What to do with the MLE

Let’s take a break from draft talk and move ahead a couple weeks to the start of Free Agency 2010 on July 1. Clearly, the best course of action is for Portland to sign LeBron James and Chris Bosh…

Just kidding, this isn’t one of those pieces. Outside of some courtesy phone calls, the Blazers aren’t going anywhere near any of the many free agents expected to get max or near-max contracts. Beyond that, those guys aren’t worth your time discussing. What is worth discussing is what Portland can do with the Mid Level Exception.

Since the Blazers will be over the salary cap once the extensions to LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy kick in, Portland will have the MLE in hand to offer any free agent a contract of up to five years at the league-average salary, which will probably come in a little over $6 million per year. That may not seem like much, but both good and overrated players sign for the MLE every year, and if used correctly it’s a great tool to fill out a rotation with specialists and role players.

It can also royally screw your salary cap situation if you either A. Use the MLE too often or B. Use it to overpay players like Marcus Banks, Chris Duhon or Brian Cardinal.

That said, let’s take a look at some of Portland’s potential options this summer. Clearly, Portland’s strategy in free agency will hinge on the sort of players they get in the draft, so when going down the list, assume we’re talking about each player as though they wouldn’t be overly superfluous with recent picks. As you’ll see after the jump, the primary theme is shooting, shooting, shooting.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Rivers speaks with guard Ray Allen in the second half of play against the Orlando Magic during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals NBA basketball series in Orlando.

So good, he's scaaaaarrry. Lame? I don't care. (Source: Yardbarker.com)

Ray Allen, SG, Age 34: He’s the oldest guy on the list, and the best option, to boot. Nevermind that he’s one of the best shooters of all time, he’s just a good fit for team that will probably be trying to rebuild its offensive attack around more interior options. I probably don’t need to explain the ways he could free up space for Oden and Aldridge, as his shooting credentials speak for themselves, but one of the more underrated aspects of his game is his work on the break. Scoring 1.3 points per transition possession, 17 percent of Allen’s total offense came on the break, and it’s not because he’s out dunking on people and drawing a ton of and-1′s. The Celtics run an exceptional secondary break, routinely getting uncovered threes for a trailing Allen or Paul Pierce, and while some of this success is due to Rajon Rondo’s ball-pushing, it’s not luck that Allen keeps getting left on the wing. Not everything on the fast-break has to be a layup or a dunk, and having one of the best trailers out there would be a good step to Portland getting easier buckets.

Udonis Haslem, PF, Age 29: Haslem is the prototypical, role-playing power forward that you would love not to be overpaying. He’s a good rebounder, active, can hit the 15-foot jumper and, being one of the better full-court power forward defenders in the league, doesn’t hurt you anywhere. While I like Dante Cunningham, I’m not convinced he is the long-term option at the backup-four spot. Unfortunately, it sounds like Haslem is following Wade to wherever he goes in free agency.

Louis Amundson, PF/C, Age 27: Amundson would be a cheaper alternative to Haslem, but not an ideal fit for Portland because of his lack of a mid-range jumper. He’s active on offense and a reasonable pick-setter and finisher, but you’re signing Amundson for his career 14 percent offensive rebounding percentage. He’s solid on defense, and might be better than you’ve seen in Phoenix were he in Nate’s system, but he’s not great against the pick-and-roll, nor on closing out on stretch forwards. But if Juwan Howard is transitioning to a role on the coaching staff — apparently a year away from that, if he’s re-signed — then Amundson could be a cheap replacement. And remember, the MLE can be split up as much as you want, so you could sign someone to a larger contract and try to get Amundson with what’s left over.

Matt Barnes, SF, Age 29: Is he a great option? No. Is he a decent option if you can sign him for under $2 million a year, as he’s making now in Orlando? Absolutely. While he has the reputation of a “tough guy”, Barnes is, by all accounts, a good teammate, and really isn’t that rough of an on-court player. Two problems: He has a player option on his contract, meaning if he opts out of Orlando, he’s going to want to make more than the $1.6 million he’s making now. Secondly, he probably isn’t an upgrade over Martell Webster, so you’re using part of your MLE on someone who wouldn’t be part of the rotation, barring trades of Webster or Rudy Fernandez.

