February 12, 2009

How About Some Reasons to Keep LaFrentz's Contract?

Great work on this list by Wendell Maxey over at Hoops World.  He pokes around some reasons for Portland to keep LaFrentz for now rather than deal for locker room killers like Amare Stoudemire.  Here are the two that I was excited to see:
3. No More "Filler" – Raise your hand if you have read this line before in various trade reports centered around Raef: "with Raef Lafrentz included as trade filler…." Since when did an expiring contract worth $12.7 million become labeled as "filler"? It's not as if Pritchard is just going to give away LaFrentz's expiring contract or use it to help balance out another deal. Enough with the "filler" line already.

4. Summer Time - Portland can get far more mileage out of LaFrentz's contract this coming offseason rather than an immediate return as the trade deadline nears.  The writing is on the wall: the Blazers remain in the market for a scrappy defender to realistically back-up LaMarcus Aldridge, as well as an all-in-one point guard. Chances are it will be tough for Portland to acquire both this offseason, but certainly management will look to get the most bang for their buck come this summer.
As much as I'd like to see some major move happen now, rather than later, I'm not keeping my fingers and toes crossed.  There is nothing like blogging about a major play from a contender, but at the same time, do the Blazers really need to?  They are in fact sitting at 4th aren't they?  I'm down for just riding this out.

In fact, I'd rather ride it out through the playoffs to see what pieces are missing to break through to that championship level that we are all waiting for.

Your thoughts?

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Steven 2/12/09, 3:58 PM  

I agree with no trades until the off-season. Let's see what happens in the play-offs and then determine what's missing. AND I don't like the thought of trading away LA. He is solid and will only get better...just like GO, and BRoy, and the rest. We have a new generation Big 3 in the making and we need to stand behind it all the way to title.

Anonymous 2/12/09, 4:17 PM  

It's almost looking like the point guard slot is the big questions. I am by no means an Outlaw fan, but his play has been stellar lately. Is the SF need non-existent now?

MedZag 2/12/09, 7:03 PM  

"In fact, I'd rather ride it out through the playoffs to see what pieces are missing to break through to that championship level that we are all waiting for."

Agreed. The contingent that is expecting to make a championship run this year really irks me. The rose-colored glasses tell me we could see us making the conference finals on a fluke this year but I more expect 1st or 2nd round exit.

People seem split on what is more pressing for us - a solid PF backup for LA or an "upper-tier" PG. Outlaw had built some solid momentum lately. Bayless has shown solid development for a rook PG. I don't know if Outlaw can develop the attributes like rebounding and consistent defense to fill the backup role, or if he'll continue to be content to play second fiddle. I'm pretty sure Blake is a great mentor to Bayless and if he can integrate the things Blake does well into his game he can be that "upper-tier" PG for us, but I have the feeling that the pressure-packed atmosphere for the playoffs will tell us more about whose got and it who doesn't versus any stretch of regular season games.

This is of course ignoring the very real possibility of a young team late-season meltdown that will keep us out of the playoffs entirely.

Anonymous 2/12/09, 10:08 PM  

Well said MedZag. At this point, it's time to see where they stack up at the end of the year. To see if they can make the playoffs and then how they perform once there. It's going to be a wild ride after the All-Star break, that's for sure.

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