Portland Trail Blazers Rumors

Trade Retrospective: Aldridge To Blazers

September 7 at 8:54am CDT By Eddie Scarito

In professional sports, one of the most exciting things that can happen from a fan’s perspective is a blockbuster trade. These deals can alter not just the fates of the franchises involved, but can shape the direction of the entire league. The biggest deal of this offseason so far was the trade that sent Kevin Love to the Cavaliers for the last two No. 1 overall picks, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins, plus the Wolves also landed Thaddeus Young from the Sixers as part of the transaction.

It will be years before we can accurately judge who won the trade, but if the Cavs hoist the NBA Championship trophy next Spring they will certainly be thrilled with the results. The Wolves haven’t been to the playoffs the last 10 seasons, so for them the deal was about building for the future and trying to change the losing culture in Minnesota.

I’ve been taking a look back at some of the bigger deals that have transpired in recent NBA history. So far I’ve examined the trades that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers; Deron Williams to the Nets; Kevin Garnett to the Celtics; Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks; Chris Paul to the Clippers; Stephon Marbury to the Knicks; and the trade that sent Shaquille O’Neal from the Lakers to the Heat.

Not all big trades involve established players and stars, but they still carry a high risk. Trading away prospects and draft picks ramp that risk up even higher than when dealing away established NBA talent, since it is so difficult to accurately predict how a player’s production will transition from college to the pros. It’s with this in mind that I look back at the June 2006 Draft night trade between the Bulls and the Blazers that landed LaMarcus Aldridge in Portland.

I’ll begin by running down the players involved:

The Bulls were infatuated at the time with Thomas’ athleticism and defensive potential, which led then-GM John Paxson to take a chance and deal Aldridge, whom the Bulls selected with the No. 2 overall pick, for Thomas, who was selected No. 4 overall. The Bulls were more enamored with Thomas’ physical tools and potential, but this trade shows the risks involved when dealing away draft picks prior to seeing them perform at the next level.

The Bulls were just beginning to climb out of the post-Michael Jordan era blues at the time of the trade. Here’s a look at their records in the seasons leading up to this deal:

  1. 2001/02: 21-61
  2. 2002/03: 30-52
  3. 2003/04: 23-59
  4. 2004/05: 47-35 (Lost in first round to the Wizards)
  5. 2005/06: 41-41 (Lost in first round to the Heat)

The acquisition of Thomas was supposed to strengthen the Bulls’ frontcourt and help the franchise take the next step back toward contention, but Thomas never lived up to his potential and has been outperformed by Aldridge every season of their careers.

Here are Thomas’ career stats:

  1. 2006/07: 5.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.6 APG, and 1.1 BPG. His slash line was .474/.000/.606.
  2. 2007/08: 6.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.2 APG, and 1.0 BPG. His slash line was .423/.167/.741.
  3. 2008/09: 10.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.0 APG, and 1.9 BPG. His slash line was .451/.333/.783.
  4. 2009/10: 9.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, and 1.6 BPG. His slash line was .462/.000/.687.
  5. 2010/11: 10.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 0.7 APG, and 1.6 BPG. His slash line was .471/.000/.787.
  6. 2011/12: 5.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.6 APG, and 1.1 BPG. His slash line was .367/.333/.759.
  7. 2012/13: 4.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.7 APG, and 0.6 BPG. His slash line was .353/.375/.839.

The Bulls’ records for the seasons that Thomas was on the roster were:

  1. 2006/07: 49-33 (Lost in second round to the Pistons)
  2. 2007/08: 33-49
  3. 2008/09: 41-41 (Lost in first round to the Celtics)
  4. 2009/10: 41-41 (Lost in first round to the Cavs)

Thomas was injured four games into the 2009/10 season, and he missed nearly six weeks with a fractured forearm. During this stretch he was replaced in the starting lineup by Taj Gibson, who performed well enough to make Thomas expendable. On February 18, 2010, Thomas was traded to the Hornets for Flip Murray; Acie Law; and a 2014 first-rounder (Jusuf Nurkic).

