The Portland Trail Blazers have reportedly rejected a trade offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers that would send LaMarcus Aldridge on his way for the 1st and 19th pick in the 2013 NBA draft. This is great news for Blazer fans, as Aldridge (the highest scoring power forward in the league) is worth far more than the #1 pick in this draft class and a pseudo-scrub.
The thought behind this trade would have been getting high-value rookies to build around instead of trying to retain an aging Aldridge in 2015. Some have been proponents of this plan, though LaMarcus has shown no signs of deterioration.
There seems to be a widespread belief that the 27 year old is on his last good legs, but look at some of the leagues other leading power forwards; Zach Randolph (31), David West (32), Dirk Nowitzki (35), and Kevin Garnett (37) are all still top tier competitors. So why should Aldridge be any different?
Besides, despite the buzz, Portland has not indicated any interest in moving Aldridge. The Blazers are just now on the track to success and there is no need to blow it all up and start over (even for that sweet, sweet cap space this deal would provide).
Which brings me to my next point; there is no feasible replacement to sign with the money the Blazers would gain. Portland has never been a major free agent destination, and even though they’re creeping up the ladder, they’re far from wooing a Dwight Howard or a Chris Paul (not that they’d need him). The best they could hope for is Josh Smith, but most would consider that a downgrade.
Let’s say for an instant that this trade went through and the Blazers draft Nerlens Noel out of Kentucky with the #1 pick, crossing their fingers that the currently crippled center does not become the next Greg Oden. They also manage to snag San Diego State shooting guard, Jamaal Franklin, with the 19th. Where do they go from there? Their top prize is sidelined through the holidays and their only player that can draw the double is Damian Lillard. Portland can’t bank on high-level free agents signing over the summer, especially if Aldridge is gone.
My advice to everyone itching for change; be patient and be grateful. The Blazers are in a very flexible position right now. There is no need to kick Aldridge to the curb on a gamble when we hold good cards already. The draft is in just two days. If anything big is going to happen for the Blazers, it will probably happen then.