First to Orlando, where the rumor mill keeps chugging out the name Hedo:
Several general managers and agents in the NBA believe that the Portland Trail Blazers — a rising club like the Magic — might offer the stiffest competition to sign Turkoglu. The Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks also have salary-cap room to put Turkoglu in play.
And from Chad Ford’s ESPN chat today, there’s two little nuggets:
Ford: …Lots of teams would be interest in Ariza including the Blazers and Pistons … two teams with cap room.
Random dude using Kevin Pritchard moniker: I will be trading up in the draft and grabbing Blair for our back up PF. I will also be using the cap space to make a run at Nash, Kidd, Miller and Sessions – in that order. I might even throw our hat in the Turkeyglue sweepstakes. Approve/Disapprove?
Ford: That’s not totally far off. The Blazers do like DeJuan Blair. Nash isn’t a free agent so that’s an issue. I do see Turkoglu as a target … but they may not have enough cash. Blazers are looking at around $7 to $8 million in room this year.
If you haven’t heard by now, Atlanta’s Josh Smith is apparently “available“.
We’ve worn out Turkoglu’s name discussing him already, but I still maintain that he’d be a great fit if the price is right. But now that he reportedly wants $10 million a year, the price probably isn’t going to be right. Same with Ariza. Do I like him? Yes, as much as anyone. Am I willing to pay him what his agent is likely to ask for after Ariza won a title? Probably not.
Blair might be a very interesting opportunity on draft-day if he falls into the late teens because of knee concerns. If it only costs you Sergio to move up 6-8 spots, I don’t see any reason not to make the move unless Portland’s medical staff is worried about Blair, too. He’s got Paul Milsap written all over him. But if it’s going to cost too much to get him, the Blazers will probably be better off going after Brandon Bass or Antonio McDyess.
As for the PG’s discussed, I’m glad Ford pointed out that Nash isn’t a free agent, since lots of Portland fans seem to think we could just acquire him with our cap space. I’m not going to pretend to know what Steve Kerr is up to since nearly every Sun has been involved in one trade rumor or another, but keep in mind that Nash is the identity of that team right now and the reason why there’s still all those frontrunner fans in Phoenix these days. I’m not saying he’s not available, but Steve Nash isn’t going anywhere in a salary dump or the Sergio/Outlaw platter.
Kidd, on the other hand, could probably be had with our cap space. And a small part of me wants to believe he might be in that “Take less money to win now” stage of his career where he might take a fraction of his former paycheck to ensure the Blazers have some dough left to throw around. After Kidd, though, I’m probably more inclined to try and pry Sessions away from the Bucks than go after Miller.
In the end, our discussions shouldn’t focus on who we think is a good fit with the Blazers or who is better than who at which stage of their respective careers. These are all good players we’re talking about, so we should be focused on what we’d be willing to give up in acquiring any of them.
So who would you be willing to trade for Nash? How much money — or how much of our cap room — would you offer Kidd, Dice, Bass, Miller or Sessions? Is moving up in the draft for Blair or one of the 47 point guard prospects worth sacrificing the assets to woo one of the aforementioned players?