire careers. We were going back into AAU and the one thing that kept hitting us really hard was Greg Oden lost three games until he got to Ohio State, then he got hurt again and only lost a couple there and that was over hundreds and hundreds of games. The overwhelming thing that we got from everybody we talked to was the cat doesn’t care if he scores or does anything, but he’s about winning. We had been really trying to change our culture for guys who really put the team first, not care about stats, and really be about winning. We thought he was the pick at the time. We did the same thing with Durant.

They said he’s gonna be the best scorer in the league, he’s going to be an amazing player, and he’s gonna win. We just felt like Greg was going to be that guy that just doesn’t lose basketball games. Right before he got hurt we were talking as a management group and we were like man doesn’t it feel like this is becoming a little bit like Greg’s team because in the locker room after a loss he would get really, really upset and he demands out of his teammates probably more than any other player I’ve been around other than Larry Bird. When he lost, he let his teammates knows what they have to do the next game. We were feeling so comfortable going into the rest of the second half of the season that we were going to be good because Greg was coming along.”

The Oden/Durant debate has long been settled, but it's never really been a fair fight. We don't know what Greg Oden would've done for the Blazers had he stayed healthy. Injuries are mostly just bad luck, and Oden -- and the Blazers -- has had plenty of it.

Pritchard said he still keeps a house in Portland and is still "emotionally tied" to the franchise. He was asked if he'd consider returning if Allen asked him to come back, and Pritchard said he would, even with what seemed to be an ugly exit. Obviously, that's not going to be happening. But if Allen's just going to rent another GM for a year, why not Pritchard again? At least he understands the deal.

Posted on: July 3, 2011 1:15 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 1:44 pm
 

Rudy Fernandez gets huge offer from Real Madrid?

Dallas Mavericks guard Rudy Fernandez has reportedly received a large multi-year contract offer from Real Madrid. Posted by Ben Golliver. rudy-fernandez

Rumors that Spanish star guard Rudy Fernandez would return to Spain began almost as soon as he touched down in Portland to begin his NBA career. 

On Sunday, Sportando.net reports -- via Mundo Deportiva -- that these rumors have reached a fever pitch, with Real Madrid prepared to make a giant contract offer to Fernandez with the goal of securing his long-term rights.
According to Spanish media, Real Madrid made a crazy offer for Rudy Fernandez, to convince the Spaniard to return in Europe after his years in the NBA.

Real offered to Rudy a six-year deal and €3M per season. Moreover, the club from the capital will give to Fernandez the chance to return to Dallas Mavericks when the lockout ends but with the promise that he will be back to Madrid as soon as his contract with the NBA champs expires. 
The offer equates to $4.35 million per year at current exchange rates. In other words, the deal would be worth $26.1 million, a hefty sum for a player that has been subject to the NBA's rookie scale so far during his career and was essentially buried on Portland's bench the last two seasons. Fernandez is set to make $2.1 million in the 2011-2012 season and would be line for a $3.2 million qualifying offer next summer with the opportunity to enter restricted free agency if no extension with Dallas was agreed to.

Almost since the moment fellow Spaniard Sergio Rodriguez was traded to the Sacramento Kings -- hastening his departure from the NBA and leaving Fernandez by himself in Portland -- a return to Spain has seemed inevitable. Fernandez spent last summer threatening not to show up for training camp and was fined because his agent publicly requested a release from his contract.

This offer -- as described -- is Fernandez's dream scenario. He gets to return to Spain, where he is a hero, to play immediately, can fulfill his duties to the Mavericks if necessary and then receive the long-term pay day which he thought he would get by coming to America. At 26 years old, the clock is ticking for Fernandez, and this deal would not only set him for life, it would also beat his market value in the NBA if he stuck around for free agency.

