Well, the short answer is yes. Of course things could get worse. Things can always get worse.
Last night, I didn’t watch a minute of the game (if you want to refer to it as that) between Portland and the “woeful” (not that bad, are they now Blazers?!?) Washington Wizards. I switched cable companies a few months back, so I don’t have Comcast SportsNet at home. The only thing I miss about not having Comcast, is not having Comcast SportsNet. But last night, I was actually thankful that I had no access to watch the horror that unfolded last night at the Rose Garden.
I checked the score on my phone, and was just disgusted by what I saw. If two days off, followed by a home game with a team with one of the worst records in the NBA can’t get a little bit of the team’s mojo and confidence back, then sadly, you’re running out of options of things that can help get the mojo back.
I don’t know what it is, but there is definitely a problem with this team. Something isn’t clicking. I don’t know specifically who is to blame. Honestly, the only person I would say is holding up their end of the bargain is Aldridge. That last sentence also includes the coaches, as well as the players. No one is free from blame, except maybe Aldridge.
A couple of weeks back, the prevailing feeling about this team was that the shooting woes of Crawford, Matthews and Felton wouldn’t last forever and the rigor of the compacted NBA season was taking its toll. On the radio yesterday evening, play-by-play man Mike Barrett even chalked up the Blazers’ extended struggles to the fact that “the shots just aren’t falling.” And sure, there’s probably a little bit of truth to what Barrett is saying. After all, these players are not playing a normal NBA schedule by any means, and so that obviously is part of some of the struggles of this team.
Look, I’m not trying to be too over-dramatic about it, but I think it’s something beyond their shots “not falling.” I think it’s more serious than that, and that it’s time to get something done about it. If the team’s sense of pride has become minimal, as Coach McMillan talked specifically about after the loss to Washington, it’s either time to start benching guys or trading guys. In other words, blow it up one way or the other.
I think it’s time to start trading guys. Because even benching them isn’t going to work if they don’t have much pride left. Benching guys with no pride just pisses them off, and then you have that kind of problem on your hands. Then you add off-court problems to the on-court problems that already exist.
I offered my opinion a couple of weeks back about the Steve-Nash-to-the-Blazers talk. Well, since then, Portland’s need for a stable/efficient (anything, folks, anything!!) point guard has grown infinitely worse, it seems. And as I sit here today, I still think that Buchanan and the front office should do everything in their power to bring Nash to the Blazers and then let the rest of the season play out with him leading the team. Sure, he’s going to be a rental player for half the year, but I promise it wouldn’t be worse than what we are currently seeing with the Blazers.
If the Blazers brass wants to keep this thing above water and if they want to truly keep the team at a level of competing for a title (or at least a substantial playoff run), making a trade for Steve Nash is their best option. If they don’t care about winning (at or above the level they’re currently operating at) in the immediate future, then they just have to wait until this season is over and let everyone walk and only bring back the guys that they really want, since only Aldridge and Matthews are on the books for the long term. But remember, Paul Allen has always been a “win now” guy and since he’s getting older, he isn’t going to go changing his tune.
Let’s talk about the actual trade for Nash for a minute. Now ideally, my dream trade for Nash would be something like Batum, Felton, a 1st round pick, and a 2nd round pick for Nash. I mean, you know you’re going to have to give up Batum in any trade deals that come along. Felton is, well…everyone in Portland hates Raymond Felton, right? Something like that anyway. He has turned into the Rudy Fernandez of the season. It might help to get the poor guy away from all the haters. Actually, the reason I put him in this scenario is because the PG spot is really the only place where we have actual depth. You could throw in Camby instead of Felton, but then Portland is left completely desolate at the center spot. And the center position is pretty shaky right now, even with Camby on the floor every night.
The only reason I’ve written about Steve Nash coming to Portland via trade, is that it’s been rumored for a couple of years now and there seems to be a real possibility of getting the deal done, if that’s what the Suns and Blazers want to do. Word is, at least from this article by Sam Amick on SI.com, is that the Suns aren’t going to trade Nash anywhere unless he says to do so. Still, worth a shot for Portland to hit them with the full court press about prying Nash away from them? Hell yes.
Real quick, while we’re talking about trades, this is my why-the-hell-not dream trade of the day: Portland sends Raymond Felton, Nic Batum and picks/cash/whatever to the Knicks for Jared Jeffries and Jeremy Lin? Who would say no to that? How much ass would that kick? All this hype with Jeremy Lin, and then the Knicks trade him away out of nowhere? It would be freakin’ great. Listen, the Knicks can’t honestly think this Jeremy Lin is going to keep this up for the rest of his career, and Felton did play well while playing for D’Antoni before. And for Portland, even if Lin comes back to Earth (which he most definitely will, I mean, let’s be reasonable here people), he can’t be much worse than what Felton/Smith/Williams/Crawford-playing-the-point is giving the team right now, right?
I mean, Lin is not going to be a superstar, like ESPN would like him to become. Let’s get that straight first. But he’s surely proved that he can play in the NBA and be a decent player. At least the Blazers would get a sh!tload of TV time, right?
I don’t know. Speculating about some trades is a complete waste of time. This whole Steve Nash-to-Portland could be a waste of time. But if you look at viable options to turn this team and season around right now, trading for Nash would get my vote for number one. I bet Portland will just wait it out and take a long, hard look at the roster in the offseason.
Unfortunately, as always with this team, their offseason will probably be starting either when the 2012 NBA playoffs start, or after the first round has been completed.