Episode 260 thank you for listening and reading!
[00:00:00] Dustin Hawes: yeah, that game was dog shit. I mean, this whole week’s been dog shit.
[00:00:22] Dillon Sage: Yes, it has. I’m keeping up to
[00:00:26] Dustin Hawes: the show. All right. Hi, everybody. Welcome to the 260th edition of the holy backboard podcast. I am Dustin here from rainy rip city and I got my man
[00:00:38] Dillon Sage: stage is Smith just got ruled out of the Charlotte game.
[00:00:43] Meaning it’s a big fucking deal because rose year and Melo ball are both out. Meaning Gordon Hayward is going to be the point guard. Meaning I’m going to have way too much. Gordon Hayward. We are recording at 2 25. Normally the time I look at DFS [00:01:00] lineups. So if I sound distracted, it’s because I’m pulling out my remaining hair because of the stupid slate with COVID.
[00:01:08] But you know, I’m going to be the one who ambushes you with the icebreaker question.
[00:01:16] Dustin Hawes: Let’s let’s get
[00:01:17] Dillon Sage: it. All right. And I haven’t really thought of this one for myself, but I’m curious, is there a verse or a song that you can relate to this Portland trailblazers season? Oh my
[00:01:32] Dustin Hawes: God. What’s yours.
[00:01:35] Dillon Sage: So I have to, and again, I put like five minutes of deep thought to this, so it might not be the best, but you know, the song by vibes by sky Zu and Apollo brown.
[00:01:46] Yep. It’s just bad vibes over here. So that was number one. And the number two, I was thinking, and there’s a concept album by master ACE called disposable arts, and one of the [00:02:00] songs he himself. I hadn’t put out an album in six years. So the song’s called dear diary and it’s like all of his thoughts about like, you know, I haven’t put an album on six years.
[00:02:12] I’m I just got diagnosed with Ms. How am I going to put a album together? And it was basically just a song about all, all of his fears, uh, in creating music. So those are my two, just not really the most inspiring songs, but this isn’t really the most inspiring season. So, uh, I, hopefully I, uh, took enough time for you to do a quick Google
[00:02:37] Dustin Hawes: search.
[00:02:38] This, I did do a Google search because I have to get the actual lyric. Correct. But I think this is pretty impressive. Just I had no prior knowledge to this. I only had like the 30 seconds that you gave your answer, but there is probably one of my favorite all time guest appearances. [00:03:00] It’s J rock. He is on Kendrick Lamar’s money trees from good kid mad city.
[00:03:08] And he has a line in that where he says this the last time you might see my ass from the gardens where the grass isn’t cut them, serpents lurking. So I think there’s so much shady shit going on right now in Portland that you don’t know who to believe. The vibes are all, all wrong. You got players who were uninspired.
[00:03:33] You have a coach throwing his team publicly under the bus, and it just feels like we’re finally starting to see what the damage that Neil Shea has left in his wake. Right? The grass is cut and you can see everything. It’s all starting to uncover. And I think there’s more to come. So that that’s my lyric for the season to date.
[00:03:59] If [00:04:00] you
[00:04:00] Dillon Sage: have, uh, we’ll post these songs on our Twitter, wholly back at poli Blackboard, and we can make a nice thread of probably some disappointing and sad song.
[00:04:10] Dustin Hawes: It has been a interesting week in and rip city. Uh, it started on Monday with a loss against the Utah jazz 1 29 to 1 0 7. It was immediately announced that Damian Lillard would be out for it.
[00:04:27] 10 days dealing with, uh, the, the abdominal injury, uh, Portland, the following night continued their home winning streak against the worst team in the Eastern conference. The Detroit pistons winning one 10 to 92. However, the wheels quickly fell off the wagon. Uh, San Antonio came in, ended the 10 game home winning streak, uh, smacked Portland one 14 to 83.
[00:04:54] The following day, Neil Shea was relieved of his duties as general manager due to [00:05:00] violating the code of conduct. And then Saturday, it didn’t get much better as the Boston Celtics put on a Moda center slash rose garden arena record 145 points for an opponent in a 1 45, 1 17 drubbing of the Portland trailblazers dropping Portland to.
[00:05:22] Uh, 11 and 13 on the season, just a game ahead of the Sacramento Kings for the, the last play in spot. Portland is now five and five on the season while bear away record has not improved. Their home record is starting to take a bit of a blemish losing the past two at home. This was supposed to be the time Sage, the blazers were to do all of their damage.
[00:05:47] As we mentioned on last week’s episode, 15 of the next 19, we’re going to be at home. Well, they’ve already played three of those games. Now you were 12 of the next 16 are at home and they’re one in [00:06:00] three or one in two, excuse me. In those home games so far. So Sage winning at home was that the team’s saving grace and now they are not able to do so.
[00:06:11] It could get a little bit rough if they’re not able to stay above water, uh, over this next month or so, but before we get into everything.
[00:06:21] Did you have a good for the week?
[00:06:24] Dillon Sage: Hm, Neil Shay got fired. And I’m just gonna use that one from, uh, two days ago.
[00:06:31] Dustin Hawes: Yeah, we just podcasted about Neil Shay getting fired. I mean, it’s honestly, we’re gonna go really quick through the good, because that’s the only good thing that happened to the franchise this week.
[00:06:42] You know, listeners of this show, we always keep it realistic. If we’re negative, there’s a reason to be negative. If we’re positive, there’s a reason to be positive. It was not a good week in Portland. Um, bottom line, I was looking through the power rankings. ESPN has [00:07:00] us, I believe at 21st. You look at just the struggles this, this team has incurred.
[00:07:07] Uh, Portland has lost five of their last six games. They really haven’t been contests. Uh, the past four defeats have been by 15, 20 to 31 in 28 points. Uh, so there, there hasn’t been a lot of good, so yeah, I’m going to steal your good as well because that’s the only good thing that happened was that Neil will Shay was let go.
[00:07:28] So now we can get into what we probably have more to discuss. What was your bad for the week? Sage?
[00:07:35] Dillon Sage: Just the pitiful way that we’ve been playing. We play, we’re playing some very uninspired basketball and yes, I know about Dame, the sear and being out. And I’ve looked at the, what we’re doing to create orphans with Dennis Smith Jr.
[00:07:53] And CJ. I get it with those players being. It gives opportunity to [00:08:00] players that are struggling to find their footing in the league. And we’re still playing some rather uninspired basketball. So to see, to see how we are playing and the level I, my, my first blazer game of the year was the Celtics game. And to see them fight in the first half and then completely laid down and have the cellblocks do their, an one mixtape versus is not the, uh, the best look for this team.
[00:08:28] And, uh, it’s pretty impressive to completely lose the locker room within 20 games of your
[00:08:34] Dustin Hawes: first coach. What were your thoughts on the Boston Celtics? Basically showing up the trailblazers, Peyton Pritchard hometown kid won four straight state championships at Westland, went to the university of Oregon, played in the final four.
[00:08:48] There one pack, 12 player of the year I got drafted in the first round by the Boston Celtics had been in a bit of a slump. So this is the one time a year. His family gets to see him play. Uh, he’s clearly a, a, a team favorite because they were, [00:09:00] yeah, they were, uh, doing their antics on the bench. I mean, you had Dennis shrewder acting like he’s dead on the ground teams team dragging him.
[00:09:07] I mean, they, they were happy. I would say last year’s Dustin would have been upset this year. I have no problem with it. I’m much more emotionally removed from the team. And then there’s two things I want to convey here. One it’s sports and entertainment. They are having fun there. Their player is out there.
[00:09:28] It’s still, they’re still playing basket. So th they are having fun. That’s the first and foremost thing that they should do just because our team is lifeless on the bench. Does, does it restrict the other team from having a good time? The second thing, if you don’t want them doing it, stop it. Play defense, play with pride.
[00:09:50] That’s it don’t be mad at Boston for stunting on your team, be mad at your team for allowing Boston to stunt on your team. Right? It
[00:09:58] Dillon Sage: was mostly self [00:10:00] expands in the arena. Like we, the fan base, like at the third quarter and the fourth largest mass Exodus of, uh, fans, like we’re not playing that inspired of ball.
[00:10:12] So these fans don’t feel the need to be there till then they want to beat traffic and all that. Like, I have no problem with it also. I didn’t see it cause I was too far up, but like, I didn’t see them stunned. Well, I saw them stunning in the fact that they were like ice, sewing and. Jacking shots and somehow making it.
[00:10:33] But I, I truly it’s like, I’m not going to be offended if my team doesn’t show the, the grit to stop it. Why should I feel like, oh, why should I feel some sort of way when the people that are presenting me,
[00:10:47] Dustin Hawes: aren’t feeling that something. Absolutely. I think there’s so much hypocrisy when it comes from that, because blazer fans loved Zach Collins, bench, bench reactions.
