22 July 2009
The most popular player for the Blazers all of last season was out of site but never out of mind.
He never suited up. Never played. Never sat on the bench. Instead, Raef LaFrentz was back on his farm in Iowa nursing his bummed shoulder while making trips to Portland every now and again to have the injury evaluated by team officials.
Yet die-hards and the media alike talked about LaFrentz between a lot and daily, especially in early February when it mattered most.
So why not talk about him now?
You could argue Portland’s offseason troubles – failing to land a key free agent as of yet – started way back at the trade deadline. Maybe if the Blazers had moved Raef’s hefty expiring contract back then, they could have acquired the kind of player they are so desperately chasing by now.
The offers were there. Names floated around like crazy – and I’m not talking about Shaq either.
Perhaps Portland would have secured the back-up power forward, the point guard, or the small forward they urgently seek this summer had they pulled the trigger way back in February when the getting was good.
You never know.
Even if the Blazers weren’t interested in keeping their return from trading Raef’s expiring contract, it would at least give Portland one more carrot to dangle on the open market these days. Consider this: Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter were reportedly – in separate deals of course - offered in exchange for Raef’s expiring contract.
Both of those guys were traded on draft night. Both of those guys drew an interesting return (are you telling me the Blazers wouldn’t benefit from a Kurt Thomas or Bruce Bowen?). Both draw more calls from around the league say than Travis Outlaw or Steve Blake.
Even if Portland weren’t interested in keeping a player like Jefferson or Carter past a three or four month period, they would have paid dividends.
But those are just two names out of many.
If only Portland would have traded Raef.
pic via: o-live again
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