In Dallas, Fernandez has a legit chance to win an NBA title next season and beyond. In Madrid, he would have all the money and the fame he can handle. Good choices to have, but they will eventually force a difficult decision.
Posted on: July 1, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 12:46 am
 

Report: Kobe Bryant underwent PRP therapy on knee

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reportedly underwent platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy in his ailing knee. Posted by Ben Golliver. kobe-bryant

Over the last six months or so, we've been tracking any and all news related to the health and wellbeing of Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.  

Back in May, Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said that Bryant had an irreversible cartilage problem in his surgically repaired right knee. In January, Bryant said his knee was "almost bone-on-bone." 

Interestingly, Vitti noted in May that the Lakers "know all the procedures all around the world that are available to him, and the appropriate decisions will be made."

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports that Bryant underwent one of those procedures in Germany recently.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has taken an unusual step to try to strengthen his ailing right knee, undergoing an innovative procedure in Germany about a month ago, according to four people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly.

The treatment is called platelet-rich plasma therapy. PRP procedures are less invasive than many surgeries involving the knee and are viewed as either an emerging solution to knee problems or a financial gamble on unproven science.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy has undergone PRP therapy in his hamstring as well as both knees. Roy has questioned the effectiveness of the procedure and the medical community is not totally sold that PRP therapy by itself is effective.

PRP therapy injects a patient's blood into the area of concern to try to stimulate the body's natural healing abilities. It doesn't require an extended time away from physical activity and is quick and easy to undergo.

As of right now, players in the position that Bryant and Roy are in seem to think, "Why not? Worth a shot. I've got nothing to lose."
Posted on: June 29, 2011 5:19 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 8:43 pm
 

Blazers tender qualifying offer to Greg Oden

Posted by EOB Staff greg-oden

Update (8:37 p.m.): On Wednesday afternoon, the Portland Trail Blazers confirmed that they have tendered a qualifying offer to Greg Oden.
"We've stood behind Greg Oden every day since he became a Trail Blazer and that continues with today's announcement," said Trail Blazers President Larry Miller . "Despite the setbacks he's experienced, he continues to be resilient in working tirelessly on his rehabilitation. We're all very encouraged with not only his progress, but with his commitment and determination to return to the basketball court."
From Yahoo! Sports:
Portland Trail Blazers officials have told Greg Oden’s representatives they will tender the center an $8.8 million qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The Blazers have until midnight ET Thursday to give the qualifying offer.
via Blazers to make qualifying offer to Oden - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

The move isn't surprising, the Blazers have been rumored to be making this decision for months. It does send a signal, however. In doing so, the Blazers are asserting that Oden does not have enough long term injury questions to justify abandoning him to the market. 

Oden has had microfracture surgery... on each of his knees. Think about that. The most severe knee procedure that players have performed on them, and he's had it on both knees. Amar'e Stoudemire is considered an injury risk because of one microfracture surgery five years ago. Chris Paul is questioned without having had said surgery. And Oden has had it on both knees and broke his patella. 

So yeah, buyer beware there.

If Oden does receive an offer from another team, the Blazers will have seven days to match the offer. Usually, a team will frontload a contract to try and force the player's team to not match. But with Oden, they face the quandary of front-loading a contract for a player who is still recovering from injury, versus backloading a contract for a player with injury issues who may not be able to play, no, scratch that, definitely won't be able to play if he has another severe injury.

The Oden Problem is a tough one to figure out.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:37 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 11:20 am
 

2011 NBA Draft Winners and Losers



Posted by Matt Moore

It's all over. After an underwhelming crop of draft choices led to a flurry of trades, the dust has settled and the picks are wearing the right hats, finally. Here are your winners and losers of the 2011 NBA Draft:

Winners

Cleveland Cavaliers: Irving is mostly a case of winning by default, but they wouldn't have been the first team to be unable to get out of their own way with an obvious pick. Irving gives them a franchise point guard to build around and was the best player overall in this draft. Going for Derrick Williams would have been sheer hubris in order to burn LeBron by choosing a replacement forward. Then, with the fourth, they could have opted for Valanciunas, which would have been a good pick. But there's a reason so many teams were chasing Tristan Thompson. His workouts showed how he would translate on the next level, and with that kind of athleticism, he provides a good running partner for Irving. They managed to not overcomplicate the combination of two top-five picks. They got good talent both small and big. That's a win right there.