Kyle Korver, SF, Age 28: Another small forward, another guy that probably isn’t a target unless someone gets traded. He shoots better than 40 percent from deep and is a reasonable passer, an important trait for shooters you’re placing around large bodies like Oden. It’s one thing to be able to shoot on the kick-out pass, its another to be able to re-post the big man or hit him with quick passes when he’s got deep position and only three seconds to remain in the paint.

Mike Miller, SF, Age 29: Miller made almost $10 million last year and is almost surely taking a pay cut, which is appropriate given his productivity has fallen off since he was with Memphis three seasons ago. He’s capable of playing point-forward — career 16.9 assist percentage — which makes him an attractive option next to Jerryd Bayless, and, like the others, is a 40 percent shooter from downtown. Of the Barnes, Korver, Miller small forward trifecta, Miller is probably my choice, as he’s the most skilled, won’t be looking for too much money and is coming on consecutive anonymous seasons with Minnesota and Washington.

Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic Playoffs

Notice Redick's hands don't immediately go to cover his face when he gets hit. (Source: Yardbarker.com)

Restricted Free Agents

J.J. Redick, SG, Age 25: Things are shaping up for Redick to be your classic, “He was in the playoffs for a long time and performed well, so somebody is going to overpay him” guy. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t give him a good chunk of the mid-level exception for, say, four years, but it’s worth considering because it means he’ll be a hot commodity and might get priced out of Portland’s range. The pluses to Redick are, like Miller, that not only is he a good, quick shooter, but he can contribute elsewhere, playing strong defense — as you have seen on Ray Allen — with the capability of creating off the dribble, hitting the post man and getting himself open off screens. Like Ray, he’s also someone you’d feel comfortable with shooting those end-game free throws when teams are intentionally fouling. All that sounds good and makes up for an ideal role player on a team built around a big body, you just want to wind up overpaying.

The second thing to look at is Redick’s standing as a restricted free agent, meaning the Magic have right of first-refusal should Redick sign an offer sheet with another team, as with Portland, Utah and Paul Millsap last summer. By most reports, the Orlando coaching staff loves Redick, and the team is more likely to trade Brandon Bass to dump salary rather than let Redick get away. The best chance at getting him might be to sign him to a similarly front-loaded contract with big signing bonus to what Portland offered Millsap. But even if you do that, your MLE is tied up for the seven days the team has to match the contract, so others options could get whisked away while you’re forced to sit on your hands.

Anthony Morrow, SG, Age 24: In two years, in over 500 attempts, Morrow is shooting better than 46 percent from the three-point line. That’s almost 100 points better than Rudy Fernandez shoots from anywhere. Nice as that sounds, we also have no idea whether or not Morrow can properly play defense or not, as defense isn’t in the Golden State Dictionary, Volume Ever. But with the ownership uncertainty of the Warriors, who will be just at or above the salary cap, Morrow might be easier to pry away than Redick. He’s also not nearly the playmaker that guys like Miller, Redick or Allen are.

Tags: Anthony Morrow J.j. Redick Kyle Korver Louis Amundson Matt Barnes Mike Miller Nba Basketball Nba Free Agency 2010 Portland Trail Blazers Ray Allen Udonis Haslem

  • http://www.couriernewculture.blogspot.com Travis

    You forgot to mention Travis Outlaw.

    Not sarcasm.

    • http://ripcityproject.com Coup

      I didn’t forget. Saving him for another post.

    • tom the duck

      i think it would be a fairly good move to get catfish back. his game isnt all that complete but he can rebound and can shoot the lights out and to boot hes not a bad ball handler. intriguing thats for sure. rudy for travis and steve blake? oh boy… here we go again…lol

  • Lance

    I have been saying Miller for some time now. His ability to handle the ball ala Hedu (remember that guy?) makes him a good fit for Portland especially when (not if) we deal Rudy.

  • tom the duck

    miller would be an excellent fit for this team but i don’t think the blazers will pay him what he thinks he’s worth. on the other hand i would love for the blazers to get their hot little paws on anthony morrow! let me tell you the guy can shoot it from anywhere in the state and has hops too. his d need a little work. needs to play d with his feet and not with his hands, but other than that he has big iq, great court vision, can run the floor or slow it down, and most importantly he is coachable. morrow would be my realistic choice casue i think we could for all intense and pourposes steal him.

