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A Golden Opportunity Lays on the Horizon and Portland Should Sign Bruce Bowen

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A Golden Opportunity Lays on the Horizon and Portland Should Sign Bruce Bowen
(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

Throughout this long and draining NBA offseason, fans have grown accustomed to much speculation involving teams with cap space, free agents, and a draft pick who's last name is Ricky Rubio.

Well, for those who enjoy the speculation, this should tide you over for a bit longer.

It has just been announced that the Milwaukee Bucks have released veteran small forward Bruce Bowen after trade talks with the Denver Nuggets failed.

Bowen is 38, and is approaching the final years of his career. But the three-time NBA champion has much to offer a team.

For the first time in nine years, Bowen was not a member of either of the All NBA Defensive Teams. He still remains a defensive presence despite his age, and can shoot the three at an above average percentage.

Aside from the three, his offense is not up to snuff with the rest of the league's small forwards, but after all he is known for his defense.

When San Antonio sent Bowen to Milwaukee earlier this offseason, they received Richard Jefferson, another defensive stalwart with NBA finals experience, not to mention a younger one who can play offense too.

It strikes many as odd that the Bucks decided to release Bowen. I understand that they want to give Joe Alexander more playing time, but the Bucks ranked in the bottom half of the league in defensive efficiency last season. For them to simply cut Bowen seems like a huge mistake.

So, where does Bruce Bowen go from here?

Teams such as Orlando, Cleveland, and Boston have been mentioned as possible suitors for Bowen, but another team should be listed, Portland.

I know what you're thinking. The Blazers already have three, soon to be four small forwards on contract with Nicolas Batum, Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster, and Dante Cunningham.

It is without a doubt that Batum is the small forward of the future for Portland. Heck, he started 75 games last season in place of projected starter Martell Webster, who was hurt the whole season with a nagging stress fracture in his left foot's fifth metatarsal.

Batum is without a doubt Portland's best perimeter defender. He can do almost everything defensively that one could ask for. But he still needs some more coaching and time before he can be the stalwart Portland knows he can be.

Here is where Bowen comes into play. He could either start or come off the bench, but his greatest contribution would be to mentor the young Batum. If an eight-time All-NBA Defensive team member can't help an up-and-coming defensive playmaker, who can?

Bowen wouldn't have to stick around forever as a player. Like I said before he is 38. Portland could sign him to a one or two year deal. That would be enough to help mentor Batum.

Heck, Bowen could be added to the Blazers' coaching staff once he retires.

And yet another positive to adding Bowen to the Blazers' roster is that it would open up space for either Travis Outlaw or Martell Webster to be traded before the deadline.

Kevin Pritchard got his start in the Spurs organization. He's seen how much of a defensive presence Bowen is. In my opinion, Portland's "Golden Boy" would be a fool to miss this golden opportunity that is literally right under his nose.

It's your move Pritchard. Make the call.

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