Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Trade of Ruben

As the radio promos say..... "you heard it first on The Fan" and that was the case again today. It is official. Despite what you may have read on the various web sites, as we first told you on Sports Radio 1080 The Fan just after 11:00 AM today, the Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Denver Nuggets and Seattle Sonics have completed a four team trade. The greatest thing about radio is it is immediate. We get something, you hear it right away. That was the case today, that was the case the night Nate was hired, and that is the case anytime something breaks in the world of sports that you want to hear more about or discuss. Also, check out my friend David Locke's blog at www.lockedonsports.blogspot.com. He and I worked hard to get this story first for our listeners, and we did. Now, what really matters.....

Here is the official release from Blazers.com:
Portland Trail Blazers General Manager John Nash announced today that the club has acquired G Voshon Lenard from the Denver Nuggets and C Brian Skinner from the Sacramento Kings.The Nuggets received F Ruben Patterson and G Charles Smith in a four-team deal that includes the Trail Blazers sending G Sergei Monia to the Kings. In addition to Patterson and Smith, the Nuggets obtained F Reggie Evans from Seattle. The Sonics also acquired G Earl Watson, G Bryon Russell and Denver’s second round draft pick in 2008 while sending F/C Vitaly Potapenko to Sacramento.“These moves provide our organization some salary cap flexibility,” said Nash. “While helping balance the roster, today’s trade adds another big man and gives us a player who is a proven shooter in this league.” Lenard, in his 11th NBA season, has played in 12 games this season with six starts for the Nuggets, averaging 8.3 ppg and 2.3 rpg with a season-high 17 points versus the Trail Blazers on November 4. For his career, the 32-year-old Lenard has averaged 12.1 ppg and shot 39% from three-point range. Skinner has played in 38 games this season with the Kings and has averaged 2.3 ppg and 2.7 rpg in 11.3 minutes. During his career the 29-year old Skinner has played in 340 games, averaging 5.7 points and 5.2 rebounds. His best NBA season was 2003-04 with Milwaukee when the 6-9, 265-pounder averaged 10.5 ppg and 7.3 rpg. Patterson played in 44 games this season for Portland, averaging 11.2 ppg and 3.0 rpg. Signed by the Trail Blazers as a free agent on August 2, 2001, Patterson has career averages of 10.2 ppg and 4.0 rpg over eight seasons with the Lakers, Seattle and Portland. Smith was signed by the Trail Blazers on August 5, 2005, his second stint with the club – he was traded to Portland from San Antonio along with Antonio Daniels and Amir McCaskill on August 5, 2002 in exchange for Erick Barkley and Steve Kerr. Smith, a Ft. Worth, Texas, native, played in 22 games this season with four starts, averaging 3.8 ppg.Monia played in 23 games for Portland this season with 15 starts, averaging 3.3 ppg, and 2.2 rpg. Originally drafted by the Trail Blazers with the 23rd pick of the 2004 draft, the 22- year-old Monia is in his first NBA season. Before joining Portland, the Russian native played for CSKA Moscow the past three seasons.

What does it mean? The company line.
This is pretty simple. As the quote from Nash in the release says, it helps balance the roster with another big man who can play the power forward or center position. Skinner gives them depth there with a proven backup which they were desperate for.
Lenard gives them a proven outside threat, a better than average shooter in a half court offense. The concerns are his health and the fact he hasn't played this year. Those should not be concerns here though. The Nuggets have been at or around the league lead throughout the year in fast break points, that isn't his game, he isn't a George Karl kind of guy, and his success came under the previous coaching staff. Those things don't mean he can't play. The concern should come from the fact that he will probably take minutes from Martell Webster, who has been mich improved lately. But Lenard is in the last year of his deal, and probably won't be re-signed, so he is more than likley a guy who will be here for the next two months and that is it anyway. In my opinion, the Blazers are slightly better today than they were yesterday. If nothing else, Lenard shoots 79% in his career from the free throw line, which makes him an instant upgrade for the team in an area they needed it badly. It does balance out though, since Skinner is a horrible free throw shooter, although maybe not any worse than Ruben.

What does it mean-What the Blazers won't say publicly:
Steve Patterson and John Nash have wanted to rid themselves of Ruben since the summer of 2003, when they both first arrived in Portland. The fact he received a 1.3 million dollar raise in his contract if he were to be traded, and he is Ruben, made it difficult. But the new CBA, with more room to work around matching salary dollars, made it easier this year. But they HAD to move him, he was a horrible influence in the locker room on the young guys, an "Eyore" sort for you parents who are familiar with Winnie the Pooh, who was always negative. Those of us in the media loved him because he was a good quote. But he has had multiple clashes with the organization, and moving him was a priority. Addition by subtraction? That is used far too often in sports, but in this case, it probably is true.

