Thursday, February 16, 2006

Trade Theo??? WHY??

There are more reports out of New York that the Blazers want to move Theo, and the NBA people I have spoken to around the league say whether it is New York or somewhere else, the Blazers are actively shopping the backup center. But the question is, WHY? You have to ask, what good will it do? I'll explain:

*If they move just Theo and another "minor" contract (read 1-2 million per year) they do nothing in terms of cap room. The Blazers would be around 3 million below the 2006-07 cap. By doing this, they could actually hurt their position for the 2006 offseason. How? Simply put, to have a full mid-level exception available, which you would think the Blazers would use on Joel P., they need to either be over the salary cap, or under by around 5-6 six million. So you are better off being OVER instead of 3-4 million under.

*So to improve upon this financial situation, the Blazers would then need to move another substantial contract such as Ruben Patterson or Darius Miles. Then you put yourself around 6-7 million under the cap for 06-07. But by doing so, assuming all the while you are getting an expiring contract in return (Penny Hardaway), you have made the worst team in the Western Conference even worse, and probably only given yourself a better chance to sign one player, in this case Przybilla. While he would probably be happy to sign for slightly more than the mid-level (and no, the Blazers would not have the mid-level AND the 6-7 million under the cap to sign another player) which would effectively give you this current team, minus a legitimate, yet overpaid backup center, and either Darius-your leading scorer, or Patterson-your most versatile option off the bench, would be gone. Part of that cap space would also have to be used up to sign the first round pick, and assuming it is a high slot, that would take another 2-3 million off of your cap space.

*So.... why do it?

*Or.... another option to save more cap room for next year, assuming the Blazers trade Theo and another contract. They could trade their upcoming first round pick, which will be high, and get one back for the 2007 Draft. While that means you would be without a first round pick for this year, and the remainder of this season, and next, would also be lame-duck seasons, they could stockpile draft picks for the 2007 Draft, which one NBA Scout told me today will be "outstanding." That is compared to the 2006 Draft, which is said to be below average, and heavy on perimeter players. Why is that significant? Because the team has drafted five (Outlaw, Monia, Telfair, Webster, Jack) true perimeter players in the last three first rounds. Do they need more?

*Going back to the Draft, which we all get excited about when a team has a lottery pick, how about the fact that the Blazers have had five first round picks in the last two drafts, yet not one of those players has been selected to play in the All-Star Weekend Rookie Challenge? Are you still excited about the Draft?

Finally, keep in mind that both John Nash and Steve Patterson told about 10 media members, including me, before the start of the season that in the next few years "they will never have true cap room to work with." So why make the trade?

06-07 Cap: so to recap....If the Blazers trade Theo and Darius for an expiring contract, they will have approximately 41.9 million on the cap for next year (it is my understanding from people who know about the CBA that DA's contract counts against the cap, but not for luxury tax purposes). But.... if you have to add in a high first round pick (approximately 2 million) that brings you close to 44 million, and then if you also take back David Lee from the Knicks, there is almost one million more. So you are left, best case, with about 5-7 million, much of which would be spent on Joel P. And you lose your depth at center, your leading scorer, and you take the worst team in the Western Conference and suddenly it may not be able to even compete night in and night out.