[00:10:57] There’s a whole gift series of him just going [00:11:00] wild for plays when CJ would cross somebody over and leaving him, you know, shook every team. Does it, people just get in their feelings when it happens to their team? Like, just let it go. I would also say the blazer radio broadcast had some big unwritten rule, energy vibes coming from my speakers when I was listening to it.
[00:11:21] And I was just like, you guys got it. Like. Quit taking this to heart, like who cares? They’re out there. The game is still playing play basketball. Like I don’t want to watch you take a knee or run out the shot clock. Everyone’s getting paid, play the game, move on. It’s not that serious. The, your watching grown ass adults put a basketball through a hoop for entertainment.
[00:11:44] Don’t get in your feelings over this. Don’t especially, don’t get in your feelings over this blazer team.
[00:11:50] Dillon Sage: And with that cut Tyrese, maxi is out. This slate is absolutely awful. Anyway, we are here talking about the Portland trailblazers, not [00:12:00] my redoing of 150 lineups. So what’s
[00:12:05] Dustin Hawes: your, my bad for the week. And I did a lot of research on this, so I’m actually really proud of what I’m going to be, uh, discussing here my bad for the week is.
[00:12:20] Rip to the narrative that CJ McCollum can carry a team without Damian Lillard, key keywords there, the narrative, I’m not saying CJ McCollum can’t carry a team without Dame. I’m saying that narrative can now be kind of put to rest. And I went back four years and I looked at the games that CJ played without Damian Lillard and how.
[00:12:46] It kind of went from everyone remembers the first one. So the F it only happened one time in the 2019 season, Portland played Atlanta. Damian was out. CJ had that triple double, the first of his career, 28 points, [00:13:00] 44% from the field, 10 dimes, 10 boards. Everyone remembers that first one. So you have that, that narrative that you can, even as a general manager, you can sell to other teams, CJ, look what he can do without game.
[00:13:12] Clearly, the teams are different. The scenarios of different Portland was actually competitive. They were competing for something. They were playing for something, not
[00:13:24] Dillon Sage: cause they’ve always been a bad defensive team. Cause Trey young was there the, at that time. Yeah. Yeah. They didn’t care about, yeah.
[00:13:32] Dustin Hawes: Dame is super durable. He’s never missed a game while he missed that one. CJ stepped up. As Dave has gotten older, you know, he’s taken time off for first certain games. And then in the 1920 season, there were eight games that Damian Lillard didn’t play in.
[00:13:49] Again, that, that team was not good. But again, we’re talking about narrative here. The blazers went two and six without Damian Lillard. CJ [00:14:00] McCollum had some fantastic performances though individually. So the narrative is still strong there. He got a game against Orlando where he put up 41 points on 14 of 24 shooting in a blazer victory.
[00:14:10] He put up 35 and five and five against the Atlanta in a 12 point loss. He put up 41 again against the pistons. Uh, 50%, 12 assists, nine rebounds, almost another triple double. So in those eight games in the 2020 season, CJ average, 32 and a half points per game on 48% shooting from the field. Eight and a half assists, 5.3, your three rebounds narrative is still incredibly strong.
[00:14:39] Last season four games without Damian Lillard, where CJ McCollum also played two and two record, but you’re starting to see the performance slide just a bit 25.3 points. Average down to 40% shooting, six assists, four and a half rebounds. Didn’t really have a performance over 30 [00:15:00] points in those four contests.
[00:15:02] And then you go this year where I think it’s starting to slip for games one and three record very relevant because most of those games just happened. 22.3 point per game. Average 40% shooting as well. The assists are down to four, three bounds are down to three and a half. So you just even look two years ago, the assists are cut in half.
[00:15:26] The rebounds are down by almost 40%. Again, team matters. Context matters. What’s happening outside of the organization. It all matters. But if you’re talking about narrative, I don’t think you can sell that narrative to other GM’s or the fan base or have that there. And I think CJ is still a similar, talented player.
[00:15:51] Like I don’t think he’s fallen off of this peak. I think what you’re now seeing is a player who kind of feels left as [00:16:00] a scapegoat. I think you’re seeing a player who is kind of tired of hearing the trade rumors. I think you’re seeing a player who probably feels like, and this is just me speculating that Dame kind of left him on an island alone, you know, in the summer when Damian Lillard is saying the roster isn’t good enough.
[00:16:20] We all agree with that. I don’t think it benefited CJ to hear Damien say that publicly because who, who. Is he referring to referring to CJ McCollum? He’s saying, CJ, you are not good enough to be my Robin. Everyone knows that’s true. But when you hear it from your,
[00:16:41] Dillon Sage: yeah. When you hear it be a fat person,
[00:16:43] Dustin Hawes: that’s just like the shit stinks.
[00:16:45] And I think you’re starting to see just like, you know, fuck it. Like, why am I riding for this team anymore? Like th they’re not riding for me. So I just think that that was my bad for the week. I thought that there could have been a positive where [00:17:00] CJ was able to step up and perform how we did to start last season to start this season.
[00:17:06] But he’s kind of slowly regressing and that’s a hard narrative to now sell. Um, especially as the trade deadline comes up. So that was my, my bad for the week.
[00:17:18] Dillon Sage: I recently just tweeted this out because I was very interested in seeing what the blazers do in terms of usage and like, you know, Who’s handling who’s shooting.
[00:17:29] So I posted this on Twitter. Um, it’s basically, uh, what the roster is without Dame ant and the sear on the floor. Uh, CJ is taking a really big step in like being the lead Playmaker and then taking out trend in Wotford use of Dennis Smith, Norman Powell, Cody’s Eller, Ben Macklemore are the leading usage players on this team.
[00:17:55] Without those three players, we are not a deep team. [00:18:00] Yes. It’s NBA players that people probably should know like Cody Zeller, but when you have guys that we’ve traded first round picks for having a. Uh, usage rate of 10 in Larry Nance, having a usage rate of 16 in Robert Covington, not producing rebounds, assists, any other defensive statistics when you’ve had three first round picks for two beds that essentially, and not to be totally mean, but like in terms of production rise, they’re running cardio that, that they’re not playing basketball, they’re running cardio.
[00:18:37] So I get that. The CJ probably can’t be the lead alpha player narrative. Yeah, it’s probably dead, but he can’t do it with guys that are just so underperforming as well.
[00:18:50] Dustin Hawes: Dude, I was watching and you have four of the five players on the court are Cody Zeller, Tony Snell, Ben Macklemore, and Dennis Smith [00:19:00] Jr.
[00:19:00] That’s pretty awful.
[00:19:01] Dillon Sage: That’s God awful. Yeah. You know, their, their names. So Neil Shay was like, okay, they’re on the fringes of the league. I think Cody’s Eller would find a job regardless. He would have found a backup job, but I don’t think Tony Snell would have found a good, uh, uh, rotation spot. I don’t think Ben mapper would have found a spot where is there some games where he could drop 17 points like their names,
[00:19:29] Dustin Hawes: their first round, they all took the minimum contracts.
[00:19:31] Dillon Sage: Exactly. Like, and when you’re taking out a transcendent point guard, a guy that honestly could be in the running for six minutes a year and a high energy wing. That is probably your best rebounder. We’re going to struggle. CJ can only do so much with the roster of this. Awful.
[00:19:53] Dustin Hawes: Exactly. Sage, what is your ugly for the week?
[00:19:57] Dillon Sage: I’m seeing that Chauncey Billups. [00:20:00] How, uh, how bad of a leader he is with the, with seeing how this was the first time he stayed after the game to talk to the guys about them being unmotivated. There’ve been plenty of times and where they didn’t look motivated. And he left that just shows a lack of dedication to the team, a lack of dedication to the first opportunity that he’s gotten and being a coach in this league.
[00:20:25] And there’s only 30 spots for the head man. So to see what Chauncey Billups has done with his first opportunity, it’s kind of like he’s squandering this chance. And I I’ve seen this on Twitter where they’re like, we should put him as the general manager, because that was also something he wanted to do.
[00:20:46] Well, I’m on the side where if he can’t get a minutes rotation straight, I don’t trust them making actual good decisions with the roster. Uh, if you can’t be a coach, you shouldn’t be a general manager. I am not a fan of [00:21:00] failing upwards. If he can’t do it at one spot, you shouldn’t try and give him another job at, in the higher capacity.
[00:21:09] I mean, we, we made the mistake of paying him four or five years of service, but he’s doing more to destroy this team in his 20 games of being the head coach than Terry Stotts did and seven or eight.
[00:21:22] Dustin Hawes: That is my ugly as well. And before I discuss, um, or add to your, to your talking points, I got to say like, I am, I’m sorry, Terry.
[00:21:33] Like I still was on board with letting Terry and Neil go at the end of last year. But I probably gave Terry way too much fault and not enough to Neil Shea. It’s clear now that that Terry was holding all Shay’s roster together with like super glue. Like maybe there was a reason they play drop coverage because it’s a shitty defensive team and it doesn’t matter what, what defensive scheme you throw out [00:22:00] there.
