Let me offer right away that I have no inside information whatsoever. What follows is speculation, based on the kinds of moves I’ve seen happen in previous situations in this league. And a creepy feeling that there is some sort of master plan at work here that we don’t know about.
What does it mean that the Trail Blazers are seeking to pay a second-year player they really like, Wesley Matthews, around $9.2 million next season to be a backup off-guard behind Brandon Roy?
Well, my conclusion would be that they’re looking to use the current backups — both of them — in a trade. If either Jerryd Bayless or Rudy Fernandez is still around at training camp and Matthews is here, I’d be shocked. At $9.2 million, Matthews wouldn’t be sharing that backup time with anyone. Bayless, by now, has proved he’s not a point guard. He’d have to be gone along with Fernandez, whose departure at this point is virtually guaranteed.
I believe Portland already has a deal in the works. For a point guard. And thus Andre Miller would also most likely be included in the deal, which would move it up to the status of a major trade. This would be the big move we’ve been waiting for out of the Trail Blazers for the last two seasons. But it would also be a trade they’d likely not feel comfortable with unless they’ve already got a Roy backup in their pockets.
Why a point guard? I’m asked that all the time because people love what Miller did for the team last season. But the fact is, Miller’s too old to be the guy to lead this team through its window of opportunity. And not the right guy to play alongside Roy, either. You need someone who can shoot the ball a lot better than that if you are going to stick with Nate McMillan’s system of no ball movement and little player movement.
Who would come in this direction?
Again, speculation here. I have no idea if this is real. You may have your own guesses. But my guess would be it would come from a group that includes Devin Harris, Chris Paul, Mo Williams or Jason Terry.
Portland’s already made it known it likes Harris and Paul. Williams, there has been speculation for a month now Portland has talked to Cleveland about him — and the Cavs are in a position where they must turn one good player into two or three decent ones. Williams, too, can really shoot it from distance and would be compatible with Roy — and the Blazers seem stuck on the concept of Roy with the ball in his hands and the point guard being a shooter.
And Terry? Well,he’s a little old at 33, but the Blazers sent Martell Webster to Minnesota a few days ago. They’re down one in the “former Seattle-area stars” department, right?
Again, your guess is as good as mine here and I’ve probably missed a name or two. Feel free to offer your own suggestion. And really, at least this concept explains what was, at first glance, a difficult move to understand.