Trade Could Be in Paul’s Hands
Both players will likely command about $5 million per year, and Blazers general manager Neil Olshey knows Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling and his bank account better than anyone after nine years with the organization.
A sign-and-trade seems like a perfect opportunity for both teams to acquire players to enhance the roster.
Now try convincing Chris Paul of that
The Clippers are channeling their inner Brooklyn Net, as they slave away trying to please point guard Chris Paul in hopes of resigning him the way Brooklyn did Williams late Tuesday night.
If Paul signed off on a Crawford-for-Billups move, which the Los Angeles Times reports is unlikely, the Blazers would find little trouble in acclimating the Clippers guard to the locker room.
Billups and Olshey have a relationship fostered during Billups shortened one-year tenure with the Los Angeles Clippers and as far as anyone can tell, the relationship was a positive one for both sides.
In a locker room that sorely lacks a veteran vocal presence, Billups could easily fill that void and would command the respect of Blazers veterans such as all-star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
By all accounts, he is a hard worker who is a solid citizen in the community. He also has one thing that nobody else on the Blazers can claim to have: An NBA championship ring.
If Olshey wants to teach his young nucleus how to win, what better example to provide them than Billups?
The Blazers have two factors working against them
An expectation to win in the short-term and a question mark at head coach. What could be a struggle for Olshey is trying to convince Billups to take a secondary role for a team that failed to make the playoffs in 2012.
At 35, Mr. Big Shot will be as motivated as ever before to prove that he has some gas left in the tank after rehabilitating from an Achilles tear that he suffered in a match-up against Orlando on February 7th.
As recently as two weeks ago, Billups told the Denver Post that he plans on playing a full 82-game schedule, and I don’t see him accepting a role of 20 minutes per game during his redemption tour.
Billups, presumably like many other veterans, are likely to choose places in 2012-13 where they will simultaneously get paid and at least make the playoffs. Portland does not guarantee the latter as currently constructed.
Without a reassurance that the roster will dramatically improve by October, it is unreasonable to think that he would be willing to lose one season with a lottery team when he may have three remaining at most.
This would not be as significant of an issue if Olshey hired a coach that would find minutes for Billups.
If the Blazers were to hire someone in the mold of former New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, then it is feasible that Billups could be part of a three-guard offense, similar to what D’Antoni executed at stretches with Jeremy Lin, Baron Davis, and Iman Shumpert during the month of Linsanity.
Such a move could provide playing time to Billups, while allowing Damian Lillard to learn on the floor.
No matter who they hire, the Blazers brass may not have the final decision.
In order to get one point guard, they must lob a favor to another.
The fate of the Clippers present and its future rests in Paul’s hands, as it will in Los Angeles all season long.