Blazers

What's a team to do with nothing?

Thu, 02/24/2011 - 8:41am
Cliff Pfenning
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If you listen to the weekly Sportsland podcast we record Monday nights, you’ll know I’m one of the people out in the sports world who wants the Trail Blazers to make some kind of a deal this week, some kind of trade that’ll get the nation’s attention that the Rose City has a pulse.

Wednesday it looked like the Blazers, general manager Rich Cho in particular, had pulled off a coup in getting Charlotte small forward Gerald Wallace in exchange for center Joel Pryzbilla. A stud for a role player. What a steal.

Wednesday night, though, that didn’t look like such a steal because of the position the two play and the results from Wednesday night. Portland looked pretty solid inside against a team with a strong inside game – the world champion LA Lakers.

If only the Blazers had been able to hit an outside shot, or gotten a key foul call at the end of the game, they would’ve won in regulation instead of losing in overtime. And, that loss was as much due to Kobe Bryant going “Herschel Walker” on the Blazers.

Gerald Wallace going to do much about that? Not likely.

Losing to Kobe was as much about LaMarcus Aldridge not getting many good looks in the fourth quarter as not being able to stop Kobe, and Wallace doesn’t seem to be the answer to that problem. With Pryzbilla, the Blazers look like a team with an outside shot at doing some damage in the playoffs – this year.

Trading Pryzbilla makes the team much weaker inside, which makes them no threat at all to the Lakers – this year.

So, standing pat – maybe it’s not such a horrible thing after all, and making a trade to just make a trade wouldn’t be such a great thing after all.

Unless Rich has some kind of deal lined up for another solid power forward or center.

Hey, you NBA dudes, get busy with your money

Wed, 01/26/2011 - 9:06am
Cliff Pfenning
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So what's the state of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and it's Player's Union these days?

I couldn't help but wonder about that after watching the State of the Union address Tuesday night. President Barack Obama spoke on the condition of the U.S. and his plans for helping the nation move forward toward a brighter future, one filled with uncertainty due to the economic struggles of a recession.

There certainly was a lot of hope in his assessment. The response from the Republican Party had a different version of hope, one that pointed out all the negatives it sees within the current President's' administration, but it was a vision of a brighter future for a lot of people struggling to make ends meet, from small businesses to large corporations.

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Both visions of the future involve the two major parties to work together. That's Democrats and Republicans. Working together to make a better America, not just the one they each see as THE way to go.

And, then there's the CBA.

Professional basketball players and the owners that pay them have an agreement on how to disburse the monies that come into the league from television rights fees to league sponsors to attendance, but that agreement runs out after this season. So, how will these two sides work together to make a better world for basketball players and fans? Currently, everyone familiar with pro basketball thinks the owners will simply lock the doors to the league because they're collectively losing money, and not playing at all is better than playing and losing money in this case.

It's called a lockout, and it's where pro basketball is headed.

Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden ... you guys are great, but we're losing money with you so agree to take less or we'll have to lock the doors.

Less than an average of nearly $6 million a season, by the way. That's not THEIR salaries, that's the league average. For some insight, the average NFL player makes around $700,000 - still not too shabby, but a lot, lot, lot less for a sport that's dealing with a major increase in concussions. NFL players play fewer games - although that's a factor in the bargaining between owners and players in the coming future - but you can easily argue they play a much more dangerous sport and have a much larger audience. The Super Bowl dwarfs anything the NBA can throw at it. NFL teams just pay more than 50 players per team, which draws down the average salary.

The only major pro sports league in the U.S. with players who are paid even remotely what an average citizen is paid is Major League Soccer, which has an average salary of around $115,000. There are quite a few players who make under $50,000 in the league.

So, what's the point here? There's a lot of the U.S. that's going to be looking at the future bargaining between very wealthy players, who get more than 60 percent of all monies that come into the league, and the owners who are all multi-millionaires based simply on the fact they own franchises valued at an average of $350 million.

How to split up all that money and be happy? The owner want to make more profit, or in some cases ANY profit, and the players want their fair share.

After watching the State of the Union address and feeling pretty good about where the nation is headed, I'll be following the CBA talks very closely to see where the NBA and it's Players Association thinks the nation is headed.