That offseason the Hornets signed Thomas to a five-year, $40MM deal. Thomas would spend another three seasons with Charlotte, averaging double-figures in points only once. His time in Charlotte and his NBA career would come to an end on July 10, 2013 when the Hornets waived Thomas using the amnesty provision to make room for the franchise to sign Al Jefferson.

Murray only appeared in 29 games for the Bulls, and averaged 10.1 PPG and 2.9 RPG. This was his last season in the league and he’s since split time between the NBA D-League and playing overseas.

Law appeared in just 12 games for the Bulls, averaging 5.5 PPG and 1.3 APG. After the 2009/10 season he became a free agent, signing a one-year deal with the Grizzlies, who would release him after 11 games.

The first-rounder that Chicago had acquired from Charlotte was part of the 2014 NBA Draft night trade with the Nuggets that sent the rights to Doug McDermott and Anthony Randolph to the Bulls for Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Harris, and the least favorable of the Bulls’ pair of second rounders in 2015 (Chicago has both its own second-round pick and Portland’s second-rounder that year).

Viktor Khryapa didn’t provide much of a return for the Bulls. In parts of two seasons with the franchise, he appeared in a total of 42 games, averaging 2.9 PPG and 1.9 RPG. Khryapa only played an average of 9.3 minutes per contest while in Chicago.  He expressed to management his frustrations about his lack of playing time, and in February of 2008 he and the team reached a buyout agreement. Khryapa has been out of the NBA ever since.

From the Bulls’ side of things, this is a deal that I’m sure they would like to change if they could. It’s hard to predict what the team’s won-loss records would have been the first two seasons after the trade was made, and if Chicago would have still been in line to draft Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose in 2007 and 2008, respectively, if it was Aldridge and not Thomas manning the power forward position. But when simply comparing the assets that changed hands, the Bulls have to regret this deal when looking back.

The Blazers were floundering as a franchise in the seasons prior to this trade. Here’s a look at their records prior to acquiring Aldridge:

  1. 2001/02: 49-33 (Lost to the Lakers in the first round)
  2. 2002/03: 50-32 (Lost to the Mavs in the first round)
  3. 2003/04: 41-41
  4. 2004/05: 27-55
  5. 2005/06: 21-61

Portland had quite a busy draft night back in 2006, acquiring Aldridge as well as Brandon Roy in a separate deal with the Wolves. Roy would go on to win Rookie of the Year honors for the 2006/07 season, when he averaged 16.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 4.0 APG. Aldridge didn’t begin his career quite as successfully, but by his second season he already began to show flashes of being the star player that he has evolved into.

Here are Aldridge’s career numbers:

  1. 2006/07: 9.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 0.4 APG, and 1.2 BPG. His slash line was .503/.000/.722.
  2. 2007/08: 17.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.6 APG, and 1.2 BPG. His slash line was .484/.143/.762.
  3. 2008/09: 18.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.9 APG, and 1.0 BPG. His slash line was .484/.250/.781.
  4. 2009/10: 17.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 0.6 BPG. His slash line was .495/.313/.757.
  5. 2010/11: 21.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 1.2 BPG. His slash line was .500/.174/.791.
  6. 2011/12: 21.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.4 APG, and 0.8 BPG. His slash line was .512/.182/.814.
  7. 2012/13: 21.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, and 1.2 BPG. His slash line was .484/.143/.810.
  8. 2013/14: 23.2 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, and 1.0 BPG. His slash line was .458/.200/.822.