[00:22:00] It’s it’s not good. Portland fell to the last defensive rating in the entire NBA. 114 is the defensive rating. It went down by 1.4 points in four games, which is absolutely ridiculous. You never had Terry,
[00:22:17] Dillon Sage: our defense was held together by string. It wasn’t built on a good foundation. We just duct taped it and put like string through it to make it look like a better, more active defense.
[00:22:28] But when you really look deep into the defense, is it different than what it was in the past? No. And so I, and we’re making it difficult for. The
[00:22:38] Dustin Hawes: dang. I thought nine years was plenty for Terry and I thought time had kind of taken its course it in Portland, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. And that’s what I would say.
[00:22:51] I’m sorry for it, because it was a, the roster is really bad and what I do think Portland, so I’m on board with [00:23:00] Portland needs a new coach, like 110%, a new coach. They need someone who has a lot of Terry’s qualities. They need it. This is the NBA, this isn’t college, this isn’t, this isn’t high school where you need to motivate or where you need to like be a disciplinarian.
[00:23:15] Like Chauncey’s trying to be, these are grown ass men making millions of dollars that don’t really want to be told what to do like a child. Like you really need a coach. That is a, that is not a micromanager that gives them freedom. That, that trust them. Yes, you can hold them accountable. But when.
[00:23:38] Chauncey Billups speaks in the media. And these are both quotes that I got from, from Sean. Heikin. This was from the press conference. After the Boston game, he said, lack of pride. Of course, that bothers me. If that doesn’t bother you, there’s something going on. Sometimes it’s not your night. Cool. It happens.
[00:23:56] There’s a way I’m willing to lose and that’s not the way I’m willing to lose. It [00:24:00] was embarrassing. I’ve never seen a team that needs its bench to inspire our starters. That shit is crazy to me. It’s supposed to be the other way around. There’s a lot to unpack there. Uh, Chauncey, the team starts with you.
[00:24:15] There’s a reason the starters aren’t coming out on with, with their hair on fire and it starts with the hat head, man. That’s you, that’s your problem to deal with? Not, not the starters. Maybe it’s making a coaching change or a personnel change. Maybe it’s switching up the minutes rotations as you’ve alluded to Sage.
[00:24:36] Th this, this is the job you signed up for. Do it, you know, shams put out an article just today that said in recent weeks, sources say Damien has grown frustrated with the teams. Play intention appears to be on the rise between the players and Billups Sage. We are 23, 24 games into the season, and we’re already hearing [00:25:00] these players and Chauncey are coming, you know, to a standoff that that’s crazy to me.
[00:25:11] And there’s been a lot of turnover too. I think the only players that remained from Terry Stotts were, uh, the starting five and NAS and NAS and Norman Powell really only played like two months under Terry Stotts. Yeah. So it’s a, it’s, it’s a brand new fucking team and you’re already losing them.
[00:25:37] Dillon Sage: Yeah, that’s
[00:25:37] Dustin Hawes: insane.
[00:25:39] Get him, get him outta here. Portland needs to start. You need to find someone
[00:25:46] Dillon Sage: there’s a rumor about her being sheep, but we’re paying out a lot of money. And if she’s looking to sell the team, wouldn’t competent management, be a pretty nice feature to have. [00:26:00] Not all press is good press. And as we’re seeing right now, it is a lot of negative stuff about channels believes.
[00:26:06] Wouldn’t it be good to have somebody at the helm of your asset that you’re trying to sell that’s competent and can do the right thing. And it looks better. Like there’s a lot of guys right now. Inspiring players to hit their ceiling where Johnson is trying to get them at their floor. It seems wouldn’t it be a better financial decision to say, let’s get somebody who’ve been inspired.
[00:26:31] These guys, I know that the sunk cost you’ve already spent the money. That is a sunk cost. You’re their billionaire. It’s not like they’re using my money to hire Charleston.
[00:26:44] Dustin Hawes: This isn’t you or my salary or our dollars on the hourly wage. Like, oh, these people are on a completely different planet when it comes to their finances.
[00:26:55] So when I hear people say, oh, they don’t want to pay out that. I’m like, fuck you. If you [00:27:00] have a billionaire with a B pay, pay it out, fix it. Like, I don’t want to hear about your money problems. I don’t want to hear if you’re being cheap. No, you, you inherited this team. If you’re going to keep. Do something about it.
[00:27:13] I mean,
[00:27:14] Dillon Sage: here’s the thing for me, if you’re going to, and this is for Chauncey and Jody Allen, but if you’re going to put on the uniform and participate in this, this league, you should probably give it your all, if you’re at least going to put on the PR the persona of you’re an owner, fucking putting your all.
[00:27:35] And I think that everybody can agree that the blazers aren’t putting in their all. And I think it starts with Chauncey Billups, just poo-pooing everybody in the media, where the fuck do you learn this
[00:27:49] Dustin Hawes: type of manage? It kind of comes across to me as Jason kid. You know, he started, I think he had two jobs, right?
[00:27:56] Brooklyn and Milwaukee. And he left a [00:28:00] lot. He left a sour taste and both franchises, uh, you know, kind of mouths because of how he went about. And we, we read about it in Janice’s book, all of like the mental tactics he was doing, uh, That that’s the risk you roll. That’s the risk you run when you hire a inexperienced head coach and you give them four years plus a team option.
[00:28:21] Like I know everybody was celebrating on Friday when Neil Shay was fired and I definitely was excited to wake up to that news, but I was walking to get coffee the next day with Alda. And I was kind of just talking to her about it. And I was like, it’s beyond like dysfunctional that Jody Allen Burt cold and the Vulcans allowed Neil Shea, who was apparently on thin ice at the time.
[00:28:48] I mean, he had to have been, I mean, this, I don’t think these code of conduct come out of nowhere. You allow him to make a franchise altering decision in hiring a head coach. Like you don’t want to run through head [00:29:00] coaches. Those are, those are big ordeals. You allow him to do that autonomous. Uh, and he picks his guy, the one with the most baggage and the least experience.
[00:29:11] And then about four months after that higher you’re booting Neil O’Shay out the door in what realm of existence does that make any,
[00:29:20] Dillon Sage: since if the example of incompetent management, I remember David Stearns saying the same shit about new Orleans and Dell downs. We’re worse right now than Dell them’s and the NBA owned new Orleans Hornets.
[00:29:37] There’s no doubt in my mind that this team, right this second is in a worse spot than that team. At least there was some basketball mind in charge right now with that team. This is just like, we’ve lost all semblance of a leadership or anything like that. This is the, this team is in a very [00:30:00] rough spot and they need to handle stuff with the.
[00:30:04] With the care that it deserves, um, with this general manager search
[00:30:10] Dustin Hawes: prior to the season starting, I thought four things had to happen. I thought McGowan had to leave. I thought O’Shea had to leave. I wanted Jody to sell the team and I thought they needed to remove Chauncey Billups and start over. Like this era has just been completely tainted.
[00:30:25] It’s starting to get toxic and rotten, like two of the four have, have taken shape. Portland really needs. To continue to remove that, that bandaid. And this was almost my bad for the week, but I kind of wanted to go in more of a, of a basketball on the court direction, but there’s so much paranoia from blazer fans.
[00:30:45] Whenever I bring up selling the team’s like, oh, well be careful what you wish for. They’re gonna move. I mean, my, my mom’s done it. My, my friend, Matt’s done it. People on Twitter. It’s just like, there’s just this paranoia from being in Portland where it’s a small market and you [00:31:00] automatically assume that if you put a team up for sale, they’re going to move.
[00:31:04] I’ve been a fan since I was five years old, that was in 1998. So that’s how far I am dated. There have been more expansions. I think there were like six. Then there have been relocations. There’ve been four and that’s even including Charlotte who got a team back there. Hasn’t been a relocation since, uh, 2008.
[00:31:23] When Seattle went to Oklahoma city. There Portland is signed the rose garden Moda center, whatever you call it is leased to the city through 20, 26 prior to this season, it’s it be? Attendance has been top of the, in the top of the league. Portland is a basketball town. You want that as, as a franchise or as a league, you don’t want to continue to go into markets where the NBA might be the third or fourth ticket in town in Portland prior to this year, it’s been, it’s been the ticket.
[00:31:56] They, they, we are a one horse town in, in Portland. [00:32:00] They’re not going to move like, are you really going to go as a, as an organization or as, as a league and not have any sort of reputation or team in a whole entire region? Like the Pacific Northwest is huge.
[00:32:18] Dillon Sage: Exactly. And that’s why like, stern, wasn’t going to let the Gulf coast not have a team where you really thinking that.
