Friday , Jan , 04 , 2008 Oly Sandor

June 28, 2006: The Day The Portland Trail Blazers Became Relevant Again

However, another date is significant in Blazer history: June 28th, 2006. This date should sound familiar, it’s draft day. Here’s a thought: what if the front office took a passive approach eighteen months ago? Pretend the Tyrus Thomas for LaMarcus Aldrige trade never happened. Ditto for the Randy Foye-Brandon Roy deal …

June 28, 2006: The Day The Portland Trail Blazers Became Relevant AgainThe AM Take: Much has been made about the Portland Trail Blazers turning around their season after a spirited practice in early December:

The history books will show that the Trail Blazers’ winning streak started on Dec. 3, when Travis Outlaw made a last-second shot at Memphis.

But to the Blazers players and coaches, the roots of the streak really started two days earlier, at a community center in San Antonio, where an edgy and downtrodden Blazers team practiced.

It was where Martell Webster and Joel Przybilla fought. Where Steve Blake kicked and then threw a chair. Where Brandon Roy exchanged sharp words with teammates. And where Channing Frye spoke up and made a promise.

"I felt like everything changed that day," Roy said before the Blazers ran their winning streak to 12 with a win over Minnesota on Friday night. "I can’t say that I felt it was going to result in this many wins in a row, but it was a big moment. We’ve been better ever since then." (Jason Quick, Oregon Live Blog)

I agree. After their December 3rd practice, Portland quit playing passive basketball and became a tough, defensive squad. Their change in identity is significant. Opposing teams were held to under ninety points per game scoring during Portland’s recent winning streak.

However, another date is significant in Blazer history: June 28th, 2006. This date should sound familiar, it’s draft day.

Here’s a thought: what if the front office took a passive approach eighteen months ago? Pretend the Tyrus Thomas for LaMarcus Aldrige trade never happened. Ditto for the Randy Foye-Brandon Roy deal.   

I’d prefer not to pass judgment on Thomas and Foye’s careers. But without these trades, Portland would be stuck in the Western Conference cellar. No Aldridge. No Roy. No Rip City renaissance.

December 3rd was an important day in Blazer history, but don’t sleep on June 28th, 2006 either.

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Last night I was chatting with a friend who lives in Oregon. We discussed two points regarding his Blazers. First, Portland will have loads of cap space after the 2008-09 season when Francis’ buyout and Raef LaFrentz’ salary comes off the book. Second, the club will use this money to re-sign their young players and also bring in a big-name point guard. A top table-setter could push this club over-the-top.

What do you think of Portland’s trades on draft day in June, 2006? Get at us in the comment box below or hit us up in .

The AM Take is Oly’s morning thoughts on the NBA. All errors can be attributed to the time and his need for another cup of coffee. Click here to get his AM Take each morning and subscribe to his blog.