Trail Blazers are still in good shape despite setbacks in free agency
The recovery, a healing time as rubberneckers slow down to survey the misfortune and probably delight in the indignities, comes with the reminder that Portland is still a team that won 54 games last season with the second-youngest roster in the league. It still has $7.7 million of salary-cap space, still has a limitless future, still has an owner who will spend and a front office that will deliver. So maybe this isn't such a recovery period.
The potential perception that the Trail Blazers will leave the offseason with nothing more than a tattered, unfinished to-do list could last all the way until opening night. Meanwhile, do
No question it has been a July of setbacks.
Either addition would have been meaningful -- the experience and ball-handling of Turkoglu, Millsap as needed depth behind Aldridge at power forward -- but neither loss changes the trajectory of the franchise. Remember the words of Spurs coach
Lineup departures in the intervening three months:
Fifty-four wins, tied for the second-most victories in the Western Conference, the first team in league history to win 50 while playing four rookies at least 50 games ... and still with many reasons to see improvement. The rookies will be experienced. Roy will be all of 25, Aldridge 24. Maybe -- maybe! -- Oden will stay healthy after sitting out all of 2007-08 and missing 21 games last season.
This is a franchise that is supposed to be weeping over the last few weeks?
"Sure, I think there's a perception issue," general manager
"Maybe there is a disappointment, maybe disappointment is too strong a word. We knew going after the two guys we were going after that there was a chance we might not get them. But we still feel good about where we are. We still feel we have a bright future. We still have most of the team back that won 54 games."
They'll keep looking in the meantime. Free-agent point guard
"That's a difficult question," Pritchard said a few days ago when asked to map out the rest of the offseason. "I'm not trying to sidestep it. I would tell you that we're open for business. Could something happen tomorrow? Probably not tomorrow. But something could happen in the weeks ahead."
The rubberneckers will be watching.