A few years ago, the Trailblazers were making a run at the title. They had a very talented roster with players such as Rasheed Wallace, Scottie Pippen, Arvydas Sabonis, Brian Grant, and Damon Stoudamire leading the charge.
Many Blazer fans believe only a fourth quarter collapse against the hated L*kers prevented a second championship from coming to Portland. Yet even during that run there was a distinctive lack of excitement around the team.
That lack of excitement has regularly been attributed to the character of the players on the team—the Rasheed Wallace technicals, the Qyntel Woods dog-fighting, the players cursing out Coach Maurice Cheeks, Damon Stoudemire choosing tin-foil as a masking device for the marijuana he was trying to smuggle through airport security, Ruben Patterson and his sex offender problems, Zach Randolph being Zach Randolph, and a host of other issues.
The team was winning but nobody really cared.
Along came GM Kevin Pritchard and the famed draft that saw the acquisition of LaMarcus Aldridge and some guy named Brandon Roy. Travis Outlaw was already on the scene.
Suddenly, the character of the franchise changed. These are guys in the Brian Grant/Terry Porter-mold who are visible members of the community. Roy has a lot of notable charities going, Channing Frye does (did...in light of his not receiving a qualifying offer) and so forth.
These are guys who are of good reputation off the court to go along with their talents on the court. And the fans have responded.
Attendance is up. TV ratings are up. Merchandise sales are up. There is heavy discussion in the offseason about what the Blazers will do. And one name comes up over and over that just crushes me every time I see it: Jason Kidd.
Kidd should end up in the Hall of Fame when his playing days are done. He is among the best passers of our generation, a tremendous ball-hawk with fast hands who played the passing lanes very well, a superior rebounder for a guard, and a guy who got the Nets to the Finals.
He is also a guy who should never set foot on the court in a Blazers uniform.
Part of the interest in the current incarnation of the team is the nature of the guys. Gone are the days when players with great talent but horrible personalities were a welcomed part of the team. Scottie Pippen nearly brought a championship to Portland while turning off fans with his boorish behavior in restaurants, for example. But he was a good guy in comparison to Kidd.
No need to detail here the incidents that led to Kidd being jettisoned from a very good Suns team to New Jersey, nor to go over the things that came up during his divorce. Suffice it to say, he is not the type of good-character guy that makes up the current Blazer roster.
He would be a return to the win-at-all-costs mentality that led to the Jail Blazer-era we all still suffer shame for.
Sure, the Blazers need some defensive help at the point which Jerryd Bayless may or may not provide this year. And nobody questions that Kidd would be an improvement over Steve Blake from a pure talent aspect. But he would be a huge step back in the character department and is not a guy I would ever want to see in a Blazer uniform.
How positive am I about that?
Should Kidd become a Blazer, I would sell my season tickets and not renew them, nor would I purchase tickets again for some time after he was gone.
No Kidd in Portland. Not now, not ever.
Keep the team the way they are; fun, likable, and good guys. Let other teams take flyers on guys like Kidd. There is a place for him in the NBA. It just isn't Portland.