[00:32:26] The Pacific Northwest with Seattle and Portland, not going to have a team that’s real, that would be really shortsighted management of the league. Then there needs to be representative of the region and probably too. So if the Pacific north was going to add a team, I would get it, but to subtract a team to go where Vegas, it doesn’t make sense.
[00:32:52] And there’s less, there’s lower performing teams. Like I get that. I totally get the, uh, [00:33:00] the worrying about like where your franchise is going to be. But if you’ve have faith in the NBA, then you shouldn’t really worry about it because of the regionality LA doesn’t need a third team, or, you know what I’m saying?
[00:33:16] Like California doesn’t need a sixth theme. The Pacific Northwest needs a team,
[00:33:22] Dustin Hawes: a new team either say just to the team that’s with history. MBA family for 52 years. So I, I, I just, I don’t see it. I think in
[00:33:33] Dillon Sage: cell two competent ownership, that’s willing to make the team, the, uh, the, the, the Pearl of the Northwest, like sell to someone who wants to make this team a bigger part of the community.
[00:33:48] Of course, there’s the negatives, you know, if they sell the team, there’s always potential negatives, but don’t let the potential negatives outweigh the positives of, you know, having [00:34:00] somebody that’s hungry that wants to build the championship and tender. We’ve been dealing with mediocrity for a long time and I get it making the playoffs is comfortable, but don’t, you want to at least be competent and competitive for a Damian Lillard.
[00:34:17] Prime and the inevitable regression, if you’re wanting to keep Dame, you gotta make them happy. And it’s obvious that these 13 players, aren’t happy with who’s in the, uh, the head coaching position and, and it’s, it’s Jody Alan’s fault for letting the
[00:34:36] Dustin Hawes: all right Sage, before we, we have, uh, quite a few fan questions.
[00:34:39] So before we get into those, I just wanted to get your thoughts. So obviously today with the report from shams about all Shea, possibly, or not all Shea Billups, possibly already being, uh, at odds with the rest of his roster, uh, there was [00:35:00] also the big nugget in there was that Damian Lillard wants to play with Ben Simmons.
[00:35:06] Ben Simmons reportedly liked that, that Instagram post, uh, What does that framework look like? It’s been reported that the blazers have offered Dame, a young player in a pic that was then reported to be countered by Maury where or not Dame. CJ, a young player in a pic. Maury was like, no, we need CJ. Three picks, three picks swaps.
[00:35:30] Uh, Portland has an interim GM at the moment in Joe Cronin. If Portland were to get Ben Simmons, I know you’re not the biggest fan of that. Move one. Tell me why, but then two, if it does happen, what do you comfortable paying to get Ben Simmons in Portland?
[00:35:49] Dillon Sage: Six years games, because for the last few years where, because, uh, they usually are the first game of the night.
[00:35:56] Um, so if you God damn it. Or [00:36:00] Marta Rosen’s out. Sorry. That was a little too loud. Um, So I don’t like Ben Simmons because there, it takes a lot for him to get motivated. I think he’s one of the most talented guys in the league, but there’s that mentality issue that is going to rear its ugly head as a person.
[00:36:20] He doesn’t have the mentality of like those star alpha players that you, you want to have on your team. So talent wise, I think it’s fine. I mean like the shootings going to always be a factor, but you can negate that by getting a better shooting five or better shooters around him. But it’s basically the, the, the, uh, attitude and mentality, not the
[00:36:44] Dustin Hawes: actual player.
[00:36:45] And then what, what would you be comfortable paying? So let’s say that you’re, you’re the GM Jody’s like you have to get this deal done. You have to get us Ben Simmons. What, what’s the what’s the price you’re paying is shelter
[00:36:58] Dillon Sage: coach.
[00:36:59] Dustin Hawes: [00:37:00] Unfortunately.
[00:37:00] Dillon Sage: Okay. Then use has gone, uh, uh, throw Robert Covington. I throw CGM a column.
[00:37:07] Um, we don’t really have picks, so I guess it’d have to be future picks. I would do to enough swap, but I need to get a shooting center somehow. So I would want to make it a three team trade and, you know, try and make it happen because I just, I you’ve got to have a certain construction for Ben Simmons for him to be his most optimized.
[00:37:34] So I think that this trade is going to be a lot more complicated than you and I are really thinking it’s probably a three or
[00:37:41] Dustin Hawes: 14 trade. Absolutely. I think so. One of my. Uh, pleasures has been watching secret base on YouTube and they go through and they document a lot of history across many sports. And one of the histories was with the Cleveland Cavaliers [00:38:00] and one of their owners slash GM’s was Ted stipend.
[00:38:03] And this dude, if you, if you familiar with the, the stipend rule, it’s, you can’t trade consecutive first round picks. Yeah. Your own. And that was because this dude just kept shelling him out and he’s like, I don’t care. Well, and this guy would just throw them away, like nobody’s business just for a quick high, so to speak, like, you know, like, let’s, let’s win now, let’s do this.
[00:38:24] And I’ve seen so many people that are just like, yeah, do whatever it takes. Let’s get Ben Simmons. I don’t care if we’re paying, you know, three picks or whatnot. And in the back of my mind, I’m like we’re coming off of a, ten-year where our GM spent five picks on Zach Collins, Larry Nance, Jr. And Robert Covington.
[00:38:42] There’s a reason the assets. Is on empty. It is scot-free, there’s nothing in there. We have nothing to offer teams. Essentially we have Missy or little is the last first round pick still on roster. And he was picked in, um, 2019. [00:39:00] I would be very cautious. I, I get that. You want to keep Damien the lid happy I get the Ben Simmons helps improve the defense.
[00:39:09] My, my best offer is CJ Covington. And one pick swap. We, we don’t ha you can’t because we already, oh, Cleveland, our first round pick this year, lottery protected. So to even make a trade, you’d have to say, Hey Cleveland, we’re going to unprotect that pick for you, which is probably going to be middle of the pack.
[00:39:31] I mean, it’s going to be a damn good pitch. Um, and then you’re going to like, how, how else do small market teams with no cap space get better draft picks. So then you’re going to really bank on the fact that Damien Lillard and Ben Simmons are going to be good enough to compete for an NBA championship.
[00:39:49] Because if you go in for Ben SIM, as you don’t do it just to be relevant, you don’t do it just to win a series or two, you do it to try to be true NBA championship contenders. And you just [00:40:00] can’t do that if you don’t have any other way to improve the roster. So that that’s the most I would, I would give up.
[00:40:08] Like, I, I think I understand the desire of blazer fans wanting to win with Damian Lillard. But if you sell the farm for the next five years and you don’t even sniff a championship, I mean, Portland’s going to be in a, a bad.
[00:40:27] Dillon Sage: Like how bad would take like 10 years
[00:40:30] Dustin Hawes: rebuilding is going to take 10 years. And that’s when you could probably start worrying about the team moving is if it takes that long and you have no picks and you’ve got no star.
[00:40:39] I mean Brooklyn was able to stay relevant because they’re in Brooklyn, but they were still terrible. After that Kevin Garnett trade, it took
[00:40:46] Dillon Sage: and Brooklyn versus
[00:40:48] Dustin Hawes: Portland. Exactly it, the reason Brooklyn is where they’re at now. Sean Marks is a fantastic GM. However, Sean Marks had no recollection that Kevin Duran was going to sign with them.
[00:40:58] He found, he was like, oh cool, Kevin Durant’s [00:41:00] signing with us. There was no recruiting pitch. He was like, yeah, Katie and Kyrie that they’re coming over. And then, uh, Harden’s going to want to come out, um, to play with Katie and Kyrie. And th that’s how that team was built. I mean, he, he was doing a good job, but it was accelerated because of the market.
[00:41:15] He was in.
[00:41:16] Dillon Sage: You gotta be calm like Chris, Paul, wasn’t going to go to Phoenix if they suck. So you have to be some level of competency for good players to think maybe Portland is the place for me and this wasn’t going to come to Portland. If we were struggling that year
[00:41:31] Dustin Hawes: long story short, I would take Simmons.
[00:41:34] I think you have to. I think if I’m Jody Allen. The number one priority. I’m talking to my GMs, replenish the draft capital. You really can’t do anything without young assets and draft capital. That’s what these teams with, with good players that want out. That’s what they want. No offense to CJ McCollum, but teams aren’t kicking down the door for 30 year old shooting guard.
[00:41:57] With two year $60 million left on his [00:42:00] contract. That’s not going to make a bad team, better, bad teams with good players want picks in young talent on rookie deals. And Portland does not have either so that that’s, I’m taking the somewhat longer approach. I just, I don’t know how, I don’t know how much Ben Simmons improves this team.
