In his latest column for The Oregonian, Jason Quick writes that the Trail Blazers' unexpected success this season may actually impede the team's "grand plan." Here are the details from Quick and Blazers GM Neil Olshey, along with a few other notes out of Portland:
- As we note in our tentative 2013 draft order, the Blazers will send their first-round pick to Charlotte if it's not in the top 12. Losing that pick would mean one less way for Olshey to retool the roster.
- The Ted Stepien rule also prohibits Portland from trading its 2014 first-rounder while it's still possible the club could lose the '13 pick. "If that pick wasn’t encumbered, we would have far more flexibility in constructing a deal which would allow us to acquire a player that could contribute immediately," Olshey said.
- Olshey still believes making the playoffs would be a good thing for the team, in part because it would make Portland a more appealing destination for free agents: "It’s a completely different pitch going to recruit guys if you are a current playoff team that is only going to get better as opposed to, 'Hey, if you come here, you can help us become a playoff team.'"
- The Blazers need to add three "really good players" this summer using their cap space and possibly the draft, according to Olshey. The team will likely have between $10-15MM in cap room at its disposal. "It’s either going to be a draft pick and you split the $12MM between two guys," Olshey said. "Or you don’t have the draft pick and you split the $13.5MM between three guys and the mini-mid level (exception)."
- Portland figures to focus on adding depth in the backcourt and at center in the summer.