Washington Wizards: The Wizards very quietly had a terrific draft. First Jan Vesely was available, who fits a need for them at slashing forward. With his athleticism and aggression, he makes a perfect partner to run the break with John Wall. Then, miraculously, Chris Singleton tumbled all the way down to No.18 where the Wizards jumped all over him. Singleton is a lottery talent that fell out of the top 14. He gives the Wizards the ability to move Andray Blatche if they can find a taker for his contract. He can rebound and defend exceptionally well. Singleton's length and athleticism, combined with a chip on his shoulder from dropping, makes him a great pick for the Wizards. Shelvin Mack in the second round was a great value pick for backup point guard.

Charlotte Bobcats: In a day, the Bobcats transformed Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, the No.9 and No.19 into Corey Maggette, Bismack Biyombo, and Kemba Walker. That's a great haul. I've never been big on either of the Bobcats' draft picks, but when you consider the balance between an athletic super-freak who is unrefined and an established winner with limited upside, the Bobcats managed to grab two of the most hyped players in the draft. Biyombo provides length and athleticism to pair with Tyrus Thomas. Walker creates a complication at point guard with D.J. Augustin already being an undersized point guard. But Augustin has never won over the Bobcats organization and Walker will be given every chance to compete for the starting role. If his size issues aren't as much a concern as they've been made out to be, and if his shot creation translates to the next level, the Bobcats have just instantly created their foundation for the future while ditching one of their biggest contracts. A great start for the Cho era in Charlotte. 

Denver Nuggets: Raymond Felton got flipped for Andre Miller's non-guaranteed expiring contract and Jordan Hamilton, one of the steals of the draft who inexplicably fell. This for a guard the Nuggets didn't want in the first place. Oh, yeah, and they nabbed Kenneth Faried, who perfectly fits their needs and is a great value pick where they took him. Masai Ujiri is better than you.


Losers


Minnesota Timberwolves: Yes, again. Williams is a great pick, if they were moving Michael Beasley. Or if they were trading Williams. But David Kahn reportedly says they're not moving Williams. They wasted an opportunity to create more assets by moving either one, and instead, will now bullheadedly try to cram two similar players (three if you count Anthony Randolph) into a spot. It's a messy situation and Kahn should have taken one of the other offers made to him for the pick. Then there's the other trade, which was just a mess all over. They pulled in another Euro center to add to their collection, Brad Miller and his too-long, too-expensive contract, and ditched Jonny Flynn. The only redeeming quality is the future first which may or may not be protected into oblivion. Another sterling night for the Wolves. If Williams turns out to be worthy of the No.2 pick, and count me among the people that think he is, and the Wolves recognize that versus burying him as they did Kevin Love, this can be salvaged. From this vantage point, it doesn't look great. 

Update: Wolves wound up swapping Mirotic for the 28th and 43rd picks from the Bulls, then moved the 28th pick to Miami for the 31st pick, which they then sold as well as the 38th pick which was theirs. They used the 43rd on Malcolm Lee, and then traded for the 57th. While not getting Mirotic is a lot better than drafting him, they did all that and wound up with a first later, Malcolm Lee, and Targuy Ngombo. Not a great haul, there. Saved the boss some cash, though.

Golden State Warriors: How many guards can they need? New head coach Mark Jackson and GM Larry Riley constantly talked about defense. Then the Warriors took a shooter. They haven't moved Monta Ellis, so now on the roster they have Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Charlie Bell, Jeremy Lin, Acie Law and Reggie Williams. And they just added Klay Thompson. It was an unnecessary move with bigger players with more defensive presence available. The Warriors have enough talent to not need the best player available. But, again, they opt for the usual. Disappointing.

