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News » Portland Trail Blazers Getting Inside 2008-06-30


Portland Trail Blazers Getting Inside 2008-06-30


Portland Trail Blazers Getting Inside 2008-06-30
Kevin Pritchard's reputation as a doer on draft day didn't change. The Trail Blazers' general manager put together five trades that landed a veteran power forward, a potential all-star guard, a player on the European futures market and four future second-round draft picks.

In a whirlwind 4 1/2 hours, Portland:

--Traded guard Jarrett Jack, forward Josh McRoberts and the draft rights to Kansas swingman Brandon Rush to Indiana for forward Ike Diogu and the draft rights to Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless.

--Purchased the 27th pick in the draft (Kansas forward Darrell Arthur) from New Orleans for $3 million, the maximum the NBA allows for such a transaction.

--Traded the 27th and 33rd (Memphis' Joey Dorsey) picks to Houston for the draft rights to French forward Nicolas Batum, whom the Rockets took with the 25th pick.

--Traded the draft rights of the 36th pick, Turkish center Omer Asik -- to Chicago for three future second-round picks owned by the Bulls: New York's and Denver's in 2009 and Chicago's in 2010.

--Traded the 55th pick, D-League guard Mike Taylor -- to the L.A. Clippers for a 2009 second-round pick.

Portland started the day with five draft picks, including No. 27, which had been agreed upon three days in advance. And the Blazers traded every one of them.

"There were times when this draft got crazier than ever before," said Pritchard, who made six draft-day deals in 2006 and has engineered 13 in the three years he has run basketball operations. "There was a time when we had seven teams on hold in the second round, my phone was ringing and (assistant GM Tom Penn's) phone was ringing. It got really hectic. That's the fun part of it, trying to mix and match and figure out what you need to do to get better.

"It's a very exciting day. We went into it with many different options and didn't know how it would shake out, but I can tell you now, we're on Cloud Nine. We feel like we've really improved our team.

"I feel like (the Portland roster is) pretty balanced right now. We know pretty much who our potential starters will be. I like our top 10 a lot. There is some tinkering (yet to be done), but I like this team."

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Portland was 5-12 and coming off an embarrassing 100-79 loss to San Antonio Dec. 2 when McMillan decided to let up a little on his young team. With the reins off, the Blazers kicked into a more free-spirited, up-tempo style and promptly ran off the longest winning streak in the NBA at that point.

The 13-game streak saw the Blazers take defined roles. Blue-collar center Joel Przybilla battled for rebounds and blocks down low and forward Travis Outlaw emerged as a sixth man and off-the-bench scoring threat. LaMarcus Aldridge took his place as a secondary scorer next to Brandon Roy, Steve Blake became a reliable distributor of the ball, and Martell Webster and James Jones became the outside shooting threats Portland had been lacking.

TURNING POINT: Portland's luck was probably doomed to change when a favorable December schedule turned tough in January and February. After playing 10 games out of a 13-game stretch in December at the Rose Garden, the Blazers had a seven-game road stretch in January.

The wheels didn't start to come off until they lost eight of nine in the middle of February, and a stretch of six loses in seven games from March 27-April 11 was indicative of a young team that was running out of gas.

Late season injuries to Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Joel Przybilla left the team without a rudder.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 30, 2008

 

 
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