The Portland Trail Blazers are currently a team in transition mode. All-Star guard Brandon Roy finished the season playing on two gimpy knees and the big question is will he be able to perform at the level that made him a standout in the Association. The Blazers fired General Manager Rich Cho earlier this week after being on the job for less than a year as Team President Larry Miller told reporters he just was not a good fit for the organization. Portland named Chad Buchanan who is Director Of College Scouting as acting General Manager and is in the process of looking at other candidates to fill the position on a permanent basis.
The club also has to make decisions on whether to re-sign two players who will become Free Agents in the next few weeks. Center Greg Oden who was the first pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and because of injury has played just 82 games in his career in the Association becomes a restricted Free Agent. Veteran point guard Andre Miller who the Blazers signed as a Free Agent two years ago will also become a Free Agent on July 1.
The “Portland Tribune” reported Thursday that Buchanan told the paper that although there has been a lot of talk in the organization about the two players he has nothing to share with the public at the present time. The acting General Manager said “We’ve had a lot of discussions about that. We’ll continue having those. I can’t give you much more than that on the situation with Greg or Andre.”
Although Oden has shown flashes of talent in his limited time on the floor his fragility certainly makes him a high risk investment of any NBA team. He will not even be cleared to begin basketball activities until this summer and his status for next season is up in the air. Would the Blazers be throwing good money after bad if they decide to retain him? Will they have the mind-set that to give up on him at this point would be an admission that they wasted the pick in the 2007 Draft; especially when they could have chosen Kevin Durant?
The man who made that decision, former General Manager Kevin Pritchard was fired last season so it would not be reflection on the current management structure of the Blazers if they choose to sever ties. As much upside as a healthy Oden can bring the Blazers I would be hard pressed to make the choice to keep him if the decision were up to me.
Miller was a key factor why Portland was able to play as well as they did with a roster that was decimated by injuries. The 35-year old point guard averaged 12.7 points, 7.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds for the regular season. He has been a great floor general since his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers and has only gotten better with experience. He showed that he can still be an asset this past season and if the money is right re-signing Miller would be a good move for Portland.
As we reported on Wednesday the Trail Blazers reportedly have interest in former Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry to replace Cho. So there is a good possibility that the decisions on Miller and Oden may become his or another candidate’s. Those decisions could affect the club not only next season but for the next few years.