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Fan reaction: Portland Trail Blazers trade for Gerald Wallace, risk depth for more offense
The Portland Trail Blazers have traded for Gerald Wallace(notes) of the Charlotte Bobcats, giving them another weapon for the 2011 Western Conference Playoffs. It's a risky move, but one that could really pay off if the Blazers can get healthy as a team. In exchange for Wallace, the Blazers traded away Joel Przybilla(notes), Dante Cunningham(notes), Sean Marks(notes), and two first-round draft picks. The picks are the selection for the New Orleans Hornets in the 2011 NBA Draft, and a conditional first-round pick from Portland in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Those who don't watch the Blazers much might think that this is just a group of role players being sent out of Portland. They wouldn't be entirely wrong, but in the past month, it has been up to Przybilla and Cunningham to start at center, and Marks to provide a few minutes off the bench here and there. The Blazers just gave up three of their "size" players to get better on the offensive end of the floor, and it could really re-shape how this team has to play basketball. That might be a good thing, but it doesn't address the rebounding problem in the low post.
What the Trail Blazers (and their fans) are really hoping, is that Marcus Camby(notes) is about to come back from injury to take over the minutes that these three guys had been playing. Camby is definitely better than all three of them, and he is still one of the best rebounders in the game. The only question has been his health, and a recent knee surgery has really forced players like LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) to really step up big. If Camby can come back strong from this surgery, the Blazers are a much improved team, but he has got to be ready for some heavy minutes.
Wallace has averaged 15.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game this year for the Bobcats, and averages 39 minutes per game. He is still just 28, and he brings a lot of speed and size on the offensive end of the court. It's hard to predict exactly how he will be used, and whether Portland will decide to make him the sixth man or possibly put him into the starting lineup. If Camby and Brandon Roy(notes) are indeed ready to go, this could be a very exciting Portland team for the final 20+ games of the regular season.
As the march towards the 2011 Western Conference Playoffs really kick into high gear, the Blazers finally came off the sidelines and make a risky move that could pay dividends. The big key will be for the Blazers to get healthy, and stay healthy, and try to get into a good position to succeed in the postseason. It could be an exciting few weeks ahead for Blazers fans, because the Blazers just got a great player on offense in Wallace.
The next game for the Portland Trail Blazers is against the new-look Denver Nuggets on Friday, Feb. 25.
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*Ryan is a Northwest bred sports fan that has been a Portland Trail Blazers fan for years. He doesn't miss a game, and has high hopes that the Blazers can get into the 2011 Western Conference Playoffs and start to create some fireworks with a first round upset.
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