Here’s how the Blazers have fared since acquiring Aldridge:

  1. 2006/07: 32-50
  2. 2007/08: 41-41
  3. 2008/09: 54-28 (Lost in first round to the Rockets)
  4. 2009/10: 50-32 (Lost in first round to the Suns)
  5. 2010/11: 48-34 (Lost in first round to Mavs)
  6. 2011/12: 28-38
  7. 2012/13: 33-49
  8. 2013/14: 54-28 (Lost in the second round to the Spurs)

Aldridge has been a big part of the turnaround in Portland, which has had a few setbacks, most notably the selection of Greg Oden instead of Kevin Durant back in 2007, and Roy’s retirement due to injuries back in 2011. Aldridge is on track to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season, and even if the Blazers don’t re-sign him, they still win this deal.

The second-rounder that Portland acquired from Chicago was used in a trade with the Knicks, which saw New York receive Zach Randolph; Dan Dickau; Fred Jones; and the pick that was used to select Demetris Nichols. In return, the Blazers received Steve Francis; Channing Frye; and a 2008 second-rounder that was used to select Omer Asik.

As far as trades go, the Aldridge one wasn’t a multi-player deal involving numerous teams, but it was still a rather important one–especially for Portland. The Blazers haven’t advanced past the second round during Aldridge’s tenure in Portland, but it’s difficult to argue that he is the cause. The Bulls most likely lament this deal, especially since Thomas is out of the league altogether, while Aldridge is entering his prime and has made three consecutive All-Star games. But in all fairness, had Derrick Rose not fallen under the injury bug, Chicago may well have won an NBA title in the last few years.

It’s interesting to see the difference in production each franchise received from players taken a mere two selections apart. It also makes one wonder which of this year’s draft night trades will be looked back at as being steals or huge misfires. Will the Cavs regret dealing away Wiggins? If Cleveland fails to win the title, Love doesn’t perform up to his previous levels, or if he leaves as a free agent after the season, then they absolutely will. But if they finally hang a championship banner from their rafters, then they will consider it absolutely worth doing.

As for some of the other teams that took a gamble this year, time will tell if the Nuggets will regret trading McDermott to the Bulls, or if the Magic will rue dealing Dario Saric to the Sixers for Elfrid Payton. As the Aldridge-Thomas trade has demonstrated, a few spots in the draft order can yield remarkably different results down the line. It’s a risk anytime a deal is made, and sometimes it’s even more so when gambling with draft selections. Cleveland certainly better hope that Wiggins doesn’t become a superstar, or they need to win at least a couple of titles if he does. Otherwise, there will be some angry Cavs fans in a few years.

Note: If there’s a particular trade that you would like to see me take a look back at, please feel free to sound off in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter at @EddieScarito.

And-Ones: Flynn, Pistons, Love

August 30 at 10:55am CDT By Eddie Scarito

Former NBA lottery pick Jonny Flynn has signed a contract  with Capo d’Orlando of the Italian League, the team announced (translation by Sportando). Flynn last saw action in the NBA with the Blazers during the 2011/12 season. His career numbers are 9.2 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 3.9 APG. His career slash line is .400/.338/.809.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • With Greg Monroe likely to sign his qualifying offer, the Pistons‘ frontcourt trio of Monroe, Josh Smith, and Andre Drummond will be together for another season. Coach Stan Van Gundy‘s challenge will be to figure out how to use them more effectively than they were last season, writes Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Kevin Love has essentially traded places with Chris Bosh, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Love is now the third option on the Cavs, much like Bosh was alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade with the Heat, Winderman notes, and it’s the statistical sacrifices of the third player that determines if these star trios are successful.
  • With the news that the Spurs are interested in Ray Allen, Nick Borges of ESPN.com runs down the free agent market for the future Hall-of-Famer. Borges notes that if Allen is seeking a title contender and the highest salary, then San Antonio is the best option. The Spurs can offer Allen the $5.3MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception. The Clippers, Mavs, Heat, and Cavaliers can only give Allen a veteran’s minimum contract.

