Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Outlaw for Conley rumors...

Much to my delight, Dwight Jaynes has been blogging his ass off over at his cozy interwebs property. Good things over there, check it out.

Here he points out this report from Sam Smith saying that the Blazers have offered Travis Outlaw for Mike Conley. From the Smith report:

After seeing the Grizzlies in Chicago Saturday, I can't believe they won't make a deal with pointless Portland. This seems a natural with the modest Greg Oden, likely in a depression now as he's hurt again amidst amazingly huge expectations in the community, likely yearning for his old, aggressive buddy Mike Conley, who though starting doesn't seem the favorite of coach Marc Iavaroni, who seems to favor Kyle Lowry. Sources say the Trailblazers continue to only offer Travis Outlaw.
I've never been as big on Conley as the scouts have, but they know more than me. Also, I'm not so sure Memphis would trade a crowded point guard situation for a crowded lanky-athletic small forward situation. We'll see.

What makes this trade rumor so intriguing to me is that it brings up a lot of debates and the evolving perceptions of this Blazer team.

First, the Blazer need for a "pointguard of the future." This discussion gained huge momentum last season and refuses to stop. I initially dismissed this talk as way too preliminary. Steve Blake isn't glamorous, this is true. But he has been a competent. Fans seem to want an entire team of All-Stars. This has become increasingly odd to me as not long ago the Blazers were Exhibit A for why such an approach doesn't work.

Remember, when it matters most Brandon Roy is the pointguard. And for the last time, teams have won titles without stellar pointguards. I am very weary of people who seem to think this team needs more stars. That being said, Conley would be an upgrade in terms of talent.

Secondly, it is interesting that much of Rip City has turned on Travis Outlaw. There was a time when he was the regarded as the loveable up and coming talent. Last season his flaws were acknowledged, but Travis was prized as a valuable offensive weapon off the bench. This year is different. The new verdict on Outlaw is that his development has plateaued, that he needs the ball too much to be an effective team player, and that he settles for the jump shot too often. Making things worse for Travis, Nicolas Batum has already managed to capture the fan's imagination.

I agree that Travis is limited. He is also probably close to his ceiling considering his distaste for working on his game in the off season. With the arrival of Batum and Fernandez, his role has been reduced. It would make sense to trade him while his value remains high.

The trade makes some sense, but I have my reservations. I'm scared that it is far too early to be talking about all of this. The team is still very young, as is the season. We haven't even seen the squad at full strength. It is still unknown what the Blazers really need to become elite, maybe the ingredients are already on the roster and just need some time to come together. The best moves can be the ones that aren't made. Patience Rip City, Patience.

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