24 February 2010
Suddenly Portland is employing a third option in filling their final roster spot: no move could be the best move.
Over the past few days, the Blazers have gone from searching for their 15th man, to possibly making a D-League call up, to narrowing their search to either an experienced “big” or point guard. But according to the organization, they are not sure if they will sign a player before March 1.
The list of potential talent to explore has not narrowed much and while the front office continues to keep a close eye on the waiver wire, Portland has not really committed either way to rounding out the roster for the rest of the season or playoffs – at least not at this point.
They may work guys out this week. They may not.
If the Blazers opted to not sign an NBA player before or on the March 1 deadline, a player could still be signed up to April 15, but would not be considered playoff eligible.
However, the March 1 deadline only pertains to guys on NBA rosters, not D-League call-ups or free agents not currently on an NBA roster.
In the meantime, some of those believed to be on Portland’s shortlist are beginning to undergo workouts and perhaps offers elsewhere.
Veteran and NBDL center Dwayne Jones worked out for the Dallas Mavericks on Monday – which apparently didn't go well as they’ll sign former Blazer Von Wafer instead, leaving Jones a possible option for the Washington Wizards or even New York Knicks.
Jones could take the place of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, whom the Wizards will let walk back to Cleveland any minute now.
If indeed Drew Gooden was on Portland’s list, they can scratch him off - maybe. Gooden made his Los Angeles Clippers debut on Monday night, but according to one source close to the Clippers, management doesn't have a plan to buy him out. Then again, if Gooden wants to go they don't mind either.
Two other free agent names continue to make the rounds: Mikki Moore and Jake Voskul. Again, there’s no confirmation Portland would be interested in either center, but at this point many teams around the league are looking for their last man, including the Blazers, are keeping every option open. Kenny Thomas, Brian Cook, and Brian Cardinal are part of that equation too.
As for point guards, NBDL standout Will Conroy has heard his name linked to the Blazers but knows nothing is final until a deal is done.
“I think I could bring some solid back up minutes to Andre Miller and Jerryd Bayless. I'd also be able to give Bayless a chance to play off the ball where he seems real effective,” Conroy told Scott Schroder of Ridiculous Upside when asked what he could bring to Portland.
The collection of potential “bigs” or point guard’s that could fit what the Blazers are looking for remains on an going process, a door Portland might not decide to close before the deadline strikes on March 1.
In the end, we are talking about a player who likely won’t see any playing time. In the grand scheme of Portland’s daily grind, there are far greater concerns to address. Even still, Portland’s roster stands at 12 players with the injuries to Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla. So why won’t management go ahead and fill that final spot within the next five days with a 15th man – make that 13th man?
As the Blazers found out the hard way this season, you can never have too many healthy players at your disposal, even as an insurance policy or “rental” towards a playoff push.
So in the next few days, look for Portland to weigh their options and change their mind a time or two as well.
photo: bruce ely/ o-live
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