Contract Details: Clarkson, Young, Powell

August 26 at 9:32pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Eric Pincus has once more updated his Basketball Insiders salary pages, and included in his changes are a few tidbits of previously unreported news on players who’ve signed this summer. We’ll pass along those items here:

  • The two-year deal that Jerrelle Benimon signed with the Nuggets is for the minimum salary and is partially guaranteed for $35K this season, while his 2015/16 salary is non-guaranteed, Pincus reports (Twitter link).
  • The Blazers gave Diante Garrett a $30K guarantee in the first year of his two-year minimum salary deal, but the second year is non-guaranteed, Pincus notes on Twitter.
  • Patric Young‘s two-year deal with the Pelicans is a minimum-salary arrangement that’s partially guaranteed for $55K this season, but it’s otherwise non-guaranteed, Pincus notes (Twitter link). Darius Miller‘s deal with the team is partially guaranteed for $400K this year but otherwise non-guaranteed, Pincus adds.
  • Both Will Cherry‘s and Jordan Hamilton‘s salaries are guaranteed for $25K for the 2014/15 season, Pincus tweets, adding that Hamilton’s pact is for the minimum. The Raptors signed Cherry to a two-year minimum salary deal, and Hamilton to a one-year arrangement. Cherry’s salary for 2015/16 is non-guaranteed, Pincus adds.
  • Dwight Powell‘s deal with the Cavaliers is fully guaranteed for the first season, with the second year non-guaranteed, Pincus reports (Twitter link). The contract covers just those two seasons, as Pincus notes.
  • The Spurs‘ two-year deal with JaMychal Green is for the minimum salary and has a $60K guarantee for this coming season, Pincus reports (Twitter link). It’s non-guaranteed for 2015/16, according to Pincus.
  • Sim Bhullar‘s deal is for one year and comes with a guarantee of $35K, while Eric Moreland‘s three-year contract is guaranteed for $200K this coming season and is otherwise non-guaranteed, Pincus notes (Twitter link). Both players are with the Kings, and, according to Pincus, make the minimum.
  • The two-year, minimum-salary deal that Jordan Clarkson signed with the Lakers is fully guaranteed for this coming season, but the 2015/16 season is non-guaranteed, Pincus reports (Twitter link).

Western Rumors: Cooley, Anderson, Wolves

August 25 at 8:00pm CDT By Cray Allred

John Canzano of The Oregonian thinks that Team USA’s decision to cut Damian Lillard from its final roster will fuel the Blazers point guard in reaching another level on the court. Here’s more from around the West:

  • Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets that Jack Cooley‘s contract with the Jazz is partially guaranteed at $65K, the same amount that fellow training camp invites Kevin Murphy and Dee Bost received in guaranteed salary.
  • Ryan Anderson expects to begin playing again at the open of Pelicans training camp, he tells Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com. “I have a few more weeks, so training camp I’ll be ready to go all out,” said Anderson. “I just can’t wait to play contact basketball again. I can’t wait for that day. Until then I want to build up strength, get stronger and really work on my conditioning, and get back to normal.” Anderson missed most of last year after suffering a serious neck injury.
  • Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post compares the Kevin Love trade to the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster between the Nuggets and Knicks. While the Wolves likely received better talent from the Cavs than Denver did from New York in 2011, Dempsey thinks Minnesota will face a tougher road to becoming competitive in the next few years.

Contract Details: Inglis, Heat, Jazz, Hamilton

August 24 at 10:54am CDT By Chuck Myron

The pace of signings is slow this time of year, but teams continue to add to their rosters. Eric Pincus reveals some previously unreported details about a handful of these signings within his latest updates to the salary pages at Basketball Insiders, so we’ll pass along the news here:

