David Lee the Focus for Blazers, Not Darius Miles' Salary

Hayato UwaiCorrespondent IJanuary 9, 2009

There have been several rumors that the Portland Trail Blazers might complete a three-way trade which would ship David Lee to Portland.

This deal involves the Blazers, the New York Knicks, and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Knicks would acquire Channing Frye from the Blazers and Marcus Camby from the Clippers. The Clippers would acquire Quentin Richardson and another player from the Knicks. The Blazers would get David Lee from the Knicks.

This deal would increase the Blazers' depth. Now, the Blazers can use Lee at either the SF or sixth man role. The Blazers can also search to trade Travis Outlaw and acquire Mike Conley and Hakim Warrick from the Memphis Grizzlies, to have Conley and Greg Oden on the same team.

Giving up Frye is not really a big deal for the Blazers, since Nate McMillan doesn't play him 20-plus minutes every game. Frye was acquired by the Blazers in 2007 in the Zach Randolph deal. Getting Lee for Frye is a significant upgrade.

The Knicks would also do the trade. Camby has been playing very well this season after being traded by the Denver Nuggets, but he is 34 already. The Clippers have already lost their playoff hopes. Maybe the Clips will consider trading Camby and open up their cap space. The Knicks wanted Frye back as well, so this makes sense.

The only issue might be whether or not the Clips are happy with what they get in return, which is Quentin Richardson and another player. If the Clips really want to clear the cap space, then they will do it. If they don't want to dump Camby, they might not do it.

For fantasy owners who own David Lee, this trade would drop his value a lot. You probably want Lee to stay in New York and keep averaging a double-double, but if the Knicks take Camby over Lee, I think this deal could happen soon.

Darius Miles is only two games away from adding his salary to the Blazers' payroll. The Blazers officials sent an email to every team in the NBA not to play Miles. If Miles somehow plays two more games, his $18 million salary will be added to the Blazers' payroll, also bringing the Blazers to luxury tax.

The Blazers noted in the email that they may sue the team, who played Miles for two more games in order to receive money from Portland's luxury tax.

Miles was waived by the Blazers last season when the Blazers assesed his injury was career-ending. He became a free agent, and if he plays fewer than 10 games this season, his salary will be erased from the Blazers' payroll.

The Blazers are probably looking to sign a big free agent after 2009-10 season, when LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and so on become free agents.

Blazers owner Paul Allen is also willing to pay big. Many teams in the NBA don't want the Blazers to become a contender in three years, and playing Miles for two more games would prevent the Blazers from adding a big free agent.