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Report: Trail Blazers trying to land traditional center, target Pekovic, Splitter

Jun 26, 2013, 8:45 AM EDT

Tiago Splitter,  Earl Clark AP

LaMarcus Aldridge is a four. A big four, an All-Star four, but he has been forced to play a lot of five — a lot of center — over the course of his career and that can be hit and miss for him.

So the trail Blazers are targeting a real center this off-season to move Aldridge to his natural spot and give them some depth along the front line.

To do that, they are targeting some restricted free agents (meaning their current teams can match any offer), reports John Canzano at the Oregonian.

A league source said on Monday that the Blazers, who hold the No. 10 pick in the first round, have interest in two restricted free-agent centers: San Antonio’s Tiago Splitter and Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic. This comes after a trade-proposal report that would have the Blazers trading their lottery pick to Phoenix for center Marcin Gortat.

In the long run, Meyers Leonard may be the center the Blazers hope for, but he’s not there yet. He’s a backup right now.

The problem with the two free agents listed is that to get a restricted free agent away from a team — particularly a team that wants to keep him, like the Wolves want Pekovic and the Spurs want Splitter — is you have to make an offer large enough for the other team not to match. You have to overpay. And that doesn’t always help you in the long run.

But you can see what the Blazers are thinking — they want a big man this summer and will spend to get one.

  1. htownred34 - Jun 26, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    If they can get a decent starting center to replace Jj hickson, they should start getting good bench players.

  2. robigd - Jun 26, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Splitter is soft and a liability when he is in the game. He proved that during the NBA finals. Take him off our hands please! There has to be another “big man” out there who plays with more heart and passion than he does.

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:05 PM

      Apparently you only watched the Spurs in the Finals.

      • moseskkim - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:54 PM

        Haha the funny thing is he looked so lost in the finals as if he forgot how to ball. I remember one game he came in and he just kept running over people. But yeah he showed throughout the season that he knows how to play.

    • azarkhan - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      Fortunately RC and Pop will make that decision, and it will be based on an entire season and all four play-off series.

  3. hannsta - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    It would have been great if the Gortat deal worked but it makes sense it didnt. I think that if we cant either of those 2 very cheap, under 10 mil which looks impossible, then fill the gap with an older center like Dalembert or Okafor to teach Leonard, and go after Tyreke or Mayo with the big money.

  4. sknut - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    As a T-Wolves fan the Pek situation is interesting, if AK opts out I would guess the Wolves would match any offer but if not then it puts them in a more dicey spot to match add to the whole Batum offer sheet last year and I wonder if Portland wouldn’t mind driving up the price for Pek either way.

  5. spursareold - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    tbh, If they don’t want SA to match, throw them that #10 pick.

  6. quickrespond - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Silver and black will not match the offer they don’t want to keep him but they really want a pick or something in return

    • gonzo1347 - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      And you know this because…?

  7. anhdazman - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Nice to know that in Oakland, GSW fans finally have an off season where we’re not one of the top teams looking for a legit Center. It’s been more than 3 decades for me. More so if you’ve been a GSW fan prior to the 80’s.

  8. djjackson81 - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Why couldn’t they make the trade with PHX?

    • hannsta - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      Just guessing, but they probably didnt have enough to offer PHX.

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