Comings and goings (cont.)
Posted: Friday May 25, 2007 12:05PM; Updated: Friday May 25, 2007 2:22PM
Randolph's future in Portland
Will Oden's imminent arrival lead to Zach Randolph's departure?
Upon hearing that Oden would be going to Portland, one of my first thoughts was that he might offset Randolph's weaknesses as a defender and shot-blocker. At the other end the Blazers would have two nimble low-post scorers, and Randolph proved during his recovery from knee surgery a year ago that he can also float out to the perimeter for jump shots.
Portland management is trying to kill off the "Jail Blazers'' brand, but by all accounts Randolph has made an effort to improve as a leader. My understanding is that he's less of a troublemaker than he is misguided. Surround him with teammates like Oden and Brandon Roy, and Randolph might be on a better plane than he was in previous years.
I'm also thinking that Randolph's stock might rise if the Blazers can climb to the right side of .500. Put his 23.6 points and 10.1 rebounds on a playoff team and Randolph might find himself on the All-Star team too.
In theory LaMarcus Aldridge is a better complement to Oden than Randolph, as well as being more in line with the Blazers' less-troubled image. But Aldridge cannot match Randolph's production. At this moment I can't see teams that are desperate for points in the paint -- like Chicago or Washington -- taking on Randolph's risky four-year, $61 million contract. Nor am I convinced, despite the ongoing rumors, that Portland is trying to trade Randolph.
In the meantime the Blazers should be advised to not give away Randolph. As an explosive scorer he will take pressure off Oden offensively and help Portland return to the playoffs as soon as next season -- in which case it will be easier to trade him for something good in return.
Italian coach could make history
Three coaching questions:
1. Why did Stan Van Gundy say no to Indiana?
Let me pose a question in return: Could it have had anything to do with Brian Hill's subsequent dismissal in Orlando? Will Van Gundy be more interested in working for the Magic in order to keep his family in Florida? Other candidates include P.J. Carlesimo, Marc Iavaroni and, yes, Billy Donovan.
2. Will somebody please become the head coach in Memphis?
Despite Larry Brown's interest I still think Iavaroni will wind up there, and the Phoenix assistant might take the job before a GM is hired.
3. Will Ettore Messina be the first foreign-bred coach to run an NBA team?
The answer is yes, though it is unlikely to happen this season. "I am very happy here,'' emphasized Messina, the 47-year-old Italian who coached CSKA-Moscow to the Euroleague final. Messina has another year remaining on his contract with CSKA and intends to honor it.
The most intriguing news from my recent conversation with Messina is that he would be willing to become an NBA assistant for one or more years before seeking employment as a head coach.
"The season is different, the habits are different, even the basketball terminology is different in the Euroleague than it is in the NBA,'' Messina said. "There could be different ways to imagine the process of adjustment should a foreign coach come to the NBA -- it may be as an assistant for some time. I do not have a problem recognizing that an adjustment should be made.''
2 of 3