Plea To Blazers Management – Shake things up!
For what’s been a relatively successful season so far for the Blazers, they do have their downfalls.
For one, their lack of a killer instinct on the road has befuddled all Blazers fans, and the play of Raymond Felton has been less than incredible.
Currently they sit at 15-13, good for 8th in the conference, with just a one game lead over the 9th slotted Utah Jazz. So what should Portland do to stay competitive down the stretch?
Well I took the NBA trade machine for a spin to see what I could come up with. Here are my five best trade options for the Portland Trail Blazers.
1. The “So Good for the Team it Won’t Happen” trade
We all know of the situation Steve Nash is enduring in Phoenix this year. An ageless wonder wasting away on a subpar basketball team, with an owner too proud to move his only All-Star.
What would make sense, for both sides, is for Portland to package Raymond Felton (1 year, $7.5 million contract) and Nicolas Batum (1 year, $2.1 million contract) and about $2 million in exchange for Steve Nash (1 year, $11.6 million contract).
This helps Portland get that missing piece: a solid, somewhat mistake-free, point guard, that can distribute wild assists to the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace on a nightly basis.
How Phoenix improves is by absorbing the final year of the atrocious Raymond Felton contract, while scoring a young, very promising forward in Batum.
Chance of trade: 30%.
2. The “Point Guard Ray Felton Should’ve Been” trade
In this scenario we see Portland trading Raymond Felton (do you see a trend?) and a 2013 Round 1 pick in exchange for Philadelphia 76ers guard Lou Williams (2 year, $5.1 million contract). I throw next years Round 1 pick in to this trade due to the fact that Lou Williams is two years younger than Felton, and could be a key piece in the Blazers future.
This trade, however, really only helps the Blazers as Philadelphia has a rising star in Jrue Holiday, leaving only bench minutes for Felton.
But hey, this column is just pure speculation anyway, so why not?
Chance of trade: 15%.
3. The “He’s Too Big of a Piece on a Playoff Team” trade
As I move to the latter few trade ideas, options start to get sparse, as far as the Blazers’ needs/feasible trade options go. So I started to have a little fun, just to see what I could come up with.
Here we see Portland moving Ray Felton, once again.
In addition to Felton Portland throws in a 2012 1st or 2nd round pick, depending on the health of the incoming player. This incoming player would be Houston Rockets guard Kyle Lowry (3 year, $5.7 million contract).
Portland benefits from obtaining an improving player in Lowry, who would fit the Portland offense incredibly. What he’s doing in Houston this year, with some questionable pieces around him, has been outstanding.
Ray Felton in Houston could actually work too, it’s just a matter of getting Houston to part ways with Lowry which is very unlikely.
Chance of trade: 5%.
4. The “Okay this is Just a Stretch” trade
This scenario is likely one of the more comical ones as we see, of course, Ray Felton and a 2012 Round 2 traded to the Charlotte Bobcats for guard D.J. Augustin (1 year, $3.2 million contract).
We’d see Ray Felton reunited with the team that drafted him 5th overall back in 2005, and Portland would acquire a very good young point guard in D.J. Augustin.
The problem that arises with this trade is that Charlotte would need to cough up roughly $2.5 million in the trade, something that just isn’t feasible with a trade like this, unless they really covet Portland’s 2012 draft pick.
Chance of trade: 2%.
5. The “Thanks for One Great Year, Wesley Matthews” trade
For the fifth, and final, trade option, I stray from giving up Felton and steer towards acquiring another Blazer need, a solid, scoring shooting guard. I’m all aboard the Wesley Matthews train, and am simply doing this trade for the sake of conversation.
In this scenario I have the Blazers packaging Wesley Matthews (4 year, $6.1 million contract) and a 2012 Round 2 to the Oklahoma City Thunder for rising star, and bonafide scorer James Harden (2 year, $4.6 million contract).
I don’t really see OKC giving up Harden, but if they somehow bit on the Matthews/Round 2 bait, I really think Harden would instantly make a giant impact on the Blazers.
I could also see Matthews doing well in Oklahoma City.
With Durant and Westbrook commanding most of the double teams, Matthews would find himself open more often, allowing him to continue to launch three after three after three.
In this scenario, I like the benefits for both teams, but Portland is easily the winner here.
Chance of trade: 0%. (OKC loves James Harden).
There you have it, five absurd trades that could make Portland a deadlier team come playoffs.
If any of these trades actually came to fruition I could see Portland getting that Round 1 playoff monkey off their back, however, I am holding out hope that they can achieve that with the roster as it currently sits.
Before any of this happens though, they need to learn how to win on the road.