ClipperSteve; meet BlazerDave. BlazerDave -- ClipperSteve.
For today's edition of The Questionable Blogger, we're back talking to Dave of the legendary Trail Blazers blog, Blazersedge. What does Dave think about the demolition job the team undertook on trade deadline day? Does he think Nate McMillan might be a good fit for the Clippers? The answers to these and many other (OK, one other) questions are after the jump. Be sure to visit Blazersedge to get the view from the Northwest.
ClipperSteve: Describe your feelings on Trade Deadline day 2012. The Blazers traded Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace for future picks and prospects, fired Coach Nate McMillan, and finally waived the ever-injured Greg Oden. Did you see wisdom in the moves at the time, or was it all just pain that day? Have you ever seen a team do a more thorough one day tear down?
BlazerDave: The closest thing I've seen was Draft Day, 2007 when the Blazers acquired Oden and dumped then-franchise-star Zach Randolph all in the same day. The moves made sense though. At the beginning of the season when the Blazers started 7-2 people were going bonkers. Back then we outlined one of two ways the team had to go this year. If they thought the progress was legit then they needed to break the bank, try to trade for guys like Monta Ellis and Emeka Okafor, and make the run NOW. This team, as constructed, wasn't going to make a dent in the playoffs and that was the only way forward. Failing that, they needed to bail and get whatever they could for any expiring contracts without mortgaging future flexibility. That's what happened on trade deadline day. Marcus Camby for Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet was of little account. But Gerald Wallace for a potential lottery pick this year or next was more than I dreamed the Blazers could get. That was a fine move. Overall I was pleased that the Blazers took one of the two clear options before them instead of just muddling through and settling for "not great".
ClipperSteve: You've still got LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicholas Batum, though Batum will be looking for a big pay day this summer. Are there other definite keepers on the current roster? We know that Crawford and Felton are gone. How do you feel about Matthews? The youngsters?
BlazerDave: Not even Aldridge and Batum are definite keepers on this roster, though no doubt the Blazers themselves would tell you differently right now. Batum is great in spurts but not consistent and may not have the mental/emotional makeup of a star. My theory is that the Blazers should match anything he's offered under $9 million per year. If some team goes ape-crap crazy and tries to throw $11+ million per year at him Portland needs to think long and hard about what they could do with that money. With Aldridge it's a timing issue. If they can rebuild or reload quickly, fine. But he's just entering his prime. You can't spend the next four years trying to get a team around him because he'll be 30 and you'll get stuck paying through the nose for his later years. My preferred plan would be to use the current draft picks, wait a year, then see where the team is. If they need more young talent at that point, Aldridge should fetch plenty. But again, the Blazers will tell you they'd prefer to build around him right now even if it means trading those picks for established talent.
If Aldridge and Batum aren't safe, nobody else is either. But the Blazers don't have to move anybody who's not expiring. Matthews isn't amazing but he's not a drag on the locker room or cap either. Everybody else is cheap.
ClipperSteve: The Clippers need a new coach (I'm not breaking news here, it's just a fact). Nate McMillan needs a coaching job. Is this a good fit? You actually called this a couple months ago as I recall. Would McMillan be the right coach for this Clippers team, or is it just going to happen because it's a high-profile coach and a high-profile job?
BlazerDave: Some of the latter sentiment will be in play, methinks. It's hard to get a read on Nate because he's never had a full roster to work with in Portland. Even the year they won 54 they were only ¾ healthy. Other than that he's been piecing together rags into 50-win seasons. That's a different operation than transforming a full-flowering Clippers team into a contender, though. He never got the chance for that test here.
We know that Nate knows how to feature a guard. Much was made of him not bringing up point guards here but half of his candidates were less than optimal and the other half were playing alongside Brandon Roy. Roy blossomed under McMillan and had the run of the team (and really the league). I assume Chris Paul would get the same treatment. I'd worry more about Blake Griffin just because he lacks fundamentals. Nate transformed LaMarcus Aldridge into an All-Star by making him go lower than he wanted in the offense and making him choose between the same 2.5 effective moves. I don't see Griffin going for that. Also the Blazers have never run for very long, even though Nate has tried to institute an up-tempo offense at varying times. I assume the Clips could run under him, but we've not seen him coach that way much. He'd love Chauncey Billups. I think he'd do fine with most everyone else as long as Nick Young and DeAndre Jordan worked their tails off.
I don't think it's a great fit but it's not a mis-fit either.