  • Randall

    Yeah, Miller would be nice. I’m thinking his drop-off was more a Wiz issue than a Miller issue. He was very professional and “GO WIZ” during the season, but you could see he wanted a real team. I did see he was thinking about a nice sizable contract this time around-I wouldn’t go overboard for him, but if he’s on a contender, money may be less of an issue.

  • http://fanhuddle.com/portlandtrailblazers/ Nick Poust

    I would love to see either Redick or Morrow in a Blazers uniform. I think Morrow would cost less, considering what J.J.’s shown in the playoffs. If Rudy doesn’t in fact return, one of these two guys would be great fits in the backup role. Ray Ray would be fantastic, but he’d want too much of a role. All Portland needs is a versatile scorer to play 20-25 minutes, right?

    • http://ripcityproject.com Coup

      It’s not out of the question that Ray would buy into 20-25 minutes on a winning team, at least once considering that he’s a long shot to come to Portland in the first place. Greatest issue with Ray is that someone will likely give him a longer deal than Portland really should.

      My greatest reservation with Morrow is that we really have no idea how good of a defensive player he could be. He could be good, he could also have some very tough bad habits to shake off from GSW.

      • http://fanhuddle.com/portlandtrailblazers/ Nick Poust

        Yeah, the only way I think he would work if he signed on for one year. But he has a lot more left in the tank from that, so a multi-year deal is more likely to be had from some other team.

        You are right, who knows what a player who played under Don Nelson is capable of outside of Golden State. There were a lot of bad habits to pick up there. But his shooting stroke is what I think Portland needs. Something more dependable than what Rudy has been known to give.

        What do you think? Do the Blazers need another shooter or should they be looking for more size? Personally, I’d go after a shooting guard/forward, whether that be on the market or in the draft.

        • http://ripcityproject.com Coup

          While shooting is a clear target, this year the team’s needs seem to be dependent on the value of what they could get. So while a power forward might not be a massive need, getting Haslem would be great.

          It’s not just shooting they could use off the bench, but someone capable of ballhandling/playmaking for 5-7 possessions a game — that’s assuming Rudy doesn’t recover…something. In some ways that knocks Morrow down, as well, but should they get someone like that in the draft, then Morrow could become the best target of the group, especially if Martell or Rudy was dealt.

  • Lance

    I think we are close and we don’t need a lot of changes. I would take two good changes with them being these;
    1- Sign Miller with our MLE and make him our point forward off the bench. He can stroke it and go to the basket which we need more of.
    2- Trade for Maggette. He has the toughness that is so missing with this soft Blazers team. It would take a deal of Rudy, Webster, and Bayless to get it done (as far as contracts go) but it would be worth it.

    PG- Miller, Miller
    SG- Roy, Maggette, Miller
    SF- Batum, Maggette, Miller
    PF- LA, Camby, Cunningham, JP
    C- Oden, Camby, Pryz, JP

    That is 11 players filling all the roster spots. The good part is that we could actually go to an 8 man rotation for spurts to keep in sync (Cunningham, JP, Pryz could sit and keep fresh). Add a 3rd PG for emergencies and to finish out the roster.

    • http://ripcityproject.com Coup

      Maggette? He’s not good defensively and has a reputation for caring far too much about his numbers — not to mention having an awful contract.

  • Lance

    I always like people who think anyone that come from G.S. is not a good defender. Just because the team doesn’t play good team defense doesn’t mean individuals don’t. Plus, with Camby and Oden in the paint we don’t need the best individual defenders if they can offer us some scoring.

    He is a scorer that we are desperately missing. We couldn’t guard him either at SG or SF. He was way too strong for us. He scored 19.7 ppg versus us at a 53% clip with nearly 8 free throw attempted per game.

    As far as his contract goes, we were nearly $40M under the Lakers this year in payroll. Time to open the purse. Plus, he is nearly a bargain compared to Aldridge’s new deal. We are paying him nearly a max deal for 5 more years for playing the soft-forward position.

