How would you like to be in Rich Cho's shoes right now?
The first year General Manager of the Trail Blazers has a team sitting in 5th place of the Western Conference. A team that's won five in a row, including four straight on the road. A team which should get a boost with the return of Brandon Roy and Marcus Camby from injuries following the All-Star break. And a team that has no chance of winning an NBA Championship as presently constructed.
And that is what places Cho between the proverbial rock and hard wall at the Rose Garden . Cho can opt to do nothing before next Thursday, and that would satisfy about half of Blazer Nation. Or he can pull the trigger on a trade, and subsequently upset the 50-percent of Blazer fans who would've been happy to play out the string with the cards they've been dealt. (And the cards aren't that bad.)
I'm going for option B: Pull the trigger on a trade. I prefer it when my teams compete for championships, and you should too. And unfortunately, trading for younger parts, or valuable draft picks may be Portland's only option for getting into championship contention. An 82-game season from Greg Oden and Roy would help too!
But even if that were to happen, they still need a little more youth at Point Guard and along the front line. Andre Miller has played terrific basketball. He's also terrific trade bait given his contract status and age. At 35, he would bring a lot of experience and savvy to a contending team looking to "rent" those attributes for a playoff run this season.
But what about the chemistry with LaMarcus Aldridge? His game might suffer if Andre leaves, some are saying. They said the same thing about Amare' Stoudemire when he left Phoenix. How's he working in New York with Raymond Felton these days? A good player is good regardless and LaMarcus is becoming a great player. Don't worry about him, he'll be fine. At best he'll only get two more years with Miller before he retires anyway.
And despite having made those arguments, the last thing Cho wants to do is make a trade for the sake of making a trade. When you do that you don't get better, you get worse. Sometimes, much worse. And then you run the risk of taking on bad contracts, or just, plain bad guys who never wanted to be here. And at the end of the day, you're alienating half of your fan base, so you'd better give them reason not to stray for too long.
The Blazers are a playoff team if the season ended tonight. They might win an opening round series.
Is that good enough? Rich Cho will answer that for all of us before next Thursday night.
He's not wearing the most comfortable shoes in this city right now.