Portland Trail Blazers: Where did that come from? The Blazers first take a huge reach on Nolan Smith at No.21. Smith had his proponents as the draft got closer, and certainly isn't a terrible pick. But in taking him, they elected to create redundancy after trading too much (Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez) for Raymond Felton. The result is a reformed back court as the Blazers had promised, but not nearly as good as one you would have thought they could carry with the pieces available. Smith may work out well, but he'll never be starter caliber. And, with as many talented guards as there were late in the draft, taking him was a bit of a shock. Jon Diebler is 6-6 and can shoot. That's about it.  


Individual Winners:


Jan Vesely: Underrated as everyone talked about Kanter and Valanciunas, Vesely not only winds up with a good team fit for himself, but stole the highlight of the night with a kiss on the mouth of his lady friend. Then he said "I like the John Wall game" in his TV interview. Vesely came off incredibly cool for a 21-year-old Euro who can't shoot.

Tristan Thompson: Congratulations, Tristan, you cleared about ten spots in three days! It's a marathon, not a race.

Joe Dumars: Lucks into Brandon Knight. Rodney Stuckey problem: solved.


Individual Losers:


Brandon Knight: Plummeted due to his attitude and wound up in dysfunctional Detroit.

Josh Selby: If there was no age limit to the draft, Selby would have been a top ten pick last year. Now he falls all the way to the second round.

Jordan Hamilton: Something really bad must have been found on Hamilton, medically or otherwise. There was a nineteen-pick differential between Hamilton and a player who has rumors of being older than listed with a back issue and a contract problem. That's not a good look for the Texas ex.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 9:58 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 10:43 pm
 

NBA TRADE: Nuggets, Blazers, Mavs swap

Posted by Matt Moore

Update 10:17 p.m.: Ken Berger reports that the deal is more complicated. The Blazers also traded Rudy Fernandez to the Dallas Mavericks for the 26th pick in the draft, which they then immediately shipped to Denver (Jordan Hamilton). So to recap:

Portland receives: Raymond Felton

Denver receives: Andre Miller, Jordan Hamilton (by way of Dallas' 26th pick)

Dallas receives: Rudy Fernandez

Fernandez goes to the world champions who need a wing player with energy. The Mavericks are an old team and wouldn't have room for another young player like Hamilton, now get Fernandez who can hit from the outside (3-goggles!) but who was also disappointing and inconsistent for Portland. 

Winner: Denver. They managed to get Miller who is a cash dump and can play backup point guard, and an athletic forward to replace Wilson Chandler who will presumably now not be retained in free agency, and they didn't have to surrender Kenneth Faried who they took at No.22. More young assets and all they moved was Felton who they weren't committed to anyway and who wanted out. 

Loser: Portland gave up their starting point guard and Rudy Fernandez for Raymond Felton. Felton is good. He really is. But he's not starter-plus-sixth-man-for-him good. Not a good start to the post-Cho era in Portland. 

Original report:

In a trade that does not feel like a trade at all, Yahoo! Sports reports that the Nuggets have traded Raymond Felton to the Portland Trail Blazers for Andre Miller. 

The Nuggets essentially swapped Felton and his longer-term contract for Miller who has a team option for 2011-2012 and is an expiring deal after that. The Nuggets may not pick up the option on Miller, or may keep him for one more year as a backup to Ty Lawson. Felton was unhappy from the get-go in Denver after getting bumped to the bench for the younger Lawson.

For Portland, they've been looking to upgrade their point guard position for close to a year and Felton was available and cheap.  Felton likely won't have the chemistry Miller had with LaMarcus Aldridge or his lob ability, but he has better scoring ability, is younger, and a better defender as Miller fades with age. 

The Denver Post reports that the Nuggets also acquired the 26th pick from Dallas (not known what Dallas recieves), and a future second.
 
 
 
 
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