    • http://ripcityproject.com Coup

      Was he a good defender with the Clippers? He can flop, sure, but team defense, I’m not so sure.

      He’s just not the type of character guy I would think the team wants.

  • Lance

    Please don’t start with the ‘character guy’ stuff. Sometimes you have to have a bad boy or two to show some toughness that we are missing. He isn’t Arenas or Iverson or any of those thugs. Just because we had the jail Blazers of years past doesn’t mean you look for choir boys the rest of your life. Choir boys are only good if you are starting a choir.

    I haven’t heard any negative reports on him forever. Players do mature. He is the scorer that we need. A bounder in the key and a workhorse. Sorry you don’t fill the same.

    Maybe we can add his teammate Morrow that people seem to like. He would add to our other 3 stand -around-the-perimeter players that can’t hit the side of a barn with a hand in their face. You can never have too many of them I guess.

    • http://ripcityproject.com Coup

      I’m certainly not in position to judge his character. That’s Kevin Pritchard’s word. If he’s matured, that’s great, but I haven’t heard many positive things on him recently either — mostly injuries and anonymity. It doesn’t seem like KP’s type of risk.

      I agree the team needs a “tough” guy, I’m just not convinced Maggette is that guy. Toughness involves defense, and like I said, we don’t know either way if he can play defense in a system that cares about it.

      Beyond this, how do you propose getting Maggette? He’s making about $10 million a year for the next three, which puts the team over the luxury tax. Unless you’re getting something else of value back — like a draft pick — a contract like that probably isn’t worth it.

  • Lance

    Not trying to argue with you, but just trying to have a civil dialogue which has been the case both ways. Thanks for that.

    If we are going to look for players with defense as a priority, then both Roy and Miller will have to go. Neither is a defensive whiz.

    I also don’t agree that a ‘tough guy’ has to be on the defensive side. I would love to have a tough offensive player. A guy that goes strong to the hoop and draws fouls. Roy, when healthy, can do that. Miller can do that to a degree. Oden…it has been to long since I have seen him so I don’t remember what he brings to the table (facetious).

    As far as what it would take to get him, I think I mentioned somewhere on here before that the trade machine works out to being Rudy, Bayless, and Webster. I would trade those 3 in a heartbeat for him and a draft pick. Package that draft pick with with ours and move on up and get best player available. Not sure who that is right now. I know KP wants to move up into the top 5, but I have yet to hear who he is targeting.

    I also like Mike Miller as a replacement for one of the 3 we trade for Maggette. He would be a good use of our MLE. Kind of a point-forward that can still hit the 3′s. Good team player with some size and versatility.

    I mean there are a lot of fantasy deals out there, but I try to be realistic. I read all this Bosh talk, but not going to happen. He wants to come here less than Hedu did. No LeBron. No Wade. No Joe Johnson. Maybe Lee from NY, but that crowds our frontcourt if Pryz is healthy and Oden is healthy and Camby handles another year at 35+.

    I would love to hear any options you have to help this team take a step forward and I hope you aren’t one of these people who say ‘just get healthy’. I think that is a bit of wishful thinking at this point and time. They still need help in my opinion especially off the bench. Our bench as digressed.

    • http://ripcityproject.com Coup

      No problem. I’m enjoying this discussion.

      I would argue that Miller is one of Portland’s, if not best, most important defensive players. I say this primarily because of his ability to avoid switching in the pick-and-roll and good hands on-ball, but that’s another topic altogether.

      I agree about needing players who can get to the rim and the line, which is why I’m so interested in Dominique Jones as a prospect. I’d prefer someone who does a better job at doing that in the flow of the offense, and my impression of Maggette has always been that of a ball stopper. That said, he is remarkably efficient in isolations, with over a point per possession in those situations, but I’d rather introduce a player like that to the Blazers once they’ve established more consistent ball movement and transition — not necessarily fast break — offense. He doesn’t seem like someone who would promote moving away from slower, stagnant isolation offense, would you agree?

