There’s a big-time player in the LeBron Sweepstakes that few have considered: the Trail Blazers. That’s right. As Sam Smith writes, the Blazers “have the pieces every team that could lose a free agent wants in a sign-and-trade, namely centers.” While Portland’s market is miniscule in comparison to New York and Chicago and Miami, LeBron has made it clear that, if he doesn’t re-sign with the Cavs, he wants the money — the six-year max deal money – because who knows what the cap will be after the new collective bargaining agreement is set in 2011.
And that’s where the Blazers come in. Think about it. They got the bigs (Greg Oden, Joel Przybilla and Marcus Camby), and they use one in a sign-and-trade while preserving the others at center. They got an All-Star forward in LaMarcus Aldridge and a stud guard in Brandon Roy. And then there’s Jerryd Bayless and Andre Miller as additional pieces, and veteran Juwan Howard.
Plus, Portland has some of the most loyal fans, is home to one of the world’s most influential companies in Nike (LeBron’s primary sponsor) and an owner (Paul Allen) who’s one of the richest men in the world and won’t hesitate to spend, network and spend some more.
So, in short, the Blazers can offer The King money and wins.
Portland, welcome to the LeBron race. [Bulls.com]