I am going to preface this by noting that this entire situation is very fluid right now. There are a number of rumors circulating at present about the Portland Trailblazers and a possible move they might be making for a small forward. Over at True Hoop Henry Abbott has posted this rather cryptic blurb:
Pritchard's "cap expert," assistant GM Tom Penn, adds that "we have to formally complete the New York trade before we can finish another trade that we hope will happen." Penn estimates that will take a week to ten days for all this to be announced.
Later in the same press conference, someone asks about the teams's decision to draft Rudy Fernandez, and Pritchard says "that's part of the thing I'm not supposed to talk about, so I apologize for maybe letting it out a little bit."
I'm no expert on the collective bargaining agreement, but I'm guessing that this means something has to happen with Channing Frye (moving on?) or Steve Francis (being bought out?) before Rudy Fernandez can be shipped (with Frye, Pryzbilla, Jack, Koponen ... who knows?) somewhere for a small forward.
This actually makes a lot of sense. The Blazers made a ton of moves last night, and it seems like they have about 20 players on their roster right now. It would be logical that they are hording all these players in an attempt to swing a big trade. It also makes sense that such a trade would be aimed at a small forward, since that position is a glaring hole in the Blazers lineup right now. (They started Ime Udoka all last season and Darius Miles is essentially done) So who is the mystery small forward the Blazers are looking to get? None other than Shawn Marion according to Blazers Edge:
New York had agreed to a buyout with Francis. The buyout has Francis giving up his player option and taking about 10-15 million. Francis keeps the money, becomes a free agent, and may sign with another team. The buyout is transferable to Portland, meaning that if Francis signs with another team for the mid-level exception (5 million), the Blazers would only have 7.5 - 12.5 million count against the cap for this year, and nothing for next year. Letting Freddie and Dan expire this year would only have saved us 6.1 million. This way we eat the buyout and dump Zach's ridiculous contract. Francis will never wear a Blazer uni...
... the Blazers are targeting Shawn Marion. In this case, Francis is traded, with the exception, cash, and probably another cheap piece such as Webster or Jack, for Marion. By gaining the Francis buyout and dumping Marion, the Suns gain a ton of cap space, and Francis is a Blazer for about 10 days.
All I can say is, the Blazers would be completely nasty if this were to go down. Think about it, you would be talking about a starting lineup of Jack, Roy, Marion, Aldridge, and Oden. Good grief. If Kevin Pritchard pulls this off he will officially replace Bryan Colangelo as my favorite GM.