Cliff Gardner

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blazer trade rumor

It looks like the Blazers are making a strong push for Amare Stoudemire, offering LaMarcus Aldridge, Jerryd Bayliss and Raef's dead body/expiring contract. Setting aside for the moment the loss of Bayliss (a promising rookie who frankly we won't miss much when Blake comes back), I have so thoughts on the LaMarcus/Amare swap.

Reasons why this is a good move:

1) On paper, we're a better team. LaMarcus' ceiling is Amare's basement, statistically speaking. Stoudemire can defend (a HUGE problem for the Blazers), rebound (one of LaMarcus' big issues), and score almost at will. He's good enough to win multiple titles and MVP awards, and everyone has their own "OMG did you see Amare destroy the Spurs/Mavs/Rockets BY HIMSELF" story?! Portland can win a title if Amare is their 1st or 2nd best guy, and even the Lakers would have to be concerned about a possible post-season matchup with us.

2) He brings experience to a team that desperately needs it. Amare has loads of playoff games (or at least a lot more than anyone on our current roster) under his belt, even making the West Finals once (I'm not counting the season where his biggest contribution to the Suns was being a walking "What Not To Wear" episode on TLC for a team that also made the final four). For a team that apparently wants to win now, this is a good thing.

3) Greg Oden, this is Amare. Have fun. Oden's defense has been great (seriously, 6 freaking blocks against NY?!), but his offense, while improving, is still terrible when he's not dunking. Amare's ability to move around the basket and create his own quality shot 9/10 times down the floor would probably be a good thing for GO to watch every night.

Reasons why this could be a disaster:

1) Amare is an emotional infant and locker room cancer. I just finished reading "7 Seconds or Less" chronicling the Suns' season that Amare' missed after knee surgery (more on that in a second). In it, there were about 75 examples of how Stoudemire's constant need to be the "alpha dog" in the locker room, EVEN WHEN HE WASN'T PLAYING, caused the team headaches. I don't think he'd be willing to defer to Brandon Roy and certainly not to Greg Oden. Our chemistry (which has been one of our strengths) could be seriously messed with if this happens.

2) Seriously, another one of these guys? I feel like we just got clear of the last of these stupid "bad character guys" in Miles. Why is everyone so willing to wade back into the murky waters with this Amare jerk who only cares about himself/his stats? It's like we just got released from prison and we're back home 3 hours later and someone is offering us cocaine. DON'T DO IT! REMEMBER HOW THAT ENDED LAST TIME! I think everyone who is strongly behind this trade should watch game video's of Isaiah Rider going 1 on 4 in front of an empty Rose Garden.

3) Do you really want our top three guys to have histories of serious knee problems? Seriously, HOW DOES THIS SOUND? Do we really want our front court to be dubbed "the micro fracture twins" and to hold our breath every time we hear a balloon pop thinking that it might be Brandon's knee? The upside is tremendous, I get that...but the downside is pretty much the worst thing to happen to the northwest since Damon Stoudamire decided to wrap his weed in aluminum foil and stroll through airport security at PDX.

Bottom line: I think the Blazers have to make this trade for two reasons.

1) We can't let Raef's contract expire and NOT take advantage of it. The Blazers don't sign overrated jerks (no offense, Raef) to big deals anymore. We're not going to get an opportunity like this again. Considering that Bosh and Wade probably aren't leaving their current teams and Lebron is headed to NY (if he's leaving Cleveland at all), the 2010 free agent market is fool's gold, and our best shot at getting another quality player is by trade. That means Amare. I love this Blazer team--LaMarcus especially, who's always been my favorite--but we have to admit that the team we have now isn't going to win a title, even if we wait 4 years for everyone to mature and keep improving. We can win a title if B-Roy is our 2nd best guy, but not if he's expected to do everything like he is now. If we wait, we'll end up sinking max money into LaMarcus, Roy and Oden and be a 6-8 seed in the west for a decade. We need to make a move now if our goal is to win an NBA title, which I assume it is.

2) LaMarcus is gone anyway so we might as well get someone in return. A few weeks ago, ESPN the Magazine has a big article that explained how emotional LA is. In one example, he didn't really talk to Brandon for six months because he thought he has been snubbed for a dinner invitation. My point is, he's not going to take these, "Aldridge at the center of trade talks" stories very well, and come 2010, he's gone. Kevin Pritchard has burned this bridge for us by letting it leak that we're willing to trade him (as opposed to Oden and Roy, who are untouchable), and that slight won't go unnoticed. That, coupled with the fact that we won't offer him as much as, say, Minnesota or Memphis, means that he's gone next Summer whether we like it or not. The only difference is if we replace him with an All-Star. I say we pull the trigger on this one, as much as it kills me.


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