2012 NBA Trade Deadline: Portland Trail Blazers Set Their Sights on the Future

Eric Ringering@ringering45Contributor IIIMarch 16, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 20:  Nicolas Batum #88 of the Portland Trail Blazers is chased by Matt Barnes #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on March 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Well the Portland Trailblazers sure made some news at the 2012 NBA trade deadline.

A lot of people are looking at yesterday as a horrible day for the Blazers.  


Because they're planning for the future?  Because they realized a few things this week that most people have known for years?  

In truth, yesterday was probably the best day the Blazers have had since Brandon Roy's game four comeback in last year's first-round playoff series.

Look at everything the Blazers accomplished yesterday.  They cut ties with the five-year-long headache that has been Greg Oden.  They rid themselves of a very overrated coach in Nate McMillan.  And they shed the contracts of Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby—two guys who were not in the Blazer's long-term plans to begin with. 

Greg Oden had been a black eye for the organization since the day he was drafted.  The average fan probably assumed that after three major knee surgeries, Oden was never going to make it on the court again in a Blazers uniform.  But for nearly two years the Blazers organization continued to hold out hope that he would get healthy.  Finally yesterday, after nearly five years of disappointment, the Blazers moved on. 

Nate McMillan gets a lot of respect and credit for someone who has not done very much.  In 12 years as a head coach, McMillan has a .514 winning percentage and he has gotten past the first round of the playoffs just once (04-05).  

Now it is true that McMillan was given a difficult hand having to deal with major injuries to key players pretty much every year he was in Portland.  But McMillan should have been able to get more out of his teams.  


Just look at some of the players Portland has had since Nate has been the coach: Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Pryzbilla, Andre Miller, Nicholas Batum, Gerald Wallace, Wesley Matthews, Marcus Camby and for the two years he was good, Rudy Fernandez.  

That team couldn't beat a Phoenix Suns team in the 2010 playoffs whose fourth-best option was Channing Frye?  The same Channing Frye who could barely crack the second unit the season before in Portland?   

Nate underachieved as a coach and he deserved to be fired.

The hustle and tenacity of Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby will surely be missed, but Camby was on his last legs and Wallace was most likely heading out in the offseason anyway.  So instead of losing them for nothing, Portland turned them into a couple rentals, about $13 million in cap space and a first and second-round pick.  

That's a win. 

Portland wasn't going to win the west this year.  Truth be told, it wasn't even going to compete in the West.  The Blazers have been (6-16) on the road until this point.  It was time to move on.

So what was so bad about the moves the Blazers made at the 2012 NBA trade deadline?  They got rid of guy who can't play.  They got rid of a guy who can't coach.  And they turned two aging veterans into a lot of cap relief and young draft picks.  

In one day the Portland Trailblazers went from current embarrassment to future contender.

Yesterday wasn't a bad day to be a Blazer.  Yesterday was a great day to be a Blazer.