Tag: Portland Trailblazers

Brandon Roy

Amnesty players may not help high payroll teams much


Here was the scenario: Teams would use the new amnesty clause in the labor deal to wipe out the oversized contracts of guys who could still contribute some (just not at the level they are getting paid). As a hypothetical example, we will make up a player named B. Roy who plays in the Pacific Northwest.

When he was cut free (and still getting paid) this B. Roy would then jump to a loaded team that needs a guard — the Lakers, the Heat — and play on a minimum deal to help them get a title. He would chase a ring.

Except, it’s not going to shake out that way — teams under the salary cap will get a chance to bid on said player first. From Cowbell Kingdom, who seemed to notice this first (via SBN):

A modified waiver process will be utilized for players waived pursuant to the Amnesty rule, under which teams with Room under the Cap can submit competing offers to assume some but not all of the player’s remaining contract. If a player’s contract is claimed in this manner, the remaining portion of the player’s salary will continue to be paid by the team that waived him.

So let’s got back to our hypothetical. When B. Roy is waived as an amnesty player, teams under the salary cap — say, the Pacers — can submit bids to take over part of his salary and whichever team has the highest bid will get his services. (Roy will still get all his money, his former team has to pick up the difference.) Only if a player is not bid by teams under the cap does he become a free agent who can go play somewhere else for the minimum.

What that means is that if a guy really can contribute teams with lower payrolls get the first shot at getting him cheaply. The Heat are going to have to find another way to better role players around their big three than just picking up the amnesty clause scraps.

Memphis to sit Zach Randolph, Tony Allen against Portland

Memphis Grizzlies v Sacramento Kings
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Well, didn’t see this coming.

Memphis is sitting Zach Randolph and Tony Allen in a key seedings game against Portland Tuesday night, according to a tweet from the Commercial Appeal.

Why? Well they will say its to rest guys but if you like conspiracies you might say they are aiming — you could say tanking — for the eighth seed and a first-round date with San Antonio rather than risk getting the seven seed and the Lakers.

Follow the logic here. If Portland beats Memphis (much more likely with Randolph and Allen playing) then the Blazers are locked in to the six seed in the West. Memphis would fall into a tie with New Orleans with the Hornets having the tiebreaker — so Memphis is the seven seed, the Grizzlies the eight seed.

New Orleans faces Dallas on Wednesday, and following the above scenario if the Hornets won they would be the seven seed. If the Hornets were to lose to the Mavericks Wednesday, well, Memphis is playing the late game in Los Angeles against the Clippers and would learn the results of that game at halftime. So who knows who would play for Memphis in the second half against the Clippers.

If Memphis beat Portland but lost to a pretty good and hungry Clippers team, they would be the seventh seed. Meaning likely the Lakers.

Of course, that means all the actors have to play their parts (like the Lakers winning out to get the two seed). But Memphis seems to be going after a first round matchup with the Spurs.

Charlotte sends Gerald Wallace to Portland for picks, savings

Orlando Magic v Charlotte Bobcats, Game 3

Gerald Wallace for Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks, and two future first round picks. If we reduce the trade between the Charlotte Bobcats and Portland Trailblazers to that simple form, both teams did well for themselves. The playoff team acquired a talented piece to complement their already existing core, and the rebuilding club cleared cap space, saved money, and acquired draft picks. Yet if we bring that fuzzy mess into focus, questions of short and long-term strategy seem to loom over any fulfillment of those teams’ general, immediate goals.

Portland needs to restructure their team around LaMarcus Aldridge, and acquiring Wallace isn’t too bad of a start. He’s an incredibly versatile defender who should give the Blazers a lot of lineup flexibility. However, for Portland to field their most effective lineups — say, Andre Miller, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, Wallace, and Aldridge, for example — they necessarily have to play Wallace at a position he’s averse to playing and put Aldridge in a full-time position battling against opposing centers. Such a lineup decision isn’t inherently bad, but it does introduce quite a few questions. The biggest may be what exactly becomes of Marcus Camby upon his return; the positional fluidity of Wallace, Batum, and Aldridge creates a ton of interesting possibilities, but Camby has historically made such a profound defensive impact with the Blazers that it would be difficult to deny him major minutes.

However, assuming that Wallace introduces any kind of minute/positional crunch could be wishful thinking. Wallace’s production has declined rather sharply this season, primarily because of his complacency within Charlotte’s offense. His field goal percentage had fallen to the lowest of his Bobcats career (.433), in part because Wallace is taking (and missing) more jumpers than ever before, and getting to the rim less and less. This season’s Wallace has not been an accurate representation of his Bobcats career; he’s capable of more, but whether he’s willing to provide that dynamic slashing for the Blazers has yet to be determined. In principle, Wallace could be an interesting piece for Portland. But if we take him at face value based on his performance this season, it would be a stretch to see him as anything more than a good defensive addition and boost to the Blazers’ wing depth. Even then, losing Cunningham, Przybilla, and Marks obliterates Portland’s rotation of bigs, and puts Camby and Aldridge on an island.

There’s no reason for Portland not to make this trade, but for the moment it relies on the Blazers playing a lot of small-ball and Wallace reversing course mid-season. It’s palatable as an idea, but could be very different when we see the product on the court.

Charlotte received two “future” first round picks as the meat of their return, with Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, and Sean Marks included as trimmings. Przybilla embodies the savings ($21 million over the next two seasons, compared to the Bobcats’ total had they retained Wallace) the Bobcats always crave, and cutting that kind of salary (combined with possibly moving another player or two in the off-season) puts Charlotte in a more flexible position moving forward. That said, a true rebuild doesn’t begin for the Bobcats until Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson are off the roster.

The timing (and possible protectino) of the two first round picks acquired also greatly affects the outcome of this deal for the Bobcats. Michael Jordan’s club is in need of serious prospects; Tyrus Thomas, D.J. Augustin, and Gerald Henderson are decent pieces, but purely complementary ones. There is no Bobcats core, and teams in such a position should be in constant pursuit of finding even a single piece to begin building around. If it seems like the Bobcats are rudderless, it’s because they are.

The fact that the picks acquired are described as “future” first rounders is slightly troubling, if only because Charlotte could sure use some help this summer. Whether picks or prospects, the Bobcats need some kind of infusion of talent, and this deal may not even begin to pay off for Charlotte (in terms of actual players) for a few seasons. Savings and cap clearing are great, but the end goal is always to make the team better. The Bobcats set themselves up to maybe start improving down the road, but the actual rebuilding process won’t begin immediately.