It's Andre Miller Time in Portland, But Has the Clock Run Out For Other Blazers?

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IJuly 29, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 22:  Andre Miller #7 of the Philadelphia 76ers sets up a play against the Orlando Magic in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena April 22, 2009 in Orlando, Florida.   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 Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

My fellow Blazermaniacs, today we stand at the point of no return.

We face a shambled economy, a health care system tailored only for those who can afford it, and a congress divided over whether to rethink our policies or to stay stagnant in our country's development.

Political speeches aside there are many things to cheer about in the Pacific Northwest.

The state of the Portland Trail Blazers is a greatly intriguing one.

After the Blazers' first-round playoff exit this past April, head coach Nate McMillan, general manager Kevin Pritchard, and team owner Paul Allen vowed that changes would be made en route to a Western Conference berth.

There have been departures. There have been additions. There have been hearts broken, and there have been opportunities missed.

The first big change to occur was on draft night, when the Trail Blazers shipped reserve point guard Sergio Rodriguez and draft pick John Brockman to the Sacramento Kings for Jeff Pendergraph.

The Blazers also drafted Victor Claver in the first round as well as Dante Cunningham in the second.

The latest roster change we know of is that Portland has signed free agent point guard Andre Miller to a three-year $21 million deal.

What I would like to see now is for Kevin Pritchard and Nate McMillan to pull Jerryd Bayless aside and flip him the bird.

By trading away Sergio Rodriguez, the Blazers were making good on their word to Bayless, giving him the backup point guard role.

Now with Andre Miller officially a Trail Blazer, Bayless is in the exact same place he found himself in just 3 months ago, a third string bench warmer.

By signing Andre Miller, Kevin Pritchard has given us a vision of things to come.

Miller is in no way about to retire. At 31, the 10-year veteran has missed only three games in his entire career. He's nowhere near as fatigued as Jason Kidd, who is going on 37 years of age.

Although, when one looks closely at the games of Bayless and Miller, they are not so different,

Miller prefers to attack the basket, and not only can finish at the rim, but can dish the ball out to perimeter shooters for easy assists.

Bayless is a point guard trapped in a shooting guard's body. The kid is a pure athlete, plain and simple. We've seen how easily he can get to the rim. The only thing really separating his play from Miller's is the assist numbers.

Because of the Miller signing, I believe it is safe to say that Bayless could be traded by the trading deadline, along with Travis Outlaw and Martell Webster.

Dante Cunningham will most likely earn the backup small forward job over Outlaw, as he has a much more consistent jumper and is more prone to driving the lane, something McMillan has been trying to get Outlaw to do for years.

The other area where Outlaw has logged his minutes, the backup power forward position, will more than likely be filled by Jeff Pendergraph, who has shown his grittiness and toughness in the paint, as well as a developing perimeter game.

Unless Webster puts up incredible numbers this season, he also will be easy trade bait. Rudy Fernandez is Brandon Roy's backup. Rudy can shoot, pass, and play above average defense, while Webster is a defensive liability.

What the Andre Miller signing really boils down to is that Portland obviously is not confident with Bayless' growth as a point guard so far.

I would not be the least bit surprised to hear or read his name on a list of trades made before next season's trading deadline, along with Martell Webster and Travis Outlaw.

All that is left to do is for Kevin Pritchard to give both Roy and Aldridge the money they deserve.

Stay tuned Blazermaniacs. You won't want to miss out on any of the action, no matter what time of year the calendar tells us it is.