Win against the Pacers, tweeting with Roy Hibbert, not getting caught up in the hot start, being “over-emotional” about the end of last season, Terry Stotts being more trusting, putting off any contract talks until after the season and being the last man standing from the short-lived Roy/Oden/Aldridge era,
With Portland’s foray into free agency now complete, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net/TrailBlazers.com, hit the Moda Center studio to record another edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…
In this almost all Twitter-submitted questions edition, we discuss the signings of Evan Turner, Festus Ezeli and Meyers Leonard, the decision to match the offer the Brooklyn Nets extended to Allen Crabbe, how the additions and returns could change lineups going forward and the notion that the Trail Blazers need to make a trade. There’s also some hot Pokemon Go and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” talk to start the show, so you might want prepare yourself to fast-forward through the first few minutes.
Greetings fans of NBA offseason news. With the 2106 Draft now completed and the free agent moratorium less than 48 away, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net/TrailBlazers.com, hit the Moda Center studio to record yet another edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…
This week, Trail Blazers power forward Meyers Leonard joins the show to discuss his travels around Oregon this offseason, rehabbing from the shoulder surgery that prematurely ended his 2015-16 season, “sprint mechanics” and his upcoming restricted free agency. As for the rest of the show, we briefly recap Portland’s draft night, which netted the team Maryland forward Jake Layman, discuss what we know about the negotiations regarding the team’s television rights and discuss the unpredictability that is free agency.
The 2016 NBA Draft is on Thursday, and as you’re probably well aware, the Trail Blazers do not currently own a pick in either round. Their first round pick, which ended up being the 19th selection, was sent to Denver as a part of the trade that brought in Arron Afflalo at the 2014 trade deadline. And their second round pick, which would have been the 48th selection, was sent to Cleveland — which Cleveland later traded to Chicago — as a part of the 2013 draft night trade that netted the Trail Blazers Allen Crabbe (by the way, I was the first person to tell AC he had been traded to Portland). Of course, just because the team doesn’t have a pick doesn’t mean they haven’t been preparing for Thursday’s draft for months, but as of today, the Trail Blazers are on the outside looking in.
Not that the Trail Blazers are alone in that. Portland is one of six teams this year that doesn’t have a first round pick in the 2016 Draft, which means there are numerous teams that have multiple first round picks. And according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Johnathan Givony on today’s The Vertical Podcast, therein lies the opportunity for a team like the Trail Blazers. The combination of teams, some of which that are necessarily looking to add a bunch of young players, owning multiple picks and the vastly different opinions teams have regarding players in this year’s class leads both Wojnarowski and Givony to believe there’s an opportunity for teams to get into the first round…
Adrian Wojnarowski: Every year there are plenty of trades, I think there will be even more this year, for a few reasons. One being, teams that we talked about — Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto has multiple picks, and Phoenix, Denver — they do not want to bring in a training camp full of kids. They can’t come out of this draft with three young players, most of these rosters aren’t built to do that. I think we’re going to see a lot of deals.
And there’s teams outside of the first round — Portland, Brooklyn, Houston — who, if the opportunity strikes, would like to get in. If there’s a player that they want who’s lingering there in the early 20s and they think they can get at him, then they potentially make a deal on draft night.
This is one, I think, especially with the multiple picks, I think you might agree, that we’re going to see a lot of movement. Teams jumping out, teams jumping in. The way the mock draft looks right now, I think it’s going to look very different Thursday night by 10 o’clock.
Jonathan Givony: Definitely. It’s two things we talked about. First of all, every team has this draft rated very, very differently and if there’s a player that a team has rated as a lottery pick and he starts sliding into the late teens, I think you’re going to see a team jump up and try to get him. If DeAnte Davis, if he starts sliding into the later part of the teens — if Henry Ellenson, if Skal (Labissiere), if (Ivica) Zubac. There’s so many big guys, that’s what’s interesting about this draft. There’s so many power forward/centers that think they’re going to go in the lottery and there aren’t enough spots for them because the NBA, their just not that interested in big men anymore…
I think that free agency is going to be in the back of everybody’s head, there’s so much new money coming in, everybody is going to have cap room. Like you said, they’re not looking to get kids. Kids aren’t getting you to the playoffs, kids aren’t winning you playoff games, and so they’re going to want to stay lean. That means not having three or four guys that you draft that you need to bring to training camp. So that’s where I think things are going to get real interesting and teams that are really aggressive are going to jump up and try and get some of these guys that slide down the board.
What it might take to acquire a pick in either round is anybody’s guess, but one thing you can be sure of is that a team owned by Paul Allen is going to be active on draft night — one needs to look back no further than to last year’s draft, where the Trail Blazers flipped their pick, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, to the Nets in exchange for Mason Plumlee and Pat Connaughton for proof of that. And Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey has already vowed the team will be “aggressive” if any of the players they have on their wishlist become available, meaning that just because they enter Thursday’s draft without a pick doesn’t mean they’ll leave empty handed.