Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Twenty Three Years Later...

The last time the Portland Trailblazers passed on a college phenom because the respective position was filled, they missed out on Michael Jordan.

Lets hope it doesn’t happen again.

The Blazers are already stocked with post players and they could use talent at the swingman. But if GM Kevin Pritchard knows what’s good for him, he’ll take the phone off the hook and ignore any trade offers or advice to draft Kevin Durant. No, Durant isn’t Sam Bowie, but Greg Oden is the only answer. Even if the team is swollen at that spot, draft the best player and work it out afterwards. It’s better to have him and be able to make a trade later than to regret not having drafted him at all. Does anyone think that Oden’s value is going anywhere but up? So pick him and experiment.

No matter how much the game may open up in the next decade, Oden has the athleticism and skill set to keep up and is certainly equipped to dominate the half court game. He has the wingspan and mobility of a condor and pairing him with another seven foot wunderkind in LaMarcus Aldridge gives Portland a frontcourt that could feast on the Western Conference well into the future. Zach Randolph has elevated his game to All-Star status, which is why there’s no better time to trade him. No matter how far he’s come, he’s still the expendable player in this situation. Just as Ricky Davis was jettisoned far from an impressionable LeBron James, Z-Bo and Darius Miles should be shopped to officially end the Jailblazers era. Headcases that they are, they’d still fetch some spare parts and a quality point guard to complete the backcourt alongside Brandon R.O.Y. Jason Kidd? Mike Bibby? Jason Terry? Mike Conley? This could be a playoff team next year. Best believe Bill Walton broke out the special stash tonight.

And it was all shitty just a week ago. The Sonics had no GM or a head coach and looked as though their next playoff appearance wasn’t even going to be in Seattle. Owner Clay Bennett wasn’t getting the legislative support he needed for a new stadium and was involved in an increasingly bitter relationship with the media. Assuming that everyone will be more inclined to work things out now, the team should have their pick of coaching and managment talent to steer them deep into the playoffs. If they choose to re-sign Rashard Lewis, with Durant and Ray Allen the Sonics would have the personnel to rip and run with the best of ‘em.

Who didn’t fax their resume into Seattle front offices tonight?

But who knows what will happen in the upcoming weeks? Except that which was already promised to be an eventful offseason just got all the more interesting. We’re heading into a summer with Chauncey Billups, Vince Carter and Jermaine O’Neal on the market and Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Pau Gasol and Kevin Garnett (allegedly) on the trading block.

Specualte to your heart’s content, just know that Durant and Oden will both end up with the swoosh. Some things are just meant to be.