The Downside
The end result of Bonzi Wells being traded to Memphis ends up being Brian Skinner. So Bonzi was traded for the pick that ended up being Monia who ended up being your backup power forward. Not good enough for your starting two guard at the time.



20 Comments:

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Chris Snethen said...

You can't bring Bonzi into this equation at all. There was SO much more involved with his departure than just his stats. Was he the starting two-guard? Yeah. I think he was even a team captain at the time (a quarter of the roster were captains that season). But he needed to go. For a box of ketchup packets and a couple of practice balls if necessary. It was that bad. People actively hated the franchise because of him.

Now you're gonna come back with "why didn't fans come back after Sheed and Bonzi left?" Because it's still cool to dislike the Blazers in this town. And that takes time, and a couple of decent citizens, to overcome. Why the Blazers don't put Dixon/Blake/Jack front and center in their marketing efforts is beyond me. Fans like people who are likeable, not necessarily the stars.

See also:
Walker, Wally
Davis, Johnny

 
At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This trade stinks.

Yes, it helps balance the roster (a bit) and gets rid of a malcontent (who teammates and fans liked, if not management). But it doesn't make the team any better, and doesn't provide additional flexibility. In fact, Skinner has one more year on his deal than Ruben.

We're treading water at the bottom of the tank...

 
At 3:52 PM, Blogger Spotchester said...

Haha, this is the trade?? It doesn't even warrant an opinion. Blah. Wake me up sometime in five years when the team can contend please.

 
At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good riddance to Ruben Patterson.

Just one more Blazer who won't be running his mouth constantly.

It is going to take quite a while for a lot of us who followed the Blazers faithfully from their only Championship, through the great Drexler, Porter, Kersey, Duckworth, and Williams years.

We then had to endure the Wells/Pippen/Sheed and Co. experiment. You could have given a volunteer group the money they spent at that time and would likely have come up with a better "team."

These guys lost me when they had that group and it took them far too long to change course.

Frankly, as a nearly life long Portlander, I have only regained interest in this team by watching Jack, Blake and Dixon and other newbies play some team ball. It is not too much to expect these young guys to play hard, each and every night, for tens of thousands of dollars per game.

As for Telfair and the gun. Trade him too. Forget basketball IQ, how bout no IQ.

 
At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Blazers spelled McCaskill's name incorrectly. His first name is Amal. Also, in order to get rid of Ruben Patterson and Bonzi Wells we had to subtract Sergai Monia? Works for me.

 
At 4:10 PM, Anonymous G Off said...

The thing that the average fan doesn't understand about Ruben is that he was a terrible "team defender." People looked at his diving plays into the crowd and thought they saw a top notch defender, but he was constantly out of place in the defensive scheme and he was the reason for so many busted defensive assignments. If nothing else, this trade makes the team better on defense just by getting rid of the guy who was so often the problem.

 
At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaah Ruben. We hardly knew ya. Since you were the original Kobe stopper, we'll just have to find another one. Perhaps Toronto will send us one of theirs? Can't be much worse!

Seriously, it's a good deal for Portland in the present tense. We can't keep looking back. The past (Wells, Shed, Pip, Trader Bob, etc.) is gone, and in the present Rube wasn't helping the kids grow. If anything he was showing them how to be a selfish - me first NBA player. That's the last thing the young fellows need... I did however like the 3 team deal better. I think Vitaly Potapenko (sp) was a better pick up??? But alas, that might not have been an option???

 
At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this sets up a trade this next off season, Nate can use the rest of the year to find out if Zach and Darius can live together, see if TO and Sebastian are either the future or are tradable. (I think that they are on the bubble for what Nate McMillan wants on the team.)
Than before the draft trade one of these guys and possible Skinner and one of the Blazers picks to move up in the draft and maybe get a player or two as well.

 
At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the trade. If Patterson wasn't going to play at least 20 min. per game, he needed to go. As for Sebastion, perhaps he should have wrapped the gun in aluminum foil. This may put him on the list to go. Jack reminds me alot of Terry Porter and I like him as our future point guard.

 
At 5:25 PM, Blogger Lost in North Carolina said...

Whew! Every nanny and babysitter in the Pacific NW can now breathe easier. Rueben "the whiner" will be in the Mile High City long enough to catch a few more snow storms and realize that riding the pine there won't be any easier on his ego.

Good ridance to a cancer with lots of hustle, but little else.

Anything other than another Rider in exchange for this clown was a sweet deal

 
At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Furness, Quick, Canzano you all suck. You and your media buddies harassed Sheed out of town and
have given Portland a bad name among the players. Portland will suffer long miserable seasons for years to come. If you media pukes would just cover the game maybe the blazers would still have one of the best players in the game. Instead he's winning championships for Detroit.

 
At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Chris Snethen said...