[00:42:21] Sage. I don’t know if he makes us a championship contender. And I think if you’re going to throw, picks and do a deal, it has to be. Uh, Tyler been intending move. They can’t
[00:42:28] Dillon Sage: be Mr. Lineup look like, like who would, you would have just be Benson and back does that
[00:42:33] Dustin Hawes: work? That’s that’s the thing. So if you make that trade, you have Dame Powell, NAS, Ben, and use of near kitsch, Zeller, Nance.
[00:42:43] Dillon Sage: not
[00:42:43] Dustin Hawes: much different. Exactly. You have to make two more moves at least to what you want it. And you’re not going to be able to upgrade from use of cuts without attaching a pick. So where, where are these picks that are coming from? I keep seeing, oh, [00:43:00] CJ and picks for Ben Simmons and NERC and picks for Christian Wood.
[00:43:04] You can’t magically make all of these draft picks come out of nowhere. Like I think blazer fans are probably, probably just now starting to get a realization that this is the damage that Neil O’Shay left in his wake. Like th it’s it’s troublesome to, to be honest, when you actually look at it, this isn’t too.
[00:43:24] The damage has been done. It’s going to take a while to fix it. And that’s just kind of the state of rip city at, at the moment. Are you ready to get into these fan questions, Sage? Absolutely. All right. I think we’ve got, uh, the first one I want to get to is from, uh, Brandon Goldner. He says the blazers defense is currently 30th in the NBA, according to cleaning the glass who [00:44:00] is to blame
[00:44:01] Dillon Sage: everybody, but Chauncey Billups and the defensive coordinator the most, I think they, they put these players in six situations where they don’t fully succeed.
[00:44:13] Like, look what Robert Covington has become. He is calling card is defense, and we’re not putting him in the place where his defense would put be the, uh, most optimized or the most efficient. So I think it starts with Chauncey Billups and Roy Rogers, but it goes down to the players as well, because they’re obviously not motivated to play hard.
[00:44:34] So, you know, they’re not putting in the effort the second and third efforts that great teams are, but I think it starts
[00:44:42] Dustin Hawes: at the head. I know it’s human nature for human beings to want to place blame on one sole object or person and, you know, cast them as the scapegoat. There is no scapegoat here, there, there there’s [00:45:00] blame to be, to be passed around across the board.
[00:45:03] Um, if you want to start from the top down, it goes to the ownership. They allowed Neil Shea to really. An unintended too. And they left him to do his own thing and he continued to draft and sign six, four guards and trot out, you know, whether it was Terry Stotts or Chauncey Billups, trot out a small lineup that is unbalanced and not known for defense.
[00:45:28] I think the blame can go to the coaching staff where, you know, things aren’t working, uh, Make Robert Covington into a point of attack defender. That’s not his specialty. I think you need to get a little bit more creative. Um, clearly looking at the size is an issue, you know, watching the Boston game, you have Norman Powell on Jason Tatum.
[00:45:48] I mean, that’s just a terrible matchup, but that that’s not putting norm in a position to succeed. Um, you look at the blazers themselves, the players have to take some [00:46:00] of the blame, like they’re, they’re not motivated. Um, the slow starts have been killer that this past week you’ve got Boston or you’ve got San Antonio going up six oh, in the first minute.
[00:46:10] I mean, they hit three of their first five threes and that kind of set the tone. And then Boston starts the game 14 for 15. I mean, they led 38 to 23 after the first quarter. And this isn’t the first time all year. We’ve seen a slow start for Portland. I mean, they, they came back against Chicago, but even at home, there have been blemishes on, on the record.
[00:46:32] You look at at Damian Lillard. Like I think he has to take some of the blame too. He has been so loyal to his guys that it’s kind of allowed to get to this point where you’re paired together with a small back court mate, you don’t play great defense yourself. Everyone takes some blame. And that that’s kind of where I’m at here.
[00:46:54] Like it’s, it’s been a bad defense. It’s continued to be a bad defense. [00:47:00] I think it’s even more embarrassing this year. When you, when you figure that that Neil made so many changes to the bench where everyone was like it’s cancer and mellow, you can’t play them together. That’s what’s causing the defense to be terrible.
[00:47:11] He spends a first round pick to get Larry Nance science, Cody Zeller. And he’s like, okay, this should be better. Higher Chauncey Billups, who supposedly, you know, has a demons in his DNA and they’re just as bad. And the team’s been up until this point even more healthy than they were last year. So it’s, it’s just embarrassing that defense in port.
[00:47:31] Has been the buzzword for the past two to three years. And it just, it doesn’t get better. And I think everyone has a part to play in that it’s
[00:47:42] Dillon Sage: everybody deserves the blame for that. I would say people think that use of NERC is the reason we suck now. And I would argue he’s the reason that we’re competent defensively or not like not the
[00:47:55] Dustin Hawes: all-time worst top of that next question from, uh, [00:48:00] blazers down under says, what direction can we expect the construction of the blazer roster to take?
[00:48:07] Is it dependent on who becomes the permanent GM? Love your work guys? Well, thank you. I appreciate that. I’ll let you take the first part of that question. Sage, what direction do you think the roster is going to go? Do you think it is dependent on who
[00:48:19] Dillon Sage: becomes the GM? I think it’s dependent on who becomes the GM and what Damian Lillard thinks.
[00:48:25] It wouldn’t like if name’s not in it, why are we trying to get Ben Simmons and trade every bit of draft capital that we have, and we’re very, you know, poor in terms of draft assets. So I think the first thing that potential general manager needs to do is figure out what Dane wants to do and either do right by Dame either by keeping him in Portland happy or getting him to a place where he can succeed.
[00:48:53] So that that’s what
[00:48:55] Dustin Hawes: the GM should do. Yeah. I think it’s definitely based upon [00:49:00] who who’s the GM like the GM of any franchise. Is is the architect they’re there. Their fingerprints can be found all over the roster. Every GM has their own quirks in terms of what they value and what they don’t, I will say in terms of roster construction.
[00:49:15] So the, uh, the path that I would go. I think you really need to start to find more two way players. I think you need to find more size. I think you need to find players who you don’t have to coach up. Like the energy is not an issue where you know what you’re going to get on a nightly basis. Uh, I’ve been doing a lot of research watching the 19 90, 91 trailblazers for an upcoming throwback podcast.
[00:49:41] And just watching that unit and spoiler alert, both games were against the Chicago bulls, watching that unit, how they were so connected and what they wanted to make Michael Jordan do. They didn’t allow him to get to a spot. Everyone was on a string. They were so connected. They were [00:50:00] communicating, they followed the game plan.
[00:50:02] And you just look at that roster where you had your scores, you had your hustlers, you had your defenders and you had players who knew their roles off of the bench players too, who were to bring their energy Portland right now. I think they have a handful of those attributes. You know, you’ve gotten a, your little, who’s starting to fill into that Energizer hustler player got Anthony Simons who knows his role off of the bench.
[00:50:30] But I would say that Norma pal doesn’t know his role, I would say Robert Covington’s, it doesn’t know his role. I would say use of neurocircuitry doesn’t know his role and Damon CJ know their role, but they don’t compliment one. Another Dame knows his role fully. Yeah. But I think with the coaching change there, there’s just there have, hasn’t been clear cut directives as to what is expected and how they’re going to achieve their goals.
[00:50:55] So that, that would be the first thing I, even before I talked to Dane, because [00:51:00] if, like you said, I agree if Dame wants in, you go, if they wants out, you go that direction either, but in either way you need either short-term success or long-term long-term success. And that comes with a balanced roster that probably has a history of playing well, With, with another good squat like you, when we got buck Williams, we knew what we were going to get from buck.
[00:51:23] You got Danny Ainge, you knew what you were going to get from Danny. Ainge playing on that 86 championship Celtics seem like he knew his role. He knew what he was going to do. I just think there needs to be more communication. And that’s how I would build the roster around whether it’s more young players, if they wants out or more veteran players, if Dame wants in.
[00:51:41] But there has to be a clear cut direction. There has to be some balance. And you also, and I know in today’s society of instant gratification, whatever direction you choose, you have to let it at least marinate a bit like when I watched those blazer teams, that [00:52:00] connectivity didn’t happen overnight.
[00:52:01] Drexler had been with the team since 83 Porter, 85 Kersey 84, uh, Duckworth 86. I mean only cliff, but in age or semi recent edition. Yeah, the foundation was already there. Portland, I feel like they’re trying to do, they’re trying to almost like remodel a house that has shaky foundation. They got to figure out that foundation first and then they can move forward to all of the vanity appeal of it.
[00:52:33] Next question from rip village. Do you think there’s an actual trademark that for CJ, that a new GM might participate in, or do you think this was something that OSHA never actually explored follow up? Do you see the new GM actually sending out picks usually a new GM wants to retain or rebuild their powder keg?
[00:52:55] Dillon Sage: Well, we don’t know. I really have the pics to send out. [00:53:00] So I think dependent on what the, uh, the, the step of. Damian Lillard it, that determines a lot. So whatever that is, it’s either gaining assets or going all in. It’s one of those two. So, you
[00:53:20] Dustin Hawes: know, and I think to the first part of the question, I think the market’s dwindling on CJ.
