At first glance, the Trail Blazers trade of tempermental forward Rasheed Wallace seems like a pretty good deal for all concerned. The Atlanta Hawks clear major salary cap space at the end of the season when Wallace’s $17 million contract expires, so they get to be a player in the free agent market. (Though who in their right mind wants to play for Atlanta no matter how much cash in dangled?)
On the Blazer side of the equation we ship out a player who had probably alienated more fans than he brought in. If Sheed didn’t personally halve the Blazer fan base I would be surprised. So eliminating his rank personality from the Blazer media guide should help the box office considerably. I know I feel better about it.
And picking up All-Star Shareef Abdur-Rahim and NBA shot-block leader Theo Ratliff in the bargain doesn’t hurt anything more than end of year salary cap numbersÂ—except for one thing: The Blazer chemistry is now (once again) wildly out of mix.
Ratliff and Dale Davis make a decent one-two at the 5 spot, Davis’ moodiness aside, but what’s happening at the forward spots? Zach Randolph and Abdur-Rahim both need big minutes, and that won’t happen. Recent acquisition Darius Miles, who I think has “tremendous upside” as Hubie Brown might say, competes for time with Ruben Patterson, the only man who seems to bring his A-game every night. Derek Anderson remains streaky at the 2. If he’s not on, who’s behind him? Patterson again? It’s messy at the 2. But it’s far worse at point. Damon Stoudamire gives up as many points as he scores on his best nights and those nights aren’t often enough. His saving grace on this team is that the three(!) other point guards on the team are worse.
I’m not the first one to say thisÂ—my neighbor Dan isÂ—but from a basketball perspective the Sheed trade only makes sense if there’s another deal in the not-too-distant future. Honestly, I think this team is only one really good point guard away from being something, and they’ve got guys you can ship to get somebody good. I’d be looking at sending Randolph and Stoudamire out for Baron Davis or someone of his calibre. I have no idea if that works under the cap, but you get the gist. And at the 2 I guess you just hope Anderson stays healthy and spell him with Patterson in what amounts to a big lineup.
Given all of what I think above and what I think about the Blazers management, I fully expect that the team will stand pat.