ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the Blazers have signed 35-year-old Argentine power forward/center Fabricio Oberto to a one-year contract. Details of the contract haven’t been disclosed, but it’s pretty safe to assume it will be for the veteran’s minimum. Given the team’s deficiency in the middle, this signing makes perfect sense, as it will give the Blazers a competent backup center to spell Marcus Camby until Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla return, and allow LaMarcus Aldridge to stay at power forward full-time.
Oberto’s numbers are nothing spectacular (3.2 PPG and 3.5 RPG in four seasons with San Antonio and one with Washington), but this deal was clearly made solely to have another warm body in the frontcourt. All implications are that Cleveland wanted more in return for Anderson Varejao than the Blazers were willing to trade, hence the Blazers are turning to the handful of serviceable big men still available in free agency to plug the gap at center.
The remaining question, of course, is who will get cut from the roster to make room for Oberto. Portland already has 15 players under contract for 2010-11, not counting training camp invitees Patty Mills and Raymond Sykes. My educated guess is that the Blazers will probably cut Jeff Pendergraph, who is out for the season with a torn ACL and whose contract isn’t guaranteed for next season. We will keep you updated as more details come out.
UPDATE: Here’s the ESPN.com link to the story. Still no word on who gets cut.