  • The Bucks are giving 31st overall pick Damien Inglis guaranteed salaries of $820K this season and $855K for 2015/16, both amounts that are more than the minimum, as Pincus notes (Twitter link). It’s a three-year deal in all that features a non-guaranteed season at the minimum salary in the contract’s final year. Milwaukee used part of its cap space to accommodate the signing.
  • Tyler Johnson‘s minimum salary with the Heat this season is guaranteed for $75K, while his minimum salary for next season is without a guarantee, according to Pincus. Reggie Williams is receiving a non-guaranteed minimum salary in his pact with the Heat this year, as Pincus also reveals.
  • The Jazz gave Dee Bost a $65K guarantee this season, while the other two years of his three-year contract for the minimum salary are non-guaranteed, Pincus reports. Pincus also notes that the team gave Jack Cooley a three-year deal for the minimum, though it remains unclear whether any of Cooley’s pay is guaranteed. Utah used cap space rather than the minimum-salary exception on Bost and Cooley, since the minimum-salary exception only allows for two-year deals.
  • The Raptors have the means to shell out more than the minimum salary, but they didn’t give Jordan Hamilton any more than that, as Pincus documents. Hamilton’s deal is reportedly partially guaranteed, but just how much he’s guaranteed remains unknown.
  • Darius Morris is on a one-year deal with the Blazers, Pincus shows.

Darius Morris To Join Blazers For Camp

August 22 at 1:13pm CDT By Chuck Myron

FRIDAY, 1:13pm: The team has yet to make an official announcement, but Morris has signed his contract, according to the RealGM transactions log.

THURSDAY, 2:29pm: The Blazers and point guard Darius Morris have reached agreement on a non-guaranteed deal that will bring the three-year veteran to training camp, reports Joe Freeman of The Oregonian (Twitter link). He’ll join Diante Garrett and James Southerland, who inked non-guaranteed contracts with Portland earlier this month. Morris is surely receiving a deal for the minimum salary, since the Blazers are limited to paying no more than that.

Morris reportedly turned down an offer from a Serbian team earlier this summer, and that seemed to suggest that NBA teams were interested. Still, there hasn’t been much chatter surrounding the 23-year-old, who had stints with the Sixers, Clippers and Grizzlies last season but didn’t sign another NBA contract after his 10-day deal with Memphis expired in February. He’s nonetheless been one of the top ball distributors remaining on the market, as I noted earlier today, and he also made his way onto our list of the top available free agent scorers.

Morris, like Garrett and Southerland, faces long odds of making the opening-night roster in Portland, since the Blazers have 15 players with guaranteed deals. The Blazers dropped their one-to-one D-League affiliation with the Idaho Stampede this offseason, so even if Portland cuts Morris after camp but elects to retain his D-League rights, the Blazers wouldn’t be able to exert much influence over his continued development.

Western Notes: Aldridge, Asik, Lakers

August 14 at 2:10pm CDT By Zach Links

Earlier today, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders looked at the best free agents in the 2015 class.  Among the top names potentially in the group is Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge.  Two seasons ago it seemed like a foregone conclusion that LaMarcus would be leaving Portland. Today it seems unlikely that he won’t be back on a new long term deal in July.  Here’s more out of the West…

  • One might think that Omer Asik has some hard feelings towards the Rockets, but he says that’s not the case at all, writes Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle.  Asik, now with the Pelicans, was quite vocal about wanting a trade when Houston acquired big man Dwight Howard, relegating him to the bench.  “I just really want to thank all the fans and all the support I had in Houston,” he said. “I want to thank everyone in the organization and especially my teammates. I really enjoyed my time in Houston.
  • Eddie Johnson of USA Today Sports (video link) says the Lakers need to stop trying to cover up their holes with band-aids and instead make substantive changes.
  • Lakers coach Byron Scott told Mike Trudell of Lakers.com (on Twitter) that he expects to have his coaching staff filled out by the end of the week.

Diante Garrett To Join Blazers For Camp

August 12 at 8:12am CDT By Chuck Myron

TUESDAY, 8:12am: The RealGM transactions log indicates the signing is official, although the team has yet to make an official announcement.

MONDAY, 1:30pm: It’ll be a two-year contract, Freeman writes. That means it won’t be an Exhibit 9, and Portland would be on the hook for his salary should he be injured while performing for the team.

