Posts Tagged ‘Dwight Jaynes’

Aldridge, Trail Blazers Set For A Split?



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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Making a graceful exit, whenever and however it happens, is probably out of the question for LaMarcus Aldridge. Let’s get that out of the way right now.

Aldridge might not have said the words himself, but a public demand for a trade isn’t necessary when his “camp” spends time in Las Vegas suggesting possible trade scenarios to Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey, according to my main man Chris Haynes of CSNW.com.

This marriage seems headed for divorce at some point over the next year and a half. And it’s hard to fault Aldridge for seeking a fresh start at this stage of his career. When your contemporaries around the league are joining forces left and right and lining up for championship runs, being in the midst of continuous rebuilding situations in Portland does nothing for an All-Star’s title hopes.

There was a time, as recently as three years ago (before all of the injuries, tumult and roster and front office upheaval), when it looked like Aldridge might realize those dreams in Portland. But he’s the last man standing from that pre-Olshey era. Now he’s looking for a fresh start somewhere he can be a key piece on a playoff team, a contender even, albeit with two years and some $30 million remaining on his current deal.

But if Aldridge and the Trail Blazers are set for a split, amicable or not, snagging equal value for a 7-foot, 240-pound power forward that can play center in this small-ball phase the league is going through will be tough. At 27, Aldridge is still young enough to be slotted as one of a team’s frontcourt anchors for the next six or seven seasons.

Still, there is an air of uncertainty surrounding these reported trade suggestions. The names being thrown around, by one side or the other, will raise plenty of eyebrows:

Trading Aldridge for a collection of draft picks will not be an option.

Prospective teams holding the rights to Joakim Noah, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, Al Horford and Anthony Davis, as of now, have declined to involve their franchise players in any potential deals for Aldridge, a league source told CSNNW.com.

Unless something changes after Summer League, the likely development is Aldridge returning to Portland next season and having a strong year to increase the likelihood of Olshey pulling the trigger on a deal.

When Aldridge is a year removed from becoming a free agent, his camp will have more leverage than at the current time.

Aldridge could return for another season and pair up with Rookie of the Year-winning guard Damian Lillard and find himself in a situation that might be to his liking. Robin Lopez and Thomas Robinson have been added to the mix, guys Olshey expects to do the “grit-and-grind” work to while preserving Aldridge from shouldering as much of the load as he’s had to the past three seasons. A run at a playoff spot could change Aldridge’s outlook on this team, which is why Olshey would be wise to hold off on serious trade talks for as long as he can.

But in a day and age when star players bolt from their incumbent franchises for all sorts of reasons, the Trail Blazers would have to listen if one of those aforementioned players were actually to become available.

Love grew up in suburban Portland and Griffin has connections to Olshey from their shared time with the Clippers. Both Noah and Horford are the kind of no-nonsense, hard-working players that could fit in anywhere. And Davis is a young talent with perhaps the highest ceiling of all.

With a huge free-agent summer of 2014 on the horizon already and a potentially monster 2014 Draft class in play as well, teams with proven commodities in the fold have to keep all of their options open these days.

And again, if these are the sorts of talents that could come into play at some point, Olshey would be obligated to at least explore the possibilities.

It’s only right, considering Aldridge’s camp is doing the same thing … exploring the possibilities.


Still No Word On GO … Until Now!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – His name rarely comes up around the hideout anymore, which seems strange since he was all we talked day after day this time a few years ago.

But the clock is ticking on Greg Oden and the Portland Trail Blazers. They have to extend a qualifying offer to the oft-injured big man sometime before midnight Thursday, a formality already handled by plenty of other teams for their soon-to-be free agents (as seen here on NBA.com’s Free Agent Tracker).

If it wasn’t for an early morning reminder from “The Godfather,” Dwight Jaynes of CSNNW.com, we’d have forgotten about Oden completely, what with all the other labor drama going on right now.

While every indication is that the qualifying offer will be extended, The Godfather has some keen observations on the topic:

It’s interesting how long it’s taken, though. Most teams have taken care of this type of paper work by now, made their decisions and pretty much gone down to the business of figuratively nailing the plywood on all the windows in preparation for the upcoming lockout hurricane.

Portland has no choice but to bring Oden back. The team has spurned opportunities to acquire other centers, or even draft one. They’re stuck with a teetering Marcus Camby in the middle and not much else up front on the bench.

Funny thing, though. As dependent as the Trail Blazers are going to be on Oden next season for any real improvement, a long lockout may be just what the doctor ordered. All indications are that Oden won’t be fully recovered and ready to play until January. That may be right about the time the NBA players come to their senses and accept the whipping they’re going to take at the bargaining table.

A 50-game season would be the perfect prescription for Oden. The last time the league went to one of those abbreviated seasons, of course, it had to jam three-games-in-three-nights situations into the schedule and Oden would probably have to sit out the middle of those games, but no matter.

All that is predicated on the idea that the Trail Blazers will take a chance on Oden, something that is still being discussed in Portland, per our main man John Canzano of The Oregonian and “The Bald-Faced Truth.”

UPDATED 8:09 p.m. ET:

BLAZERS EXTEND QUALIFYING OFFER TO ODEN

The Portland Trail Blazers have extended a qualifying offer to center Greg Oden, it was announced today by the team. Portland has also extended a qualifying offer to guard Patrick Mills and exercised its third-year options on forward Luke Babbitt and guard Elliot Williams.

Both Oden and Mills become restricted free agents, ensuring that the Trail Blazers will have right of first refusal should another team try to sign them. The moves give Portland the right to match any contract offer they receive in the offseason.

“We’ve stood behind Greg Oden every day since he became a Trail Blazer and that continues with today’s announcement,” said Trail Blazers President Larry Miller. “Despite the setbacks he’s experienced, he continues to be resilient in working tirelessly on his rehabilitation. We’re all very encouraged with not only his progress, but with his commitment and determination to return to the basketball court.”