[00:53:28] I don’t think Neil O’Shay actively explored it. I think he could maybe tell his buddy Jason quick. Yeah. I offered CJ and nothing else for Ben Simmons or I offered CJ for Anthony Davis, but I don’t think he actively tried to trade CJ for Paul George. It was actually reported, it was three picks in anybody but Dame, CJ and NERC.
[00:53:50] Dillon Sage: I knew that now though.
[00:53:52] Dustin Hawes: Oh God. Yes. But I, I don’t think I don’t want, I don’t think he actively tried to trade CJ. That’s his guy. [00:54:00] Found traffic, right? His first true draft pick. He wanted that to succeed. Like, as I mentioned before, GM’s have their fingerprints all over a roster and you know, if Neil Shay was going to win, he was going to do it with, with Damon, CJ.
[00:54:14] Like those were his guys, especially CJ. But to the more interesting aspect of this question and do I think there’s an actual trademark it for CJ. Yes. With a caveat blazer fans, aren’t really going to like what the return is going to be underwhelming it’s in your mind in blazer fans, mind, it’s going to be severely underwhelming.
[00:54:35] You’re not going to get an all-star in return. It’s just, it’s not going to happen. Guard play at the NBA level across the 30 teams is at an all time high. Like I’ve been watching basketball in the NBA over 30 years. Like I can’t remember guard play being this dynamic across so many teams to that point.
[00:54:56] CJ has also. 30 years old. So you [00:55:00] can almost cancel out half of the teams that are trying to rebuild. He still makes a lot of money. So it’s hard to make salaries match up what Portland needs is a big, usually you don’t trade big for small, if you’re in a or you don’t. Yeah. You don’t treat big or small if you’re, if you’re the opposing GM.
[00:55:17] So it’s incredibly difficult. It’s why a Ben Simmons deal makes sense. If you’re able to just do CJ and the Covington, because you get your big, you get the market for CJ. Like I, I just don’t know how many teams are actively out there, Dallas, maybe, but with new Orleans Dallas with, I don’t think new Orleans is a destination though.
[00:55:40] I mean, are they really trying to take on 30 million for CJ? And
[00:55:44] Dillon Sage: I’m trying to think of teams that had don’t have a guard as good as CJ.
[00:55:49] Dustin Hawes: No, I think New York is up there, but
[00:55:53] Dillon Sage: I mean, they’re the Campbell Walker.
[00:55:55] Dustin Hawes: I don’t want anybody from the Knicks. Um, who would the
[00:55:59] Dillon Sage: Knicks be [00:56:00] willing to get Alec Burks than a first?
[00:56:04] Dustin Hawes: I, yeah, I, I don’t know. Um, you want to have
[00:56:07] Dillon Sage: all that OB topping?
[00:56:09] Dustin Hawes: I would, yeah. I mean, if that’s, but I don’t think they’re going to do that. Uh, they signed Evan fornia. Um, I don’t think that that, that, that fits, um, you look Chicago, they just added a bunch of guards in the off season. I mean, they’re, it’s so hard in today’s NBA, especially in the feast or famine MBA.
[00:56:27] When you have teams rebuilding at an all time high, it’s just not a rebuilding piece. Unfortunately it’s a win now piece. But it’s, it’s, it’s difficult. I still think Dallas is that best fit even though they, but they did just resign Tim Hardaway Jr. And brunch.
[00:56:44] Dillon Sage: Brunson’s good. Yep. A much better. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands, like a CJ would, do you think that yeah, Ellis
[00:56:53] Dustin Hawes: would be pretty tough defensively like Luca and CJ on the perimeter.
[00:56:59] That’s that’s [00:57:00] not a recipe.
[00:57:01] Dillon Sage: And how much would Luca negatively affect CJ?
[00:57:05] Dustin Hawes: Yes, the ball in their hands. I honestly, I don’t think they have the, the trade capital to get it done, especially after showing out so much for Paul, George. I think the team Portland is going to see next. The Clippers is probably the best destination.
[00:57:19] You have Kauai. You have Paul George. They can make up for any deficiencies, the back courts where they need the most help. So would
[00:57:25] Dillon Sage: it be Reggie Jackson?
[00:57:28] Dustin Hawes: I don’t want anything they could offer back. Say I was just putting out a destination, but I think CJ would fit in best. It’s tough. I mean, I don’t want anything from the Clippers that they would offer.
[00:57:38] Nope. So that, again, that’s that’s the whole Portland is in right now. Like they, they waited too long to make this move and now the value wasn’t there and it’s harder to sell a franchise, like, okay, see, in Houston, they’re not going to trade for what, what are the CDs just going to add them meaningless wins that they [00:58:00] don’t want.
[00:58:02] Dillon Sage: Yeah. I mean, and do the same thought exercise for
[00:58:05] Dustin Hawes: use of it’s just as difficult. Um, so cause I, I thought that was a very interesting question.
[00:58:13] Dillon Sage: Trying to play for $5 million uses, I mean, the way Neil shades hype him up for the last six years, it’s like, he’s the third. Well, third options usually get paid a lot of money, but because of how tall and big he is, you can find a center that’s 80% is good for him for 10, 15% of the cost.
[00:58:40] Dustin Hawes: Last question, Sage it’s from app placed under score 42 47. And I’m going to, since we don’t know who the GM is, I’m going to phrase it a little bit differently. What is the first move you would make if you became GM fire, Chauncey Billups and the [00:59:00] person on the court wise? Because yes, I agree.
[00:59:06] Dillon Sage: I will try my best to find some place that thinks Robert Covington would bring them over the, uh, the edge and try and get a first round pick out of it.
[00:59:14] And I’d probably do the same for Larry Nance. I just think the Robert Covington’s playing awful. So it’s the coaching. He just don’t get along. So I’d want to get an asset for him. Um, so I think Robert Covington had been trying to explore a trade to actually get better would be my second. If that was what Dame wanted.
[00:59:41] Dustin Hawes: I think the first move I would look to do is you have to see what you can get for Covington and Turkish because of their contract status. You cannot let them walk and get nothing in return. I don’t care if you’re getting second round picks like you ha you have to get something without taking on additional salary.[01:00:00]
[01:00:02] Another question I want to propose to you and I I’ve seen it brought up and I think it makes sense, especially how we’re talking about Jody Allen’s pocket books. Portland’s $3 million over the luxury. Jody Allen is probably not going to want to pay luxury tax for a sub 500 team with, with no chance at really going anywhere.
[01:00:21] Sage, how are the blazers going to get under the salary cap without the luxury tax, without real enticement of pics to say, Hey team a, can you take on three, $3 million extra in salary? Like usually you have to sweeten the pot. I don’t know really what Portland could do.
[01:00:45] Dillon Sage: I mean, wasn’t there that rumor that they’re going to trade ant to get under the luxury tax.
[01:00:50] Dustin Hawes: I mean, and right now it’s like,
[01:00:54] Dillon Sage: he’s, they don’t really have these better than that though. So it’s like, damn
[01:00:58] Dustin Hawes: like you honestly, like, so [01:01:00] if we look at the roster right now, I’m on ESPN trade machine. The only players that if you just traded them and got nothing. Portland only has seven of those guys, Dame, CJ norm after the 15th norm Roco, if Larry and aunt, those are the only players making over $3 million that you would have to just like, say here’s a free, free player.
[01:01:24] We’re under the luxury tax. So hypothetically in any Covington trade, you could only take back. I mean, then you’re trying to, to make the deals work. It’s going to get really tricky, trying to get underneath the luxury tax. If that is an objective of Jody Allen, the one good news is Joe Cronin, who started out as an intern in 2006 has kind of worked his way up, mastered the salary cap.
[01:01:50] He’s probably got a plan in place, but is
[01:01:53] Dillon Sage: he going to be the one.
[01:01:57] Dustin Hawes: I mean, he might have to, if you’re, if they’re going to take a while on [01:02:00] this general manager search, and if, if the, if, uh, how lengthy it took to relieve Neil of his duties is India. And any indication it’s going to be a drawn out process. So I think you have to give Cronin at least some autonomy to, to make a move.
[01:02:16] And I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I can foresee that happening where they are trying to get under the luxury tax. And it’s going to be difficult because other teams may not be able to, like, it’s going to be hard to find that partner. You don’t really have a lot of draft picks to make it happen.
[01:02:36] Uh, um,
[01:02:36] Dillon Sage: so it’s going to be an underwhelming trade for like, people are going to think of that. We’re getting ripped off. If that’s a, like we’re trading Robert Covington for Lankan a second round pick.
[01:02:50] Dustin Hawes: I will say if they move ant just to get into the three tax, I think you’ll see, you’ll probably not see anybody at the, at the next game.
