Hey, John Canzano has a new column! About the Blazers! Clear off the mantle, someone is winning some awards for this one. Let's have a look:
NBA season opener. Rose Garden Arena. No better time to get real about the Trail Blazers.
Indeed, let us get real.
I am worried.
Oh crap. Canzano just got real.
The Blazers haven't looked good in the preseason. They're razor thin, and asking too much of Marcus Camby and Brandon Roy. And I'm unconvinced that the front office will make the moves necessary to make Portland a playoff-series winner.
The preseason does not count. At all. For anything. If a tie is akin to kissing your sister, a preseason loss is like kissing your hand. In front of your sister. It means nothing, and it's kind of creepy. Stop that.
The Blazers actually finished with a better preseason record than the Miami Heat. I imagine they are losing quite a bit of sleep down in Miami right about now.
Blazers general manager Rich Cho said when he was hired that the team was "one or two moves" from being a contender. Those moves haven't happened, and if we're reading the Jerryd Bayless trade correctly, it doesn't feel like they're coming anytime soon. The Blazers appear content to move slow, and the top teams in the league feel like they're getting away from Portland.
Those moves didn't happen since the players are not available. The league is on the verge of a lockout, so other than Carmelo Anthony pouting his way out of Denver, there are currently no deals to be had. Not by Rich Cho, not by anyone. You can't trade for Chris Paul if his team doesn't want to deal him. You can't sign LeBron because he doesn't want to play here.
The Bayless trade was about getting equal value—possibly more—for a player with no foreseeable future on this team. Plus they saved some money in the process, since, as you fail to mention here, the Blazers are in the luxury tax. But most importantly, they just took a H-U-G-E step towards making a move. Portland now has two of the most enviable expiring contracts in the league (Andre Miller and Joel Przybilla, respectively), two first rounders from this past draft, a lottery pick forthcoming from the Hornets, and their own first rounder next year that they don't really need and/or want. Name a team with more tradable options. I'll wait.
Okay, I'm bored now. I'll answer for you: there isn't one.
Also, just because you want to make deals, it doesn't mean you can. It does not work that way. If it did, Rich Cho would hire me for this. Oh crap, Kobe and Dwight Howard are now Blazers! Championship rings for everyone!!
Roy is a star. He's going to do his thing. He'll lead. Most of his teammates will follow. But it's the glue players in between that matter most in a season like this. In prior years, there's been a calm in the locker room. But that's been replaced with a peculiar feel that surrounds this team — one that has caused those around the team to observe that "something's not right."
I receive a lot of email from Blazers fans who have suggestions for the organization. This season the advice ranges from remedies to the team's injury problems — including better nutrition and better shoes — to a reader who suggested that Nancy Kerrigan cursed the Blazers. You know, after Tanya's knee-job.
I watched that Tonya (not "Tanya") Harding sextape, and I don't believe what she was doing is commonly referred to called a "knee-job." Regardless, this is just insane. And not the curse part, that was the most logical part of the column. It's the "glue players" line. Canzano's argument is that the Blazers need to make BIG moves, and yet not upset the calm of the locker room. Do everything and nothing—AT THE SAME TIME.
Let's see. The Blazers lost Juwan Howard to free agency. Total glue guy. Bummersville. They gained Wesley Matthews. Everyone likes him, plus he's better at the sport of basketball—which is not mentioned here, but probably should be. Martell Webster and Jeff Pendergraph are gone, but in their place are three rookies, one of which (Armon Johnson) has shown plenty of potential and fits nicely in his role with the team. Seems like a pretty great offseason to me. Not as good as Miami's but better than any team in the West not named the Lakers. Seriously, you try it: name a team in the West with a better offseason.
While I wait, I have theory about the Blazers' shoes to email to Canzano. (Seriously, if you are emailing that man your footwear theories you should have your AOL startup disc taken away. No internet for you.)
So maybe it's worth asking Kerrigan to lift the curse today.
But also, maybe it's worth acknowledging that the Blazers haven't done much in the last few months to indicate they're moving in the right direction.
What could they have done? Please tell me. Maybe the next paragraph will illustrate your point. I'm going to take a big sip of coffee right now, hope I don't spit it out all over my keyboard when you prove me wrong.
Wesley Matthews is a shining bright point. But there's hasn't been enough improvement. And the margin for error with this team isn't as large as it's been in the past.
Nope. Not here. Bringing in Matthews was a step in the right direction, and that coffee was delicious. There was nothing else they could have done. They got a great player—albeit at too high of a price—and stockpiled an arsenal of tradable assets. Sounds pretty good to me.
Okay, I'll stop here. Canzano continues on, talking about how he believes in Roy, switches (don't ask), and Nancy Kerrigan. But the extent of his madness ends here. Finish the rest if you dare.