Blazers Draft Day Review

AKA “My last writes.” Bad pun. Oh, well.

Anyway, a huge day in Rip City, and I’m just starting to get my head around what all happened. Let’s take it (roughly) chronologically.

1. Blazers select Greg Oden with the first pick of the NBA draft. Not really a surprise to anyone, yet the whole town let out a collective sigh of relief because the management had us just twisted up enough about where they were going to keep us a little off balance. As I said earlier, this was the right pick. Kevin Durant may end up being the best pure scorer the league has seen in years, but unless your initials are MJ, that doesn’t matter in a league where the center is truly the key.

2. Blazers trade Zach Randolph, Freddie Jones and Dan Dickau to the Knicks for Channing Frye and Steve Francis. My feelings are really, really mixed on this one. On the one hand, I’ve been a big advocate of moving Zach for quite a while now. On the other hand, I don’t know that we got anywhere close to even value in this trade. The going theory that I’m seeing around is that Steve Francis will never wear a Blazers uniform. Widely known as a locker-room cancer and far from his exciting and productive past, Francis’ real value is in the opportunity to buy him out and create some cap space. So, this trade ends up being Z-Bo, Fred Jones and Dan Dickau for a back-up C/PF and some cap room. Eeek. The guys on ESPN were saying that Channing is a good character guy and would make a really good back-up, and that in the smaller market of Portland he might actually thrive. Still, I’d say New York walks away with the steal of the day here.

3. Blazers buy Phoenix’s #24 draft pick, Rudy Fernandez, for cash. Fernandez, from what I hear, is a tweener guard who shoots well and will make a capable back-up at both the SG and PG positions. That said, we’ll have to see what other moves the team makes this summer to see if he cracks the roster or gets shipped off to Europe to mature a bit.

4. Blazers trade second round pick (#42) and cash for Philly’s #30 pick, Petteri Koponen from Finland. This guy has some buzz around him and was apparently being scouted by the Spurs and Phoenix. That said, he’ll be in Europe for at least the next season. I figure he’ll serve as a bargaining chip next draft, or in some other trade down the road.

5. Blazers draft Josh McRoberts from Duke with the 37th pick of the draft. Interesting. McRoberts is a 240 lb forward/center. We seem to be getting a lot of these. He and Greg Oden are good friends, so I figure he’s not going anywhere and will be a capable bench player.

6. Blazers select Taurean Green with the 52nd pick of the draft. For those of you who watched Oregon make its deep run in the NCAA tourney, Taurean Green was the bastard who kept on putting 3-point daggers in the hearts of Duck fans everywhere. He’s a great shooter and was the leading scorer for the NCAA champs. A solid pick-up, and he’ll make the roster this year.

7. Blazers select Demetris Nichols with the 53rd pick of the draft. Honestly I know nothing about this guy. ESPN’s Chad Ford calls him one of the best shooters in the draft. He’s a small forward, which we need. So no major complaints, I guess.

Lots of new names on the roster, and a few old ones moved. So, let’s see what our roster looks like now.

Center: Greg Oden / Joel Pryzbilla / Channing Frye / Josh McRoberts
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge / Channing Frye / Josh McRoberts / Travis Outlaw
SF: Travis Outlaw / Demetris Nichols / Martell Webster
SG: Brandon Roy / Martell Webster / Rudy Fernandez / Taurean Green
PG: Jarrett Jack / Sergio Rodriguez / Taurean Green / Rudy Fernandez / Petteri Koponen

This, of course, assumes that Steve Francis and Darius Miles never see any playing time, which given the depth at almost all of our positions seems safe.

I don’t see this as being over, of course. We still need a stud small forward and we have some cap space and some depth to work a trade with. What’s coming?

1. Joel Pryzbilla or Channing Frye will move on.
2. Jarrett Jack is nearly certain to be a goner.
3. Martell Webster is looking more tenuous on this roster every day.

What do I predict the roster to look like when the season begins?

Center: Greg Oden / Channing Frye / Josh McRoberts
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge / Channing Frye / Josh McRoberts
SF: Unknown stud / Travis Outlaw / Demetris Nichols
SG: Brandon Roy / Rudy Fernandez
PG: Sergio Rodriguez / Taurean Green

There’s room in there for a veteran PG to back up Sergio, or to start for us for awhile. Think Steve Blake.

Who will the stud SF be? I don’t know. I have no clue. If we had Z-Bo, we would’ve traded contracts and that’d make it easier for me to figure out. But at this point I’m at a loss. I have to assume that in pulling the trigger on the Knicks deal and not drafting a SF higher up, Kevin Pritchard has a plan. A mad genius plan, hopefully.

So, the NBA draft is over. Portland’s roster gets a major overhaul, there’s a huge buzz in town, and if you don’t get season tickets soon you’ll be screwed. It was a long, fun, night, and I suspect that the shot in the arm to the franchise from this will last for quite awhile.

