I can’t say it loud enough, the NBA is all about quality, not quantity.
Take a look at the four conference finals teams this year:
Los Angeles: Bryant/Gasol/Odom
San Antonio: Duncan/Ginobili/Parker
The line-ups you see here all have three legitimate stars, unlike any other team in the NBA. Three seems to be the magic number, although the more the better, right? The point I’m making is that stars run this league, and to have a real shot, you need at least three on a team.
Teams that have the best benches don’t make the finals. Teams with the best starting line-ups do. The only exception is when the two are one in the same, and usually, having the best bench is a result of the stars who start.
Now, don’t get me wrong, role players are undoubtedly important. However, once you look past the all-stars, the association plateaus. All players in the league are athletic and have potential, but good role players are a result of the stars around them.
Turning the focus to Portland, it is easy to see that the big three are set. Oden/Aldridge/Roy. Before long, all three will be All-Stars. Mark it down.
While the big three is set in stone, everything else is up in the air. With so many trade assets, Kevin Pritchard is sure to try and make some moves. I say this is done through the draft, since it is the best opportunity to land a future star, who will be young and cheap—and there is nothing NBA GM’s love more than young, cheap stars.
Now, when KP looks at the draft, my guess is he will probably see two guys he really covets (outside of Beasley and Rose). There is little doubt in my mind that if he believes these kids can come into the league and be stars, he will go get them, because he has the assets to do so.
So, let’s assume KP decides he really likes OJ Mayo. The Blazers need a PG, and with Mayo and Roy in the backcourt, they could split duties and voila, problem solved. For the simplicity of this argument, let’s say Pritchard doesn’t like anyone else in the draft and must have Mayo.
To be sure of landing OJ, the Blazers would need the No. 3 pick, which is currently held by Minnesota. So what is worth giving up for this guy (who KP has determined is THE guy)?
Well, as far as I’m concerned, I’d give up anything besides what I think of as our “Core 5”. This includes Roy/Aldridge/Oden/Fernandez/Webster.
For those asking “who is Fernandez,” his name is Rudy and he is the best player in the world outside the U.S. Just to give you an idea of his value, many think he’d be a top 5 pick this year.
I threw Webster into the mix because he is only 21, athletic as they come, and at times, can shoot the lights out. As he develops, he will be a great SF.
That leaves a lot of players that we could trade to Minnesota to get that pick. However, just like we have a “Core 5” we also have a “Value 5” which are the five best trade assets not included in the core group. These five consist of Travis Outlaw, Jarrett Jack, Channing Frye, Raef LaFrentz (because of his monstrosity of an expiring contract) and Joel Pryzbilla.
To all you Blazer fans out there in an uproar over suggesting we trade the likes of Outlaw or Pryzbilla, remember the point of this article. Quality not quantity. While these two guys are great role players, they are just that, role players. If KP can find a way (which he can) to morph any combination of the “Value 5” into a star, then he has to do it.
Now let me throw out a trade idea. The Blazers give up Outlaw/Pryzbilla/13 to the Timberwolves for Madsen/Jaric/3. This trade works under the CBA, and it also works for both teams. Minnesota drops two bench players and picks up the center they so badly need plus a young super-freak athlete who can contribute right away but also has a ton of potential. Plus they get the 13th pick.
Portland gets the No. 3 pick, which it uses on Mayo. The Blazers also take on the useless contracts of Madsen/Jaric, whom they could end up waiving depending on the number of roster spots they need in 08/09.
Yes, for the Blazers, this is a steep price to pay. But for a PG that could turn into a superstar, this is really a no-brainer. Outlaw does have a ton of potential, but it would just be wasted in Portland anyway with all of the young talent. In Minnesota, he could flourish and really become a good player.
This trade undeniably works in both teams’ favor.
Feel free to comment on any trade ideas you may have, all while keeping the CBA in mind.
Here comes the dynasty.