22 February 2010
The Blazers are making their list and they'll be checking it more than twice this week.
“We’re putting together a list of guys we at least want to discuss. We have a couple positions we feel we’re going to look at for players. A lot depends on who is being bought out,” said Mike Born, the Blazers' director of scouting.
Born said over the weekend Portland is in no rush to find their 15th man, even with a March 1 deadline in place.
But while the Blazers remain "very open minded" and are looking for the best player available, they appear focused on grabbing a center or point guard at the veteran’s minimum.
“If a big man became available and maybe just wasn’t playing a lot, I think we would definitely look at that. You’re always looking for big bodies. There’s nothing like having a 6’9 or 6’10, 260 or 265 pound body you can put out there,” explained Born, knowing Portland’s depth is at small forward and guard positions.
A number of bigs have been waived the last few days: Brian Cardinal (New York), Brian Cook (Houston) and Kenny Thomas (Sacramento). While all three are power forwards, they do fit the “big bodies” Born described.
Drew Gooden (Los Angeles Clippers) and Zydrunas Ilgauskas (Washington) may soon join that group, as could NBA journeyman and current D-League center Dwayne Jones (Austin Toros, last played for the Cleveland Cavaliers)
“Ultimately that’s what we want – the best player now and one who fits.”
Right now, that list includes players waived or bought out of their contract, those playing overseas, current free agents not in the league, and those in the D-League with NBA experience.
“It’s really big picture. We’re probably not looking at 30. It’s more like 10 that we’ll ultimately going to narrow down to four or five.”
Chances are a number of point guards will be on Portland’s shortlist.
“It’s one of the positions we’re looking at. We feel pretty comfortable where we’re at the two and three, because we have legitimate guys and guys who can swing to those positions.”
There remains concern that Patty Mills lacks the experience Portland needs for their playoff push. While Mills did compete in the Olympics for the Australian National team, his lack of playing time hurts his rhythm.
“If you’re making a playoff push and playing against a bunch of big boys down the stretch, is he ready to handle that,” Born asked about the rookie point guard. “I would say there is a question mark to that at this point because of his lack of experience.
If Portland’s search comes down to a point guard, they’ll certainly have their options.
The NBDL’s Will Conroy (Rio Grande Valley) already has a place on Portland’s list while standby free agents like Jacque Vaughn and Mike Wilks could also make the cut. Recently waived Mike James (Washington) is another notable point guard worth considering.
This week will be very telling for Portland’s process depending on who gets waived around the league.
“It’s sort of early. We have talked to a few agents and we know there are certain guys that could potentially be bought out and others you are speculating on,” Born began.
“We’re trying to trust the process that we go through. It’s not a perfect process. It can always be better. But we have to trust it. This is a time to be patient.”
|< Prev||Next >|