      For discussion’s sake, let’s say Maggette is a good fit. Rudy, Bayless and Webster is too much, so yes, the No. 6 pick would have to be included. Even still, gutting the bench like that would be more tolerable if Portland knows it can get from No. 6 to a Top 3 choice afterwards. Problem is, that might not represent the value other teams see in those three players. And the player most worth moving into the Top 8 to get is likely Favors, which, long-term, creates a situation where he or Aldridge is on the trade block. There’s also no telling what kind of contracts a team would want to dump on Portland, in addition to Maggette, to move up into the Top Four, which is a tier in itself.

      All in all, while it might make sense, it does really limit the team’s financial flexibility while shaking up a good portion of the roster. The team is already going to be adjusting to Oden, again, so making this many changes would make for a tough transition. Even if we can plan it out and make it work, value-wise, it doesn’t feel like a move Pritchard would make, taking on that much money, when the team probably is leaning towards seeing everyone healthy.

      While it is selling low, Rudy might be the best chip to use to move up 6-10 spots in the draft to get someone with a good combination of upside and polish (I’m not sold on any perimeter players in that range yet). Of the unrestricted guys listed above, Ray isn’t very likely, so Miller is probably my choice. Really, he provides many things that Turkoglu does, and we know the team values those point-forward skills, so that’s probably the right track.

      Both Redick and Morrow would be good, too, if had for the right price. But the best offseason might be using Rudy to grab the guy KP wants, then just using the MLE to sign one of those guys who can keep the bench offense flowing. Nothing complicated or outlandish, but combine those moves with Oden basically being an addition and that’s probably a success. If a year from now things aren’t working out, the team has good expiring deals to use, from Joel this season to Miller and then Camby. But if the team had Maggette’s contract on board, then extensions, maybe, to Oden and Batum and Bayless coming up (if Bayless wasn’t traded), then it makes it more difficult to bring more money back for those expirings. As you said, if a top draft pick comes back with Corey, that makes the limited finances more tolerable.

      It’s not like Maggette isn’t going to be available a year from now.

  • Lance

    I agree on your points with Miller and his defense. I just don’t think he is quick enough to stop true PG’s from driving which causes the bigs to pick up fouls like Camby & Oden.

    Your points on Maggette being a better Iso player is probably true even though the games I saw him in he did a good job of moving in a offense (if you call G.S. a true offense and not a run-and-gun). As long as Nate is coach, I think we will continue to be just an Iso offense unfortunately.

    I like your thinking on Jones as a late pick, but I worry about him being a combo guard as described. I don’t want another Bayless. You can’t teach PG skills. Those are instincts you are born with and develop. Not sure if Jones has them or not, but I do like his size and wingspan (6’9 wingspan is off the charts for a PG). I could live with him.

    I also understand the salary issues with a Maggette, but at what point are we going to spend? We had a $56M payroll this year versus the Lakers $94M payroll. That has to change and I know salaries will go up with these rookie contracts expiring, but are these guys worth the big contracts? I am not a big Aldridge fan. I like him, but not at his salary numbers. Like I have said before, he plays the soft-forward positions. I would enjoy having a power-forward around at some point or as a backup.

    I don’t think Rudy has much value other than what you suggested. Trading the 3 for Maggette doesn’t bother me because it rids us of Webster’s contract that has 3 years left I believe, rids us of Rudy who doesn’t want to be here, and rids us of a roster spot that Bayless has. Bayless to me is a poor man’s AI and I don’t even want the good AI (old version). He is young, but he scares me if we ever had to count on him. Even w/o the pick, I would make the trade. Sometimes you have to subtract before you can add.

    I am also not a Redick or Morrow fan. JJ isn’t much better than what we currently have and he will want a long term deal. I just don’t see him fitting our style. Morrow to me is a system player and we are about as far away from the Warriors offense than anyone out there. Those types of players tend to seize up when playing in a structured offense. I think Rudy would do well in a Warrior style offense (or NY).

    Good stuff. Counting down the days until the draft. I think IF KP is still around, he will look to make a big splash because he has to feel that his job is on the line. It shouldn’t be, but it is. GM’s usually go for broke when they know they have to win it now or else they are gone.

    I don’t play the ‘If’ game when it comes to staying healthy. Sometimes that is just reality and you have to live with it or move on. Relying on ‘If’ Oden stays healthy is like relying on ‘If’ Miller develops an outside shot. Build despite their weaknesses and embrace if the ‘Ifs’ happen.

