Priority one this offseason was to re-sign Mark Blount. Nobody – and I mean nobody – thought that it could happen. So when Ainge was able to convince Mark to stay, the free agent period of the offseason was off to a great start. Since then, however, it’s been one miss after another.
Etan Thomas was supposedly the team’s top choice for the mid-level exception, but he’ll sign with the Bucks and will likely see the Wiz match. Ainge has long coveted Brent Barry, but he chose to play with Tim Duncan and company in San Antonio. Can’t say that I blame him. For some unknown reason the Celtics were even interested in Adonal Foyle, but thankfully backed out before the bidding became ridiculous. Stromile Swift was briefly mentioned, but most assume the Griz will match any offer.
The team is still in the McDyess race according to the Herald, but losing ground quickly as they have not been able to get Antoino in for a physical. Ainge is probably offering a creative, incentives-type contract like the one the Pistons offered, only without the aura of being the World Champs. It might take offering the 5th year guaranteed, which is a risky proposition. The words "knee graft" and "long-term, guaranteed contract" should not go together. Those knees will end his career, it’s just a matter of when.
So now what? Apparently the team has called about Eric Dampier, which would probably take a sign-and-trade to make it happen. Thus far they haven’t heard back. Eric Williams and Rodney Rodgers? I would think we would not offer the full MLE to either guy, so they would have to be last resorts. Then again, Danny is running out of options.
I’d still love to see some deal made for Shareef Abdur-Rahim but time is running out on that. The Blazers don’t need him but are looking to get a sweetheart deal for him. They had at one point discussed a deal with the Sonics involving Ray Allen, so clearly they are shooting for the moon. Now it appears they are close to trading Rahim to the Nets for Kerry Kittles and Aaron Williams. Does a package of Jiri Welsch, Raef Lafrentz, and Yogi Stewart trump that? Not likely, but that’s the best we can offer. The Blazers are working on image control and wouldn’t want Davis, but if a third team was to get involved, that might loosen things up. The Nets apparently are resigned to the fact that Martin is going to the Nuggets and will make this move to replace him.
There is one other name out there we could sign any day. He's a former lottery pick, 7 footer who has yet to blossom. In case you haven't guessed yet, his name is Chris Mihm. When all is said and done, he could be back again at reasonable dollars. He's still got a lot of improvement he needs to make, but he's got just as much potential as anyone in the free agent market in our price range.
Something has got to drop sometime in the next few weeks. I can’t imagine going into next season with the roster so stuffed with personnel as it is now. Tony Allen is really impressing a lot of people, which should further complicate the swing positions. The team has two potentially great options at power forward, but has no solid veteran to lead and teach them the ropes. I’m sure Danny is making calls all around the league trying to make some sort of 3-for-1 or at least 2-for-1 deal. The only fear I have with that is trading away some of our young talent for a middle-of-the-road veteran. Some of these kids we have could have Billups or Joe Johnson-like potential. Allen, Jiri, and Marcus come to mind.
I can’t imagine Danny standing pat, but if he can’t get the right return on his investment, I would hope that he’d be willing to sit it out and let it ride till the trading deadline. A lot can change between now and then, and sometimes the best deal is the one you don’t make.
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