What do I expect next year? If we get the stud SF, I suspect we make it to the play-offs for sure, and maybe even bust through the first round. I suspect in three years we’ll be competing for the Western Conference title. I suspect in 4-5 we’ll be playing for the league championship.

Blazers fans, our time has come. Rip City has returned. Bingo Bango Bongo and all that stuff.

And I, for one, couldn’t be happier to be back home in the land of Blazermania.

12 Comments so far

  1. Rusty (unregistered) on June 28th, 2007 @ 11:18 pm

    By the way, as this is my last Metblog post, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who stopped by and read my stuff. Special thanks to my favorite foil, TKrueg, who always jousted with me in a good-natured way about Zach Randolph and usually had something funny to throw in. Also, thanks to recent fave Daaaave. You’re a jack-ass but I love you.

    I still have a blog at, so if you’re someone who actually cares what I have to say you can still catch me there from time to time.

    I want to wish the other Metbloggers well. Been a pleasure working with you. I’ll still be around, haunting your comments from time to time.

    ‘Nuff said. I’m off…

  2. Rusty (unregistered) on June 29th, 2007 @ 7:29 am


    I forgot about Ime Udoka. I, like most people, am operating under the assumption that he’ll be re-signed by the Blazers. So was yesterday’s draft and trade also a vote of confidence that Outlaw is going to reach his potential? If not, and I don’t think it was, seems to me Webster is a goner for sure. Which may be best for him, because his growth is getting stunted at the end of our bench.

  3. Rusty (unregistered) on June 29th, 2007 @ 7:53 am

    From Mike Barrett’s Blog:

    “Now, there was one other move you didn’t hear about, and it won’t be made official for about a week. The Blazers, in conjunction with the trade to New York, used a trade exception to purchase the Fernandez pick (which you did hear about) and will also acquire Phoenix’s James Jones. Jones is a good outside shooter and was very solid with the Suns the past couple of seasons.”

    Jones is another small forward. He’s a 6 point, 2 rebound guy. He’s not the stud SF I’m thinking of. He may be trade bait. He may mean we don’t re-sign Ime. I really don’t know what to make of him…

    (source: )

  4. Rusty (unregistered) on June 29th, 2007 @ 8:07 am

    News still coming in.

    Demetris Williams is going to New York as a piece of the Randolph trade. Which eases some of the roster stress surrounding Ime. But also (from the BlazerBlog, citing the Oregonian, which takes so long to load on my computer I generally avoid it) there’s another trade that hasn’t been announced yet, involving a small forward who isn’t Jones. Wondering what’s coming…

    (source: ; )

  5. Justin (unregistered) on June 29th, 2007 @ 8:59 am

    Great night for Portland, and one that’s going to win back all the remaining Blazer fans who jumped off the bus during the team’s experiment with the thug life. And getting the rights to Koponen gives me some leverage with my wife (she was born in Finland)…

    About the missing SF piece… I’d argue that Portland doesn’t need to make that move for a year or two. This team’s going to need one or two more to really hit their groove anyway. Why not wait until it’s really time to make the championship run and bring in a solid, veteran SF then?

  6. TKrueg (unregistered) on June 29th, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

    Thanks Rusty, good luck with juggling your full plate without your Metblog duties… I’m happy to take up as resident Blazer homer.

    Gotta say, I’m really upset we unloaded Zach for so little. If this is addition by subtraction, it’s only because we’re free of his contract and we cleared up roster spots. But Zach was our means to get that ‘stud’ SF you were alluding to. Now what? We just went from being somewhat deep to wondering how the second string will shape up.

    But I am excited to see what all this new talent does together. AND WE GOT TAUREAN GREEN AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT! Buh-bye Jack. But SO much young, talented and inexperienced talent… it’s not going to happen overnight. They wont even start clicking until next spring.

  7. Rusty (unregistered) on June 29th, 2007 @ 2:02 pm

    Check out this analysis over at BlazersEdge:

    “When a team over the cap performs a trade, they must use an exception, even if they reduce payroll. To have the salaries match, Portland receives an exception equal to the difference in salaries. This becomes important later. Why did the deal have to be done draft day? It’s because of the moratorium between July 1 – 11. Since July 1 is Sunday, it was imperative the deal be done to facilitate other trades, as you will see below.

    “New York had agreed to a buyout with Francis. The buyout has Francis giving up his player option and taking about 10-15 million. Francis keeps the money, becomes a free agent, and may sign with another team. The buyout is transferable to Portland, meaning that if Francis signs with another team for the mid-level exception (5 million), the Blazers would only have 7.5 – 12.5 million count against the cap for this year, and nothing for next year. Letting Freddie and Dan expire this year would only have saved us 6.1 million. This way we eat the buyout and dump Zach’s ridiculous contract. Francis will never wear a Blazer uni.

