Portland Trail Blazers: Moves This Summer That Make Portland a Bigger Threat
Following a tough, first round playoff elimination at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, it's time for the Portland Trail Blazers to start planning for the offseason. Looking towards the 2011 NBA Draft and the free agency pool, these are some moves that will help strengthen the Blazers roster and make them an even more feared team in the NBA.
Offer Gerald Wallace a Contract Extension
Gerald Wallace has done nothing but pour his heart into the Portland Trail Blazers organization. He brings an unmatched toughness and versatility, being able to run both the small and power forward position and pushes the ball to the tempo of his liking.
Wallace earned the nickname Crash from his reckless style of play, attacking the basket head-first and jumping full force into the paint to grab boards. He's a part of the equation that needs to stay, and Portland needs to extend his contract ASAP.
Sign Goran Dragic or Rodney Stuckey
Goran Dragic cannot possibly be enjoying his time in Houston. He saw little to no playing time after being traded for Aaron Brooks and is better than the minutes he's been given.
If the Blazers can lure him into signing with Portland, a definite playoff team for next season, Dragic can put some quality minutes onto the court at the point guard position, while letting the veteran, Andre Miller, catch a breath from playing heavy minutes. He can shoot the three, as we saw in Phoenix, and he's an underrated passer. We saw what he did alongside Amare Stoudemire—what would Dragic be able to do with LaMarcus Aldridge?
It would be much tougher to land Rodney Stuckey in Portland, seeing as though he's a high-end player who would demand more money. But if he opted to take a salary cut to play for a playoff team, the Blazers would challenge every team in the NBA.
Give Greg Oden One Last Hoorah
Blake Griffin had a breakout season after coming off of a broken knee cap in 2009; who's to say Greg Oden can't to the same?
Oden is a shutdown inside defender who will block anything that comes his way. In his 21 games played last season, the man averaged 11 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game. If Oden can find a way to stay healthy for a season, he could be the answer to the many questions that Portland failed to answer.
Marcus Camby did an incredible job crashing the boards and protecting the paint, but he's 37 years old and is running out of steam. It's time for Oden to take his place.
Offer Oden a one-year, $3 million contract, and go from there.
Bring in Kris Humphries
Kris Humphries is like the offensive line for the New Jersey Nets, and Brook Lopez is the running back. Humphries does all the dirty work, banging down low and fighting for rebounds, while Lopez shines in the spotlight for his scoring ability.
It's time for him to go to a playoff team, like the Portland Trail Blazers. Backing up or playing alongside LaMarcus Aldridge, Humphries' 10 points and 10 rebounds per game would prove to be a difference in many games.
Another option could be Reggie Evans from the Toronto Raptors, and Kenyon Martin wouldn't be too bad of an option either, but Kris Humphries looks like a good way to go for Portland.
Trade Rudy Fernandez, or Sign Anthony Parker or Aaron Afflalo
Anyone who watches Blazer basketball knows Rudy Fernandez has been on a cold streak for them since the beginning of this season. He's a knockdown shooter, but he just hasn't been able to find his stroke this season.
It's time to cut the ties and sign someone who can shoot from the hash mark without hesitation. Aaron Afflalo is the ideal player, bringing both impeccable shooting ability and lock down defense, but the odds of Denver letting him go are close to none.
Anthony Parker has been shooting spot-up threes for years, but it's time he broke the ties with Cleveland and came to play with a top-tier team in the Portland Trail Blazers, rather than the bottom-dwelling "Cava-lose."
With the 21st Pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Trail Blazers Select Justin Harper
Justin Harper, the 6'10" small/power forward out of Richmond, is arguably last year's most improved player in the NCAA. Honing his three-point jump shot, Harper improved his percentages to a whopping 44.8 percent from downtown. He also averaged seven rebounds last season alongside 1.2 blocks per game.
Harper would fill in a few blanks for the Blazers, adding some size and a three-point threat. He would also spread out the court with his shooting ability and help fill gaps on the defensive end.
Another possibility would be the 6'8" Tobias Harris, but whatever direction the Blazers go in, they definitely need to pick up a big man.