NBA Analysis: Are Blazers Trying to Get Younger?

| by Dwight Jaynes

Is it time for the Trail Blazers to make a move?

• With the Trail Blazers’ obvious struggles and the health challenges (that’s putting it mildly) of Greg Oden and Brandon Roy, two people with knowledge of the team’s strategy told that Portland management is contemplating trading older players and going young. The obvious targets for such a purge would be Marcus Camby (36), Andre Miller (34), and Joel Przybilla (31). Roy isn’t old, but his knees are — though one of the sources said Portland would find no takers for the five years and $82.3 million remaining on Roy’s contract, given the state of his meniscus-less knees. Przybilla ($7.4 million expiring contract) and Miller (whose $7.8 million salary in 2011-12 is fully non-guaranteed) are eminently moveable. Another candidate to be dealt, though not because of age or health, is Rudy Fernandez, who has wanted out of Portland for some time. Sources caution that the Blazers have engaged in only internal conversations about this strategy, and it is contingent upon the team (10-11) continuing to struggle. But the writing certainly is on the wall for major changes in Portland.

Well, if it’s contingent upon the team continuing to struggle, I think we can expect this scenario to happen. Given what’s going on, I think a struggle is about all you can expect — in fact, a struggle may be the best you could hope for.

I’m just not sure trading all those players will actually end up bringing in much help. With a lockout looming and major changes in the offing for the collective bargaining agreement, I’m not at all sure what value expiring contracts are going to have.

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