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Recapping a crazy day in Portland, where the Blazers began to clean house

Mar 15, 2012, 8:44 PM EDT

Portland Trail Blazers v Charlotte Bobcats

This year’s Portland Trail Blazers campaign, to this point, has gone as badly as possible. Just before the NBA’s trade deadline passed at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, the team began the process of doing something about it.

A flurry of activity went down in Portland today, and much of it set the team up nicely for a complete rebuild beginning with this year’s draft. Here’s a breakdown of the moves that were made.

Gerald Wallace traded to New Jersey

This deal netted the Blazers $10 million off of the salary cap once Mehmet Okur‘s deal expires at the end of the season, and a draft pick likely to be in the lottery somewhere, even when you take into account the Nets’ improvement with Wallace aboard. Shawne Williams may or may not still be there next season, but if he is, it’ll only be for that one additional year at around $3 million.

This was strictly a salary cap dump, and an excellent one at that. When you add in the first round draft pick, this might have been Portland’s best move of the day.

Marcus Camby traded to Houston

The Blazers got rid of one of their problem personalities, sending Marcus Camby to the Rockets in exchange for Jonny Flynn, Hasheem Thabeet, and a second round draft pick.

Camby’s contract was expiring at the end of this season anyway, so dealing him for two draft busts whose contracts also expire is a wash. Also, taking back garbage in terms of talent for someone like Camby who can actually play is the true definition of tanking, and with Portland entering rebuilding mode, it makes sense to try to lose as much as possible the rest of the way to secure the highest draft position.

In the past week, Camby was seemingly trying to flagrant-foul his way out of town — first, by trying to start a fight with Kevin Seraphin of the Wizards for no good reason, and then, by attempting to murder Landry Fields of the Knicks on Wednesday, with his team trailing by 30 points at the time. Not exactly a classy way to go out, but Camby has been around a long time, and probably deserved better than to spend the twilight of his career dealing with this disaster.

A fine move from the Blazers’ standpoint to rid themselves of a clearly disgruntled veteran, and an extremely nice addition for the Rockets.

Nate McMillan fired as head coach

We all saw this coming; it was just a matter of “when.”

McMillan lost his team at some point during the course of the season, and it ultimately cost him his job. When you clash with your starting point guard as he did with Raymond Felton, and then lose by 42 points on national television to a team as dysfunctional as the New York Knicks, it’s safe to say the party is over.

McMillan is a good coach and will eventually get another shot. In the meantime, the Blazers gave 34-year-old assistant coach Kaleb Canales the interim head-coaching tag, with his first turn in the big chair coming at an extremely challenging time. Then again, when the preferred course of action is losing the majority of the remaining games on the schedule, he’s got it better than most.

Greg Oden is waived. Finally.

This move should have been made a long time ago, but the volume of players added through today’s trade finally made it a necessity.

It was clear long ago that Oden was never going to live up to the expectations placed on his shoulders when he was selected as the number one overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft; it certainly didn’t help that the number two pick that year was Kevin Durant. But through no fault of his own, Oden suffered multiple injuries that required surgeries which take months, or even years to properly heal from.

Oden did actually play at an above average level at times when healthy, and even showed flashes of being something special. But he was never going to be at Durant’s level, and when the injuries continued to stack up, Portland should have cut ties with him and moved on long before today.

The sum of Portland’s moves earned them an A-grade on our deadline-day report card, and it’s a beginning for a franchise that finds itself in need of starting over. Whether or not the moves they make in hiring a new coach, and using the cap space and draft picks that were acquired today will rate as high, well — that remains to be seen.

  1. p1nch3dloaf - Mar 15, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    A healthy Sam…er, Greg would’ve…could’ve…should’ve…rings-n-trophies etc…but, he’s still young and has a better chance of putting on a uniform in a couple of years than Brandon Roy. I will laugh the day either of them comes back healthy and torch the Blazers for 50.

    In the meantime…hey, Coach Sloan…hello?

    • theonlysaneblazerfan - Mar 15, 2012 at 11:04 PM

      Are you kidding? It would be a miracle if Oden ever got healthy enough to make a significant contribution on an NBA team. Brandon Roy could realistically come back as a 15 minute a game bench scorer. As far as either of them dropping 50? Thats about as likely as Gilbert Arenas winning next year’s MVP.

  2. norcal031 - Mar 15, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    I did a freestyle at a club where I said “i know he’s 7’3 but I bet he’s scared of me, give me the microphone and watch me rock it on Thabeet! They went nuts!!!!!

  3. 6thsense79 - Mar 16, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    You forgot to mention the crowd were 1st graders with sugar hughs.

    • norcal031 - Mar 16, 2012 at 12:48 AM

      No….it was like 6 years ago when he was still in college and if was in front of a bunch of white kids in a bar. You rap anything to them at 1 am and they think its good.

      • jolink653 - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:26 PM

        so what? just because they were white they won’t know the difference between good and bad rap?

  4. 0pu8bdmx - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:46 AM


  5. zblott - Mar 16, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    This A- grade is predicated on the assumptions that a) good free agents will want to sign with Portland, b) the Blazers will actually have the leadership in place to bring in good free agents who work well together and with the team’s future plans, c) the Blazers have a future plan that isn’t simply selling the team to a new owner who will bring in his own people with a new future plan, and d) will make good draft choices. There’s not a lot of recent history with this club to suggest any of this will happen.

  6. omniusprime - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    One positive thing about Greg Oden is that he makes Andrew Bynum seem very healthy by comparison, makes us Lakers fans very glad we got Bynum instead of Oden. Hopefully Oden finished college and can make money the old-fashioned way, by earning it in a real job. After being hyped as a good team it’s too funny to watch Portlandia implode.

    • 1historian - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:57 AM

      Oden went to Ohio State for one year. The courses he took in his 2nd semester – Sociology & ‘The History of Rock and Roll’.

      Source – Sports Illustrated

  7. rizza32 - Mar 16, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Can we finally see Babbitt play now

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