Blazers Off Season
Lets start with our free agents:
Eric Maynor - Restricted
Luke Babbitt - Unrestricted
J.J. Hickson - Unrestricted
Nolan Smith - Unrestricted
Also, Sasha & Jefferies have non guaranteed contracts for 2013.
Maynor will most likely return. Shot 38% from beyond the arc but he has always been a bad defender & not very efficient so he should and will be played in limited minutes.
Babbitt will be gone. Hasn't shown any real improvement in his NBA career & there is no reason to bring him back at all.
J.J. Hickson will be commanding 10 million or at least close to that. He had a monster year with his rebound rate & field goal percentage but hes still a sub par defender. Portland needs a solid defensive guy next to Aldridge. Portland will miss Hickson's rebounding but with the right pick up, the Blazers could get better without him.
Nolan Smith is already gone...
Blazers will have $44.506 million in commitments & the cap should be close or around $60 million which is a lot of money for this team to spend when you think about the fact the Blazers had one of the best starting 5 in the NBA and only failed due to it's lack of bench play.
I think this team could be safe with playing Meyers Leonard a lot more off the bench next season. He had a solid rebounding rate for a rookie that should only improve with an offseason working with pro coaches and being in the weight room. He also shot well over 50% from the field. He needs to work on his defense before he should be considered a starter. I'm not sure who is out there that the Blazers should sign to replace Hickson. Chris Kaman would come at a cheap price along with Joel Przybilla. Tiago Splitter will command a lot of money, all the other centers on the market aren't even worth speaking about.
The next thing I'd want the Blazers to pursue is a defensive wing off the bench. I'm looking at Corey Brewer but more likely Sam Young who is a lot cheaper but a better defender. Then you need a scorer or two off the bench which could land in the laps of the Blazers in the draft with Shabazz Muhammed or CJ McCollum, but they could also forget Sam Young, go defense and draft Victor Oladipo then pursue a scorer in free agency which there isn't really any which is why they'll probably draft an offensive wing.
If the Blazers have Leonard at back up center, they're going to need a hybrid PF who can step out. Freeland didn't shoot well last season in his limited minutes but he did a good job of rebounding, with some decent defense. Do you just feed him more minutes this season in a weak FA market, draft a possible replacement in the 2nd round of the playoffs? I'd say give him more minutes this year and see what he can do. This team is very young still so experimenting should be fine & there will always be veteran bigs on the market during the season incase it doesn't work out.
So now you have
Kaman or Pryzbilla/Leonard
I do realize that neither Kaman or Pryzbilla can play more than 20-25 minutes per game anymore which is perfect for Leonard as you're slowly working him into a starter.
Thoughts? What do you want the Blazers to do? Do you risk it all this ****ery and just throw most our available cap at Hickson and fill the bench with more minimum paid players?
Re: Blazers Off Season
There just simply isn't a good option at center out there, so it may be worth overpaying for Splitter. We need a center and there is just no great option this year or next, so even a stop-gap center wouldn't really do. If we are serious about a center, he would need to be acquired by trade. The other option is to draft another center. It is supposed to be a strong draft for centers, so we could hope to have a Leonard + new rookie rotating while having an ultra cheap veteran center in case the rookie is a bust, plus they would need a mentor. That is the only reason I could see us go for Przybilla. As much as I love Joel, he is done. I'd only want him on the team to coach the bigs, and play in the biggest pinches. Either way, I think better options than Joel for a cheap veteran center would be Dalembert or Jermaine O'Neal (as much as I hate him). If we are looking for a young center, we could go for Cole Aldrich, but I'm not really a big fan.
I agree with what you said about defensive wings and keeping Maynor. I had heard the rumor of Tony Allen to the Blazers, but I'm afraid he would command too much money to have him on a non-competitor considering he is a similar style player to Matthews.
Edit: If we want to go for a big splash, we could try to take Milsap or Al Jefferson. Neither are going to be major rim protectors, but both are good players that are better than JJ Hickson.
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