We told you last week that the Lakers and Trail Blazers were reportedly having “exploratory talks” involving a trade of the teams’ point guards. The proposed deal would have Raymond Felton heading to L.A., and Steve Blake would return to Portland, where he’s been a Blazer three separate times in the past, most recently in 2010.
Nothing has come of it yet, but with the trade deadline approaching later this week, Portland still has some interest. From Ken Berger at CBSSports.com:
Rival executives believe the Blazers are interested in exploring a swap of Felton to the Lakers for Steve Blake, with L.A. sending another piece to make the salaries match and compensate the Blazers for getting the better player and future cost savings in the deal. The Portland coaching staff and front office are comfortable with Blake, who could provide a calming presence as the team battles through numerous distractions.
Ah, yes. The distractions.
Portland’s season has been nothing short of disastrous. Felton has been portrayed as one of the problems in the locker room, and head coach Nate McMillan may be on his way out, with the perception being that he’s lost his team.
The change of scenery may do Felton some good, and Blake would theoretically be able to navigate the chaos, knowing his way around the franchise from his previous stints there. From the Lakers standpoint, the deal would be all about potential upside; there isn’t a ton of risk here, as long as they believe Felton can (if nothing else) play around 20 minutes per game. That’s what the team is getting from Blake, though they aren’t getting much else — over his last six games, Blake is shooting a dismal .176 from the field, and has only connected on one of his last 12 three-point attempts in that same span.
Blake has been viewed as a serviceable point guard in the past, although that value, as it is with just about everyone who plays for the Blazers, has been greatly exaggerated thanks to the team’s passionate fan base. If Portland is willing to take him back, and if Felton can snap out of his funk in a new situation, it might be a deal that makes sense for both sides to continue to discuss.