Not for Detroit, my friend, in Detroit. The Pistons aren't his team. They're Ben Wallace's team. It's a perfect situation for him. Portland never was.

 
At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Blazers had to rid themselves of Ruben. His positives were that he was an agressive player, who has the physical tools to be successful at this level, if only defensively. If he had half of the offensive tools as Juan Dixon, he would be a player that you might have to consider keeping, despite his gripping. Then again, if Dixon had the physicality of Patterson, he would be star. This move clears out a player that doesn't allow the team to move forward.

At this point, the Blazers are still developing their young players. By no means are Outlaw, Jack, Webster, or Telfair playing like solid NBA players yet. There may be some doubt if some of them even reach that level. I'm hopeful, though I'm not a Telfair believer. Still, it would be ludacrous to bring in more mediocre veterans, which is what appears to be available. This plan to develop the young players has a chance of working, but they are still early in the process. I'd rather stay the course as I have seen improvement, than abandon it half a year into McMillian's tenure. This trade says that the management is sticking to their plan. In two years, we can better evaluate if it was a viable one.

 
At 6:06 PM, Anonymous Chris Snethen said...

If you believe The Associated Press, the plan has gone out the window and the franchise may be for sale. Could Allen be angling to trade his Blazers for the Sonics? Who are potential buyers for the Blazers? Some have suggested the new Winter Hawks owners have some deep pockets. Could they step in and buy the Blazers?

Things that make you go hmmmmmm.....

 
At 8:13 PM, Anonymous Luke said...

Good trade, great trade, actually. John Nash fixed some mistakes he made. The biggest thing about this trade is the intangibles, not the players we got in return.

Gotta say that Ruben was my favorite player, but he had to go. Nobody likes losing, obviously, not everyone complains. Ruben brings too much negativity to the team.

But Ruben had a point, someone had to go. He knew he had no place on a rebuilding team with four other small forwards that were younger than him. With Sergei Monya gone as well, maybe now Travis Outlaw will get more of the minutes that he deserves, this may yet be his breakout year.

The other bonus is that now we have a 14 man roster, and may be able to temporarily get some backup where we need it most.

 
At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

patterson is a head case with more tallent than anyone gives him credit for. does that help the blazers win games? well 18 and 30-whatever say no, but I don't see how skinner and the-player-we-all-hope-webster-doesn't-turn-into help either. hey, at least skinner only has $16.2 over 3 left on his contract. wow.

 
At 10:20 PM, Blogger BuddyJay said...

Well, Chris, I think you might be crazy at times, but your point is the best.

Who cares about this trade? A sheed defender, a g off basketball expert, the regular annonymous media hater, and a couple comedians. Folks, they should have done more, and the best comment was the "treading water at the bottom of the tank."

THE TEAM IS FOR SALE! Tom Potter, "The city has no money." Everybody loves Paul Allen's billions, but the guy has wrecked a city treasure that endured succussfully for years before he came along. Now the Billionaire Big Boy might move the team or sell the team after running it into the ground. I love Vulcan representatives claiming no business man should lose this much money, but it was the same business man who made the deal to begin with.

Bottom line, how much is a toy worth Paul? It is not a business to him, it is a toy. Maybe he is trying to beat the Maloof's to Las Vegas. Maybe he is bored with the broken toy in the closet that used to be his favorite, but a shiny new helmet toy has garnered all his latest attention.

Blazer fan face it, they went from one contract problem to another, and rode that plane into the mountain. This group isn't going to figure out, nor take the time, to solve the latest problem. That shiny Hawk toy is pretty neat right now. That dirty ole black and red racer toy just doesn't satisfy the big boy anymore ... ahhhh.

 
At 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something not mentioned is the mentoring that Skinner and Lenard can bring to the younger players. I liked the tribute that Kiki gave Lenard when he said he was always a complete professional, even when not playing. Skinner is approximately the right leg of Webber in last year's trade but does bring experience. I liked his attitude on Ron Artest as interviewed here: http://www.insidehoops.com/skinner-
interview-012506.shtml

Lee D

 
At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Allen doesn't just unload the team right now. It's only going to lose more and more value as time passes because obviously there's no sensible plan in place. Most people in this city who are paying attention are totally disgusted with the entire franchise, from the players to execs to the owner.

 
At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Chris Snethen said...

Allen, I thought, had a major turning point as an owner when he raised the 12th man flag at the NFC Championship. It was the most excited I'd seen him since the old Clyde/TP/Buck days. And watching him I remember telling my buddy it could only mean good things for the Blazers.

The best thing that could happen right now is for Allen to approach this situation as the new guy coming in to clean up the mess. Like Cuban in Dallas. He's got it in him. I've seen it. This team dpesn't need money from the government. What it needs is an organizational spark.

 

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