Thursday, July 5, 2007

High profile offers for Greg Oden

Via TrueHoop, we get directed to this article by Jason Quick in the Oregonian from this past Sunday. In it, Quick describes some of the offers that Kevin Pritchard (the Trailblazer's GM) received for the number one pick (i.e. Greg Oden) in this past draft, and apparently some of the offers were quite substantial:
  • From an Eastern conference team: A five-time All-Star and this year's lottery pick in exchange for the No. 1 pick and the Blazers' 2008 first-round pick.
  • A team within the Blazers division proposed a trade involving a future Hall of Famer and a standout rookie for the Blazers' No. 1 pick.
  • From a "Western conference power": The general manager wanted the Blazers' No. 1 pick. And he was willing to offer a player that will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Quick leaves the details on these proposed trades a bit thin, most likely to protect his sources, but I think it isn't too hard to figure out the identities of the involved parties, particularly in the first two trade scenarios.

In the first trade offer, I think it's clear that the offer was Paul Pierce and the Celtic's lottery pick (5th overall). There are only six Eastern conference teams that were in the lottery this year (Atlanta- twice, Milwaukee, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago- from New York, and Philadelphia), and Paul Pierce is the only five-time all-star on any of these rosters.

In the second trade offer, I think the offer must have been Kevin Garnett and Randy Foye. The teams in the Blazer's division are Utah, Denver, Minnesota, and Seattle. Of those teams, only Denver (Iverson) and Minnesota (Garnett) have players that I would consider certain Hall of Famers at this stage of their careers, and of those two teams only Minnesota had a standout rookie this past season.

The third trade offer I think is a bit trickier. Over at TrueHoop, Henry Abbot identifies San Antonio, Phoenix, and Dallas as the Western conference powers, eliminates Nowitzki from consideration as not a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer, eliminates Nash because the Suns attack only works with him running it, and comes to the conclusion that the Spurs offered Tim Duncan for the right to pick Greg Oden. I'm not sure I agree.

First, I find it hard to believe that the Spurs would offer Tim Duncan in a trade under any circumstances. He is, in my opinion, currently the best player in the NBA. His teams just win. And the Spurs have a very real chance to win another 2-3 NBA titles before Duncan retires. Why make a trade to get someone who may or may not one day be as good as Duncan is right now? I don't think it makes much sense, especially since the Spurs are already stockpiling talent (drafting players who continue playing overseas) for the day when Duncan is no longer the dominant force in the NBA. In addition, the same article by Quick mentions Popovich having a conversation with Pritchard, apparently before this third trade offer was made, in which Popovich talked about Pritchard having the chance to put together a twin-towers tandem even better than Duncan and David Robinson had been. I highly doubt he would have given such fulsome praise to Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge just before trying to get Pritchard to trade Oden.

If not Duncan, then who? I really don't know, but I think Henry Abbott might have read "Western conference power" too restrictively. In my mind, the two current first ballot Hall of Famers playing in the Western conference are Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant. While they aren't currently a powerhouse, the Lakers are still a playoff team and they are certainly a traditional Western conference power. Especially considering all the Kobe Bryant fireworks that have gone on this summer, I think it's more likely that the mystery general manager was Mitch Kupchak (the Laker's GM) rather than RC Buford (the Spur's GM). But I guess we'll never really know.

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