Lee and Odom not right for Portland Trail Blazers
There’s nothing ‘Rip City’ can do, but move on. Fair or not, Hedo Turkoglu reneged on a verbal agreement to join the Portland Trail Blazers and inked a five-year, $53 million contract with the Toronto Raptors. Apparently, the Turkish swing’s family preferred big and multi-cultural Toronto to smaller and beautiful Portland. What know? …
There’s nothing ‘Rip City’ can do, but move on.
Fair or not, Hedo Turkoglu reneged on a verbal agreement to join the Portland Trail Blazers and inked a five-year, $53 million contract with the Toronto Raptors. Apparently, the Turkish swing’s family preferred big and multi-cultural Toronto to small and beautiful Portland.
Well, rumours have the Blazers eyeing New York post David Lee and Los Angeles three-man Lamar Odom. Lee is a restricted free agent, giving the Knicks the right to match any offer he receives, while Odom is an unrestricted free agent.
Lee and Odom are fine players and people. Both could conceivably work in Oregon or with any other NBA team for that matter. But both could also be pulling a quasi-Turkoglu –using very public negotiations with Portland to squeeze money and term out of the Knicks and Lakers.
Lee wants to return to ‘The Big Apple’. In New York, he got love from the fans in Madison Square Gardens and developed close friendships with teammates. Still, GM Donnie Walsh won’t overpay his double-double machine because NBA clubs have leverage on restricted free agents and he must preserve cap space for the summer of 2010.
Then there’s Odom’s situation. He’ll discount his $10 million salary to stay with the Lakers. And the Lakers will pay the luxury tax to keep him. So both player and team are interested in extending their relationship. Sounds simple enough, right?
Not so fast. The versatile forward, at best, wants to take a $1-2 million cut, while the club was hoping for a half-off-sale near the Mid Level Exception. As a result, Odom and the purple-and-gold have reached an impasse.
Enter vulnerable Portland. And their significant cap space.
After the Turkoglu debacle, GM Kevin Pritchard has extra motivation to sign a big-name like Lee and Odom. This is dangerous. Neither considers the Blazers their first choice and, worst of all, both would be paid rather handsomely to serve as effective platoon players.
Is Lee worth ten million dollars a season splitting minutes with LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden, and Joel Przybilla? And does Odom deserve a similar wage when he’ll rotate in with several young players?
Portland must move on from Turkoglu. Lee and Odom, while solid players, aren’t the answer for a club looking to take the next step.