  • http://ripcityproject.com Coup

    Yeah, without the pick in a Maggette deal, I’d rather wait to see if Rudy can build value back up and if Bayless can continue improving. Unless Bayless gets dramatically worse, the same deal with GSW will probably be on the table come next February or July. Of course, we’re talking like those three would be the only options, but with the team transitioning ownership, they might be willing to dump salary for much less, as in Joel and Martell or Rudy.

    Just out of curiosity, if they did get the No. 6 pick, who would you want to take there? Or do you see it as a building block to getting higher?

    I like Redick more than Morrow, but he’s also going to be much more expensive, and tougher to pry away from Orlando. He’s not a great playmaker, but he can handle the ball, and I’d feel comfortable having him facilitate a handful of offensive possessions per game, which is all that’s really needed. And defensively, he gets the most out of what he has. Basically he does everything we’d like Rudy to do.

    I’m not sure I understand the spending complaints. I understand if you think Aldridge is overpaid — and really, there aren’t many stretch 4′s that aren’t overpaid, so the Blazers didn’t pay too much more than market value, with a bump for youth and potential — but they paid for Miller, Camby and Roy, and the payroll is going to be $70 million next year, and that’s with Darius Miles coming off the books finally. The Lakers will be at $83 million next year, and they’re paying for a team that’s been to the Finals three years running. If, sadly, Portland pays Oden and Batum, they could be paying a Lakers payroll for a team that hasn’t gotten out of the first round. Hopefully they go further and quell that issue, but it’s a possibility.

    I give KP enough credit that if he does indeed make a big splash, it won’t be to simply validate his worth. And that’s half the reason he’s an above-average GM in the first place. I can’t say it’s impossible he won’t be more aggressive should he feel like he’s on the chopping block, but a GM runs the same risk, in trading his own draft picks (other than Martell) in looking like he’s making up for perceived mistakes, doesn’t he?

    I hate the “if” game, too, but it’s necessary with Oden. It’s so tough to build — and pay people — around not knowing if you’ll have a centerpiece of both your offense and defense or not. It’s no fun and makes a lot of this roster talk difficult, but the best you can do is provide (hopefully) short-term insurance, as they’ve done in Camby, build a balanced, flexible roster — like adding a Mike Miller — around the unknown and then, well, hope.

    Of course, if two years from now Oden cannot play or isn’t on the team, for whatever reason, Maggette will then be an expiring contract, which certainly supports your point.

    It just feel like Maggette is someone you add to a team with more of an identity than the Blazers, with Oden, will have this November. And without Oden, Maggette probably isn’t making the difference between being a contender or not, so you wouldn’t want to be paying his contract if he’s not taking you past the second round.

  • Lance

    I personally believe they are better off w/o Rudy. His has good off-ball instincts, but he is a poor on the ball defender. He isn’t strong enough to play SF and isn’t a good enough ball handler to play SG. He always tries to make the impossible pass at the wrong times. The is the Euro player in him. As far as Bayless goes, I believe he is what he is. He is a combo guard that has no PG instincts and his ball handling is poor for a PG. He can drive, but defenses have figured that out and they just let him get in the air then they put a hand in front of him and he then passes out at the last second. His shot is still too flat. He needs to get height on it.

    #6 Pick- Good question. Not real sure right now. I think the top 3 picks are easy to evaluate, but then it gets tough until the 20′s where there are value picks again. I liked Cousins, but have read way to many bad things about him. One wrote he is like Rasheed on a bad day. No thanks. In the 20′s I like Pondexter because of his length and athleticism. I think he can be one of those guys who becomes a better pro than he showed in college. I also like the Duke center on the second round because he plays his role and doesn’t try to do more. He is big and he bangs. Even if he was only the 15th guy on the roster, I think he would be a great insurance to have.

    Redick- I agree with your evaluation on him, but still not a big fan. I prefer more of a scorer over a shooter and I still see him as a shooter. With Portland’s offense, shooters always have a hand in their faces which really kills their percentages. Not many open looks with the Iso offense on the outside.

