LaMarcus Aldridge is a four. A big four, an All-Star four, but he has been forced to play a lot of five — a lot of center — over the course of his career and that can be hit and miss for him.
So the trail Blazers are targeting a real center this off-season to move Aldridge to his natural spot and give them some depth along the front line.
To do that, they are targeting some restricted free agents (meaning their current teams can match any offer), reports John Canzano at the Oregonian.
A league source said on Monday that the Blazers, who hold the No. 10 pick in the first round, have interest in two restricted free-agent centers: San Antonio’s Tiago Splitter and Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic. This comes after a trade-proposal report that would have the Blazers trading their lottery pick to Phoenix for center Marcin Gortat.
In the long run, Meyers Leonard may be the center the Blazers hope for, but he’s not there yet. He’s a backup right now.
The problem with the two free agents listed is that to get a restricted free agent away from a team — particularly a team that wants to keep him, like the Wolves want Pekovic and the Spurs want Splitter — is you have to make an offer large enough for the other team not to match. You have to overpay. And that doesn’t always help you in the long run.
But you can see what the Blazers are thinking — they want a big man this summer and will spend to get one.