 

For Oden, there’s only one righteous move

Sun, 11/21/2010 - 10:11pm
Wanna Be Like Mike

Oft-injured Blazer center Greg Oden underwent successful microfracture surgery on his left knee in Vail, Colorado Friday, but the implications of his most recent season-ending injury will reach far beyond this year thanks to a complicated contact situation.

This is going to be a hot topic throughout the season and well into the summer, so I'm reposting this column from Thursday on my blog for a little extended exposure: http://www.oregonsports.com/pro/blazers/opinion-for-oden-there%E2%80%99s... (sorry for the ghetto link... technical issues).

It's my take on why Oden should do the right thing, and why the right thing is re-signing next season with the Blazers for the league minimum. Give it a read, and tell me if I'm crazy, a genius or something inbetween.

 

 

 

2012 is on the horizon for Blazers fans

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 11:09pm
Cliff Pfenning
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Portland-area police, get ready becasue the big slogan on the farm subsidy building outside the Rose Garden is just about ready to be tagged.

It already says “Rise with us.” Someone's going to hit it with “to OHSU” real soon.

What a season, and it’s just 11 games old. And, TNT is in town Thursday.

Even a win against division rival Denver on national TV isn’t going to do anything to make pro hoops fans think the Blazers aren’t headed for the Lottery, and, maybe, for a while. They were just at No. 4 on one of the two ESPN power rankings – two weeks ago. Now, they’re just a press release regarding Brandon Roy’s knees away from the Lottery.

Can Wes Matthews go off for 30 points regularly? Andre Miller for 50 once a month? Nicky Batum start heading for All-Star caliber play? Rudy actually play like he’s dangerous every once in a while? LaMarcus … carry the team?

Damn, the Western Conference sucks.

The Aztecs knew this day would come, it just arrived early for Blazers fans.

What a week.

Ricky Cho, now’s the time to get that Excel spreadsheet hot. And quick, because David Kahn's T-Wolves are starting to look competitive.

Shouldn’t these guys already be trained?

Mon, 09/20/2010 - 2:56pm
Derek Weber
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I know that the NFL season has started and football is truly America’s sport, but here in Oregon we’re passionate about our Blazers and since we’re less than a week away from the start of NBA training camps I thought now would be a good time to talk Blazers.

I’m not going to go into predictions right now, you’ll read plenty of that in the coming weeks on this site and about 185,429 others by my calculation. No, I’d rather talk about goals. I know there’s only a subtle difference between the two but I think it’s important to set goals at the beginning of the season.

Win the Northwest division – Lets look at the reality here, four out of the five teams have a chance to win this division. Utah replaced Boozer with Jefferson and still has one of the top three point guards in the league in Williams. Denver has a solid and experienced team, although it’s looking like Carmelo might be headed out of town. OKC is a team on the rise and has one of the top five players in the league. That being said Portland has finished with over 50 wins the last two years despite injury problems, this is a reasonable and achievable goal.

Big trade – Paul Allen seems to be getting close to the win now mentality, if he feels the opportunity for the Blazers to make a deep run in the playoffs he’ll instruct his minions, err I mean front office to do go after it. Personally I’m thinking PG but you never know. Perhaps a big trade is not the goal but improving the team for the short term in a big way should be. The team as constructed is not good enough to win a championship.

Second round or bust – Enough of the first round failures. This team needs to make a run in the playoffs. A first round appearance is good for a team that is building but multiple first round exits are not good for anyone, and the back to back Blazer first round exits the past two years only served as a reminder that the Blazers are not a championship team.

Go big stay big – We need to play to our size advantage, we have a front line that can keep up with the Lakers and we need to play that way. That’s going big, staying big means staying healthy. I know that accidents happen but the goal here is to stay healthy. I’m talking about 70+ regular season games from Greg and Marcus. Once Joel gets back he needs to stay healthy as well. Sure I could keep going on about Greg since I think we all agree or at least want him to be the missing piece so badly, but it’s really a combination of all three players.

So there you go four goals for the 2010-11 Portland Trail Blazers. Would you be happy with achieving these goals?

“It’s a great day to be a Blazer.” Brian Wheeler

Ah, the problems the Blazers used to have

Tue, 08/10/2010 - 11:49pm
Wanna Be Like Mike

FROM THE TAILGATER MAGAZINE, 2006

When I think of Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, two very distinct images play in my mind.

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