    “There are two schools of thought as to why we must wait until the New York trade is finalized, and both involve Phoenix. The first option concerns the reports that the Blazers are getting James Jones. In this case, the trade exception from the New York deal is used, along with the 3 million in cash, to get Jones and Fernandez. Phoenix gains some small cap relief (Jones), the trade exception (they can use later), and frees a roster spot and a guarenteed contract (the 24th pick).

    “The second is that the Blazers are targeting Shawn Marion. In this case, Francis is traded, with the exception, cash, and probably another cheap piece such as Webster or Jack, for Marion. By gaining the Francis buyout and dumping Marion, the Suns gain a ton of cap space, and Francis is a Blazer for about 10 days.

    “Even after the New York trade is approved, nothing further can happen until after the moratorium, which corresponds to Pritchard’s and Penn’s comments in the news conference.

    “This is all speculation on my part, but it seems to make sense. Would Francis give up that much money? I think he would to get out of New York and STILL would get to collect 2 paychecks. Maybe the buyout figure is a little higher, like his full 20 million this year…we’ll know more later.”


    Shawn Marion? Freakin’ sweet.

    If that ends up being the result of the Z-Bo trade, how would you feel then, TK?

    (source: )

  8. TKrueg (unregistered) on June 29th, 2007 @ 3:03 pm

    I have the utmost confidence in Prichard and I understand they’re not done dealing, so… I was holding out hope it’s part of a bigger move this summer. But on the face of it, it didn’t strike me as a Prichard move. Or a wise one.

    Uh, Shawn Marion? Yeah, I’ll bite. But I’ll do my best to reserve my emotions until I actually see a press conference. Let me salivate for a moment… Oden-Aldridge-Marion-Roy-Sergio. You think Sergio is wetting himself right now? The plate has been set for him… he wanted an opportunity to show his Nash and Kidd skills, well, the boy got em.

  9. Justin (unregistered) on June 29th, 2007 @ 3:58 pm

    Ya know, so many of the articles I’ve read lately have talked about how Portland’s now equipped to hang with San Antonio and Phoenix within a couple of years, but I’m a little disappointed not to hear/read anything about Utah.

    Have people already forgotten how impressive they were in the playoffs (other than the meeting with the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals)? They have some great young talent that now has a ton of post-season experience, then play for one of the best coaches of all time, and they drafted well, filling the two holes they had offensively.

    Considering the ages of Nash and Duncan, I’m thinking the Blazers need to be building to beat down Utah and Seattle/Oklahoma City…

  10. Rusty (unregistered) on June 29th, 2007 @ 5:00 pm

    So I just missed a KP interview on 1080, but apparently he assured them that the unknown back-end of the Z-Bo deal will, in 10 days or so, bring to light just how effing awesome the deal actually was.

    The honks on the radio somehow think KP unloaded Darius somehow. Very, very unlikely. If he did, I may have to question my current religion because Pritchardism will have all sorts of miracles to point to.

    So I think we still see Darius here, but Steve Francis and somebody else moved to bring us a stud SF.

    The guy at the Columbian thinks Rashard Lewis. Not likely, given what I’ve said all along, which is you don’t give a key rival who you play many times during the season a loaded gun to shoot you with, but if Pritchard (as quoted by Ropp and Dawson) is to be believed, something very special is coming.

    Darius, meanwhile, will still be here until he finally sees the wisdom in walking away with his paycheck and no pressure to come back. Or, if he doesn’t understand that his continued presence on the roster (and on the cap-counting payroll) is killing us, hopefully his agent, who needs to continue doing business in this league, will…

  11. Betsy (unregistered) on June 29th, 2007 @ 8:39 pm

    (just wanted to drop into the middle of all the Blazer talk to say THANK YOU To Rusty, who will be missed….!)

    I have to admit that I’ve gotten used to listening to AM radio in my car – first for Blazers games, then for draft coverage last night (flipping back and forth between KXL and The Fan – would *never* have believed that a few months ago…!

  12. Rusty (unregistered) on July 2nd, 2007 @ 8:52 am

    From BlazersBlog ( ):
    A few rumors floating around…

    1. The SF that Portland has acquired in the deal that can’t be announced yet may be Shane Battier. I don’t have a clear picture of what would be going out yet.

    2. Another name I’ve heard for the potential small forward is Boris Diaw.

    3. Kevin Pritchard was on Sports Business Radio over the weekend, and he let it out that the player Portland has agreed to acquire is an “acclaimed” one. Take that for what you will.

    4. I also have it on good authority that Portland contacted Gerald Wallace of the Charlotte Bobcats today to feel him out.

    5. Steve Francis’ agent was in Portland on Saturday to meet with Kevin Pritchard and Tom Penn.

    6. Joel Pryzbilla’s “Base Year Contract” status expired on Sunday, so it’s a very strong possibility that he could/would be a part of any deal, which also may cause some of the delay.

    All quite interesting…

    Over at Blazers Edge there’s someone saying that an LA paper is reporting that Steve Francis’ buy-out’s all but a done deal and the Clippers are in the process of working out a deal with him once he’s been set free.

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