1:06pm: The Blazers have reached agreement on a deal that will bring free agent guard Diante Garrett to camp, a source tells Joe Freeman of The Oregonian (Twitter link). It’s a non-guaranteed pact, Freeman hears, so it’ll be a summer contract. It’ll almost certainly be for the minimum salary, since the Blazers can’t give out anything more.

The Raptors waived their non-guaranteed contract with Garrett last month shortly after acquiring him from the Jazz in the Steve Novak trade. He was on the fringes of the rotation for Utah this past season, averaging 3.5 points and shooting 37.5% from three-point range in 14.8 minutes per game. That followed a year in which he spent the entire season on the Suns roster but only appeared in 19 contests.

The 25-year-old Wasserman Media Group client will join James Southerland, who signed last week, in a fight to unseat one of the 15 Trail Blazers known to have guaranteed deals. It works in Garrett’s favor that the two Blazers with the cheapest contracts are fellow guards Will Barton and Allen CrabbePortland would only have to eat less than $1MM if the team were to keep Garrett instead of Barton or Crabbe.

And-Ones: Parsons, Heat, Southerland, Pistons

August 8 at 2:01pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Chandler Parsons was an all-around contributor for the Rockets, averaging 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists this past season, but that sort of production isn’t why the Mavs gave him a near-max offer sheet that Houston declined to match. They’re confident he can be a “far better” player than he was with the Rockets, as owner Mark Cuban said, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. While we wait to see whether Parsons proves worthy of Cuban’s investment, here’s more from around the league:

  • The Heat will likely sign a center for the reserve role that Greg Oden played last season, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Andray Blatche is available, but the Heat have shied away from him in the past because they’ve disliked his maturity level and behavior, according to Jackson, who seconds the notion that the Heat are unlikely to re-sign Oden following Oden’s arrest Thursday.
  • The contract that James Southerland signed Thursday with the Blazers is a one-year, non-guaranteed pact, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM. That means it’s a summer contract, as I speculated. It also fits the stipulations required to make it an Exhibit 9 contract, though it’s not necessarily one.
  • Former NBA players Tim Hardaway Sr. and Malik Allen will serve as assistant coaches for the Pistons next season, the team announced. The Pistons also announced the hiring of former Knicks executive Jeff Nix as assistant general manager. He’ll serve alongside fellow assistant GM Brian Wright underneath president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy and GM Jeff Bower.

Blazers Sign James Southerland

August 8 at 12:33pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Blazers have signed free agent small forward James Southerland, according to the RealGM transactions page. The team has made no formal announcement, but the move took place Thursday, according to RealGM. The 24-year-old was briefly with Charlotte and New Orleans last season after going undrafted out of Syracuse in 2013. Terms of the deal are unclear, but it’s likely a summer contract that’ll give Southerland the chance to make the opening night roster out of training camp.

The Spurs had interest in making Southerland the 58th pick of the draft last year if he’d agree to play overseas, but he declined and wound up signing a non-guaranteed deal with the then-Bobcats. He made the team out of camp, though he appeared in only one regular season game before injuries to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor prompted the club to give Southerland’s roster spot to the more experienced Chris Douglas-Roberts.

The Cavs, Bulls, Thunder and Hawks eyed Southerland once Charlotte cut him loose, but he remained out of the league until the Pelicans inked him in the season’s final week. A spate of injuries worked in Southerland’s favor on that occasion, as he became the 16th player on the New Orleans roster at the mercy of the league, which granted the Pelicans permission to go over the 15-man regular season roster limit so they’d have enough healthy bodies. It might take another unusual set of circumstances for Southerland to remain on Portland’s roster come opening night, since the Blazers already have 15 guaranteed deals, as our roster counts show.

Still, Southerland appeared in just four NBA games last season. He spent the majority of his time with the D-League affiliate of the Lakers, averaging 14.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game across 42 contests for the L.A. D-Fenders.