[01:02:59] Like I think [01:03:00] that’s ant has been one of the bright spots of this season and to just be that cheap to, to be Frank is ridiculous. Like
[01:03:09] Dillon Sage: George Shinn levels of cheap. I got, uh, a question from Catherine, what do you think the source of the chemistry slash heart issues are? We saw glimpses last year. There’s gotta be something happening that we are totally unaware of.
[01:03:24] Dustin Hawes: That is such a fantastic question. And it’s something that I spend way too long thinking about just in my free time or, you know, I work from home so I can, I can type fucking talk to myself all the time. Like what’s what’s going on or how they can improve. I’ve seen some theories. Um,
[01:03:45] part of it could be that this group. Not as an entirety, but the Dame, CJ NERC core has been together for about five years now. And I wouldn’t say they’ve had any real success. I, yes, they made it [01:04:00] to the Western conference finals, but getting swept really, it doesn’t negate that, but I wouldn’t say that’s any true success.
[01:04:07] And they’ve always just seemed to have a setback, whether it was an injury to NERC the injuries to Zack. I mean, what they’re going through that the pandemic hit and then just the salary cap with Neil basically, which blew up that 2019 team for no other reason than we didn’t have the money to do it. I think there’s just the realization and I.
[01:04:31] Liken it to the Houston rockets situation last year, where I think it was after they played back-to-back games against the Los Angeles, Lakers were huge. Like we’re not good enough. And he was at the time wanting out and he said it and he got, he got his wish he was traded. I think there’s a distinct, I think there’s a definite realization from the people on the team that like, we’re not good enough.
[01:04:52] We’re not going to win. They don’t expect to win. And when you really don’t expect to compete and [01:05:00] you don’t have, you don’t have a team that’s known as a bunch of scrappers, like there’s not a bunch of Tony Allen’s or Durham currencies, or Gerald Wallaces on this teams that like, are really gonna like, okay, regardless of how we feel going into it, we are gonna play our asses off.
[01:05:15] That, that just that breed of player is pretty rare. And I don’t think Portland has one on the roster. So when you don’t have that there, you don’t really feel like you’re being supported by your head coach. You, you add all that up and it’s just like, like Rashid said, just got the check. Let’s just go out there.
[01:05:32] We’ll play. And I think that’s what you’re seeing. Like, they’re, they’re getting embarrassed. They’re not coming out quick. They’re slow starts, especially on the road. They get punched in the mouth once and then they call it quits. It’s a team that I think has finally realized the, the credits have come to an end.
[01:05:51] It’s time to, to move on to another destination. I said it a couple of weeks. It’s the stale, the, the [01:06:00] stale blazers. And I think the players can feel that too. And so when you, when you don’t truly, when you’re an older player, especially like when you’re young, you’re trying to compete for that second contract, right?
[01:06:10] Like you’re trying to prove, like I want a max deal or, or I’m gonna, you know, try and get this the second contract and set myself up. When you have a bunch of players who have 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years in the league, Those are vets. They want no part of a rebuilding process. They want to go in and they want to win.
[01:06:31] And when you just don’t feel it, they’re there. That’s just, that’s kind of like human nature. It’s, it’s almost reminiscent of the lockout shortened team in 2012, when Portland was starting a bunch of vets, a little bit past their prime. You know, you talking about Ray Felton, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, Jamal Crawford, and you didn’t really have, she didn’t really have that spark.
[01:06:57] And Nate McMillan lost that [01:07:00] team and there was a bit of a mutiny and it just, it’s amazing how quick things can turn from bad to worse to downright sour. And I think right now the blazers are an expired milk cartons, just sitting in the fridge, waiting for someone to toss them out. But right now they’re just, they’re in there.
[01:07:14] It’s sour and fans are taking a gulp every time, every time they watch this team play. And I think getting a new GM as is. Deb, but I don’t think that really impacts the players that much. I think the Billups thing is something I didn’t, even as someone who wasn’t an anti Billups hire person, I didn’t see this happening.
[01:07:36] I, I think his coaching style is, is rubbing players the wrong way as well. And so they’re, they’re probably thinking like Dame doesn’t think we’re good enough coaches and asshole. We’re not winning. Like what the fuck?
[01:07:49] Dillon Sage: Why do I have to try hard for a guy who doesn’t
[01:07:51] Dustin Hawes: care about all been at jobs where we’ve kind of coasted.
[01:07:53] We still get paid. It’s it’s no different in the NBA. Just to guys, you, you put on a Jersey and everybody watches you perform. [01:08:00] I just think just like, there’s not one scapegoat. There’s not one reason. It’s just, everything’s just manifesting. And the vibes are just, there’s a dark cloud still around the blazers.
[01:08:13] Dillon Sage: It’s it’s stagnant. I mean, we’ve had the same star players as the coaches different, but. We’re not getting anything tangibly different from the team. So it’s kind of like we’re in a stagnant place. Let’s perform if we win. That’s awesome. If that’s, if we don’t it’s I,
[01:08:33] Dustin Hawes: I think you’re probably seeing a little bit of that from, from Dame as well.
[01:08:37] Like I don’t, like I’ve said that he deserves like some blame, like, I don’t think he’s a bad player or a bad person, or what he’s frustrated. Like any person in his shoes would be frustrated. He’s a top 10 player on this league. He hasn’t played as an all-star in seven seasons. He hasn’t been dealt the same hand that his peers have been dealt with and he’s, he’s been loyal.
[01:08:58] He’s wanting to win. [01:09:00] And he just keeps getting these around the edge ass moves like Cody Zeller or Larry Nance. And he’s like, this isn’t good enough. And so I think you’re starting to see the tensions with Dame start to come to a boil. Like he he’s been vocal. He’s said, okay, like maybe in, in private, that’s not working.
[01:09:19] I got to go. Well going public didn’t work and it may have alienated CJ McCollum a bit. So like, I think Dame’s kind of at his wit’s end. Like I don’t want to leave, but y’all are pushing me out. Like, what are you going to do? Like how much more can I give to you? I’m going to be 32 years old. I can’t put up with this shit anymore.
[01:09:40] And so I think when your superstar is on edge, it trickles down as well. It’s just, it’s that, that’s what I mean by Neil. She just left this pile of garbage in his wake. Like it’s, it’s really gonna take a while to fix the, the, just the absolute [01:10:00] disaster that he left behind.
[01:10:06] Dillon Sage: All right. You want to talk about the games for this this week?
[01:10:10] Dustin Hawes: Yeah, let’s quickly go through the schedule. Uh, it is a somewhat short week in Portland tonight. They play the Los Angeles Clippers for the fourth and final time in Portland. They make a quick pit stop in golden state to take on the warriors on Wednesday, which I believe will be nationally televised.
[01:10:28] And then they get a four day break where they take on the upstart, Minnesota Timberwolves at home to continue off their home stand Sage. Uh, we’ve seen this Clippers team. It’s the fourth time without Dame though. I think it could be difficult as I don’t. I mean, they, they essentially have the best player on the roster or on the teams.
[01:10:50] They have Paul George versus, you know, we have like CJ. Yes and no they’re missing Kauai, but w we’re we have looked terrible missing these three players that were [01:11:00] without.
[01:11:00] Dillon Sage: So let’s do this differently because this is the first time we ever been able to talk during like a three to 4:00 PM slot. So right now I have out of my lineups, I’ve 35% Paul George.
[01:11:20] He’s one of the highest own players he’s going to do well, but is there a chance that the Clippers blow us out and he only plays three quarters? Or do you think that there’s going to be, he’s going to have that fourth quarter run. If you were a betting, man, what do you think happened? I
[01:11:37] Dustin Hawes: don’t think Portland as I hit rock bottom yet.
[01:11:39] So I think there is a chance that they get blown out. I would say that the spurs. Are on a winning streak, like they’ve won four straight so that wasn’t too surprising. The Celtics have started to turn the corner. Yes. The Clippers are 12 and 12, but there are only three and seven in their last 10. So it’s, it’s not like [01:12:00] they’re, they’ve started to maybe like hit their stride a bit.
[01:12:02] It would surprise me if they were able to drop the hammer. Uh, Portland is probably gonna get in to see your little back. And CJ McCollum is probable with the bruised ribs. Still. No ant still no Dame. It’s going to be a tough game for Portland to win. But I mean, it’s, it’s hard to imagine Portland getting blasted again.
[01:12:25] They very well could, but like I said, if you give up 1 45, I mean, it could go one of two ways the out and you can be like, okay, I’m going to take that to heart or coach calls you out and you’re like, fuck you, dude. I’m not playing for you. Which probably would be my reaction. And it gets even worse. So.
[01:12:44] Sage. This is why I don’t bet on sports. I just, I don’t because I, I don’t know. I can’t give you an answer.