    Payroll- I am just basing it in this years of $56M versus $94M. Next years is still unsettled because anything can happen in the offseason (i.e. – Portland could dump salary and LA could increase salary). Aldridge is overpaid for hwta he brings to the table. I understand they are paying for youth, but I truly believe Aldridge is as good as he is going to get and that isn’t worth the large chunk of payroll he will be getting.

    KP- I don’t see him trying to make up for perceived mistakes, but I have read where Allen isn’t happy with him mainly because he hasn’t been able to make the big deal outside of a draft pick trade. Remember that Roy and Aldridge were not big trades, just draft pick trades that worked out…worked out very well. I think the whole Hedu crud put a black eye on KP’s record in Allen’s eyes. KP has yet to be able to sign a legit free agent (Miller wasn’t sought after by anyone so we got him by default). The Blake/Outlaw trade was KP’s first in-season move, but I feel Allen expects more. Think how the Seahawks made a huge splash this offseason and that is what I see he wants for the Blazers. Not saying he is right, just what he is looking for.

    Maggette- Hard to say if he couldn’t take you past the first round. Nobody on the current roster has. I believe the playoffs are about matchups. If you can cause problems with matchups, you can overcome being less talented which we are with all the stars out. Just think of the Suns series. Who on the suns could guard Maggette? Hill? Great because then Miller is freed up. I like Batum, but I could guard him. He wonders out to the 3-pt line and sets up for 24 seconds. They had Nash guarding him after game 1 and he never posted 1 time. That is nuts. That would have been a matchup problem that would have shifted the balance into Portland’s favor. I guarantee Maggette would have lived on the block with Nash on him.

    Oden- Again, build the team w/o him and IF/WHEN he is able to play you have the best free agent pickup around. He is the bonus guy. To rely on him and then him not being there, you are now scrambling for an i.d.

    Good stuff.

  • Barry

    Option 1) Offer Ray Allen the Full MLE for 3 yrs, (3rd is a team option). He has everything we want in a vet.

    Option 2) Offer Reddick whatever we can. He’s Ray Allen w/out the rings and quite a bit younger. Not an ego maniac looking to start and get his numbers, just wants to contribute on a winning team.

    Both these guys are lights-out shooters.

    Next step is to bring someone in to compete with Bayless or take his place. Mike Conley, Darren Collison, Kyle Lowry, etc..

  • Lance

    Barry- I can’t disagree with your of bringing one of those PG’s to replace Bayless. I think that is a good call.

    Not big on Allen. He is good in big games (which might work for us), but he doesn’t have the legs to go the whole season.

    Redick is someone I am still not sold on. He won’t hurt you unless you spend too much on him, but not sure which guy you will be getting. Do you get the guy who broke out the year his contract expires or the guy that did little the couple of years before?

  • natsthecat

    Ray Allen!!!! It would be great to get a guy who knows what it takes to win a championship. Seems like a nice guy as well. He played in Seattle so wonder if there is history with McMillan?

  • Lance

    Coup- You and I had a long conversation on here about Maggatte and I didn’t realize until just now (new follower) that this was your site. Very impressed with your work and knowledge of the Blazers. I have been a fan since ’76 when I was Lucas on the playground courts at recess.

    Thanks for a great place to come to and talk Blazers. Just an FYI, Jason Flemming shot down my Maggette trade idea as well. He said he could see them getting Mike Miller when I posed the question but didn’t think he could play point-forward as I suggested though I think he thought I meant Miller would play that spot in the starting rotation and I was thinking more in the second unit to sub in for Miller and handle the ball and then hand off to Roy like our offense dictates.

  • http://ripcityproject.com Coup

    Thanks for the compliments, and for reading the site, Lance. People like you returning to the site and participating in the discussion are huge assets.

    I’m sure he thought you meant Miller as a starting point forward. Miller is certainly capable of being a part-time ballhandler alongside Bayless with the second unit. We’ll talk more about Miller on the site as free agency gets closer.

  • Lance

    Thanks Coup and keep up the articles. Being a huge Blazers fan and living in the Valley of the Sun makes it hard to get good reports on them. I usually check the CBS messageboard for the Blazers and also OregonLive. Now I have added your site, so I am pretty well informed of all things Blazers.

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