Like everybody else paying attention lately, I've heard that Trail Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard has inquired about the Washington Wizards' Brenden Haywood.
Apparently, the Wizards wanted Nicolas Batum and Rudy Fernandez in return—a ridiculous package for someone that has career averages of less than eight PPG and seven RPG.
Pritchard's likely counter-offer will be Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw, two players that, like Haywood, have contracts that expire after this season.
While I like what this trade has to offer for the Blazers (a big body that can help until Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla come back next season), I would also prefer that Pritchard make no moves this season.
My rationale is this: Portland's pretty damned fortunate to still be in position for a playoff berth, considering that they've played without practically all their key players for some or most of this season. This year was not going to be a stepping-stone kind of year from the moment Oden's knee exploded.
Losing Pryzbilla, Outlaw, Fernandez, and having Batum unavailable from the very start, has made 2009-10 a highly difficult year, to put it very mildly.
Now, playing without Brandon Roy, Portland's performance has started to suffer; the disappointing fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder was proof that without Roy, the Blazers are about as lost as sheep without a shepherd—and the wolves are right at the gates.
Trading for Haywood, or any other big man, will not help Portland do more than achieve a lower-seed playoff spot. If Portland gave up long-term resources like Batum, Martell Webster, or Jerryd Bayless, it would do nothing but give the young Blazers the experience of being destroyed by the Lakers or Denver Nuggets in the first round.
It may be difficult for fans to do, but the view that has to be taken with this team must be long-term.
Roy is still in his mid-20s, a couple years away from what Coach Nate Mcmillian calls the player's "prime age" of 27. Everyone else of importance on the team, with the exception of Pryzbilla and Andre Miller, is younger than Roy.
Webster still has time to develop into a 40 percent or better three-point shooter. Batum has drawn comparisons to Scottie Pippen. Bayless and Fernandez have some time to learn control on offense.
Don't forget about Oden. He may be as fragile as glass, but I remember that the only time Bill Walton played a mostly healthy season in Portland, the Blazers won a championship.
That 1976-'77 title team is revered not only in Portland, but among true basketball people that say, that particular team was amongst the greatest basketball teams to ever step onto a court.
I say give this current generation of Blazers the kind of chance Harry Glickman gave Walton, Maurice Lucas, Dave Twardzik and the rest all those years ago.
I'm not saying Greg Oden is Bill Walton. What I'm saying is that the successes of 2008-'09 should not color anyone's thinking about 2010, and beyond.
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