[01:12:51] Dillon Sage: All right. So I have 25% CJ McCollum and 20% Norman pal. Do you think without Damian Lillard, potentially without [01:13:00] Anthony Simons, do you think those two take on and be the one and two guys for this particular team and have ceiling
[01:13:09] Dustin Hawes: games?
[01:13:11] I would not bet CJ with his bruised ribs. What about Norman? I mean, isn’t he coming off of? Goodness. Facemash too. Yeah. I mean also think when is normal health ever been a featured player in Portland? Regardless of who’s on the floor, like, he’ll have a really strong quarter and the team just forgets about him.
[01:13:30] It’s like, he’s the forgetting? He’s the forgotten trouble. Is there ever since he’s arrived? I’ve always felt like they it’s almost like they can’t see him on the court. He should be featured. He’s just not it’s it’s incredibly strange. Um, you get guys like Ben Macklemore and Tony Snell who take up some way more shots than him.
[01:13:48] Yeah. It’s, it’s really weird. Like, honestly, I’d stay away from this game because I think it has
[01:13:56] Dillon Sage: so with D DFS embedding, it’s all about price point [01:14:00] and one of the cheapest and most popular players, Dennis Smith Jr. Because of the potential blowout run. I think that Dennis Smith Jr. Is the safest player to play his minutes because if they’re winning, he’s playing, if they’re losing is playing.
[01:14:21] Yeah. So that’s why I have him in currently 55% of my lineups. He’s cheap. He’s gonna play a lot. He, he is a very safe option in daily fantasy. I do think that the Clippers are going to win this just because of the amount of players that are sitting in the bench in street glows. So, uh, I mean we know the steam.
[01:14:47] Um, the one question I have is Serge Ibaka gonna play real minutes cause he he’s been in and out of the rotation a lot injury and like getting back into game shape. So it depends is this one of the games where [01:15:00] Tyler feels safe to put in a recovering Serge Ibaka to have him run, you know, the, uh, be the center or is he going to be the S the backup center?
[01:15:10] So that’s my main question.
[01:15:12] Dustin Hawes: I was going to attack the blazer guards. There was a picture posted on Twitter after Paul George entered into the locker room. After the last game, I think it was on TNT, TNT, the Clippers. And on the whiteboard, you could see Tyler’s game plan said like attack ant, attack, CJ attack Dame.
[01:15:30] Well, you’re getting worse versions of all of those players in the lineup from Portland. You, you know, he’s going to have Lou canard, Reggie Jackson, Paul, George, ready, ready to go. So that’s going to be very difficult for Portland to handle, and it only gets harder as they move on to the golden state warriors, uh, 19 and four on the season 12 and two at home, they are tied with Phoenix for the best record in the entire NBA.
[01:15:58] Uh, they they’re eight and two [01:16:00] in their past 10 games prior to losing to San Antonio. They were beating almost everybody. They played at home by double digits and Portland just got waxed. About two weeks ago, 1 18, 1 0 3. Uh, I assume Dame is still not going to play because he’s his 10 days, just his evaluation period of 10 days has not been, been up.
[01:16:22] Um, you’ve got a warriors team that probably has done a smell blood in the water.
[01:16:26] Dillon Sage: Yeah. I mean, that’s defense in the league. One of the smartest teams in the league, I have a feeling that Steph Curry’s in to put up 30 and chill on the bench in
[01:16:35] Dustin Hawes: the fourth quarter. I mean, they are stacked. You’ve got auto Porter Jr.
[01:16:38] Coming off your bench. Uh uh, blinker, uh, excuse me, BGL. I mean, he’s, he’s been a wonderful addition, Jordan. Gary, will I text you? Jordan pool should be an all-star this year. Uh, he looks fantastic. Gary Payton Jr. Has just been a dog on defense and he’s so fun to watch. And then you’ve got Wiggins who. I know he’s [01:17:00] had the laughable contract, but contract aside,
[01:17:03] Dillon Sage: like you said,
[01:17:03] Dustin Hawes: good player.
[01:17:05] And he hit that penny Hardaway crossover against the sons. Yeah. Like
[01:17:09] Dillon Sage: I know that people don’t particularly like him, but he’s the rotation small forward and we don’t
[01:17:15] Dustin Hawes: have one of those. So it’s a really good, like I would, I would be happy with Wiggins in Portland. You
[01:17:22] Dillon Sage: have to pay for Heights and potential, you know, goodies, offensively.
[01:17:26] So it is what it is with, uh, Andrew Wiggins. He’s he’s he’s good. He’s not first overall pick. Good, but he is a good player.
[01:17:35] Dustin Hawes: And then Portland, that wraps up the week against the Minnesota timber roles at home. It’s the first matchup between the divisional foes. Minnesota is a team that is just slightly ahead of Portland in the standings at 11 and 12.
[01:17:48] They’re decent away from home four and six, a seven and three in their last 10. So that they’ve really turned it around. Uh, it’s going to be a game that I’m looking forward to because Anthony Edwards is one of my [01:18:00] favorite players in the league. Uh, you talk about sports and entertainment. That guy puts on a, a highlight real performance.
[01:18:07] Almost every time he’s out there. Karl-Anthony towns is one of the most skilled bigs in the game. Uh, they seem like a team that it’s like, Hey, the plan has expanded the format we could possibly get in. Like we’ve got a roster, fully young players, like we want to win now. Uh, this is not going to be an easy matchup for Portland, especially if they are writing a five game losing.
[01:18:31] Dillon Sage: right. Uh, Jalen McDaniels of those dimples is playing today. That’s good to know. Um, so this team is kind of coach weird out of the three options. Karl Anthony towns, uh, Anthony Edwards, Vilo, where would you say that if you were the coach who would shoot the most
[01:18:55] Dustin Hawes: in order of yellow would be third on my, on my list, I would, I would go Edwards [01:19:00] towns dealer.
[01:19:01] Dillon Sage: So right now it’s Edwards. DLO Karl-Anthony towns or Patrick, Patrick Beverley sometimes shoots more than Karl-Anthony towns. So right now the, the team isn’t, I don’t think that they’re playing as effective as they should because of those guard shucking up. And you knew Molly Beasley, if. With pat, uh, Bev out, like there’s a lot of guys who do their best work, just chucking the ball.
[01:19:29] So it, I feel like this team is eventually gonna make Karl-Anthony towns going to bail because he’s like the third or fourth option. And in my opinion, currently he is the best player on the team. So it is a very weird, uh, roster, uh, construction, especially cause Finch is so good with a big, so him giving the green light to pat Bev and.
[01:19:54] Um, de-load is a very weird thing to me. So if they’re smart, they go after [01:20:00] us and we only play use of 24 minutes and cat has a big
[01:20:04] Dustin Hawes: This is a team that is hungry for success. They only lost to Brooklyn by five in Brooklyn, just recently towns didn’t play. This is a team that a Portland doesn’t take.
[01:20:16] Seriously. They’re going to get run into the gym, just like the spurs did. They’ve got those hustle players in Torreon, prince, Jared Vanderville. Uh Nasry. Those players come. Just ready for a scrap every single night, they’re going to outwork us on the glass if we’re not ready to play. So don’t just think, oh, Minnesota, Portland’s easily got, got this.
[01:20:37] Uh, this is a different Timberwolves bunch this season. So things could get dicey in Portland if, if they don’t figure it out quickly, because yes, they’re playing at home. But this December schedule, uh, is tough because I mean, after those three, you’re looking at Phoenix, Memphis, Charlotte at Memphis at new Orleans, [01:21:00] Brooklyn, Dallas, Utah, and at the Lakers to round out the calendar year.
[01:21:05] Not many gimmes on that schedule. And Portland’s gotta be careful that it doesn’t slip out of reach, unless that’s what you’re looking for. And you want to see a draft pick. If you do acquire a Ben Simmons, you don’t want to have to keep digging out a of that hole too far. So again, Portland’s just in a very precarious situation where they’re kind of Teeter tottering on.
[01:21:33] Do we let things just all go to shit? Do we cut and stay above water and hopes that something good is going to come along and we’ll be better positioned that way. You just don’t really know. I mean, it’s, you’re taking it almost on a game by game basis, but if I were a betting man, which thank God I’m not, I don’t think we’ve, I don’t know.
[01:21:52] Portland’s hit rock bottom yet. I think tonight’s performance gets to Clippers will tell me if, if the Boston game was, or if the players are really all [01:22:00] out on Chauncey Billups.
[01:22:03] Dillon Sage: Alright. Uh, we are available on iTunes, Stitcher, Himalaya podcast, dash radio, nothing but net radio, Tuesdays two to three, four to five Eastern, um, be good to each other.
[01:22:15] And we out of here.
[01:22:18] Dustin Hawes: Wherever you may be. This is bill and shine. Good night.
[01:22:22] Dillon Sage: Hey everybody.
[01:22:26] Dustin Hawes: Let’s go.