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Thursday, February 19, 2009
Sources: No Trades for Portland


Portland has been involved in countless trade rumors and negotiations over the last few weeks -- in no small part because they hold what teams want in 2009: Raef LaFrentz's valuable expiring contract, cheap young talent, and draft picks.

But does that mean the Blazer will make a trade?

A plugged in source just told me that the Blazers are done, and will not be making any moves before the deadline.

Of course, a great offer at the last minute could change that. But that's considered unlikely.

What's this about? All that talk and no big move?

Part of this, I think, is that they have been driving a hard bargain. Another part of is that they are in a position to use Raef LaFrentz's cap room this summer, plus their new trade exception, when the market will be depressed thanks to the economy. Portand will be likely to be able to make either a lop-sided trade or a free agent signing.

Another part of it is that I'm convinced Portland gets into some trade talks as pure intelligence gathering.

By negotiating with the Nets about Vince Carter, the Bucks about Richard Jefferson, the Bulls about Luol Deng, the Kings about John Salmons, the Bobcats about Gerald Wallace -- and a zillion other such talks -- the Blazers get real insight into what everybody really wants. They get to fill in the the blanks about the 29 other team strategies. It's like seeing the other team's playbook.

You get to know who is in love with this or that player. Who really needs to cut salary. Which players certain GMs undervalue, or overvalue which players on their roster. Which contracts are considered good by those players employers, and which ones are bad.

Maybe not this time, but sometimes, that kind of knowledge comes in handy.

For instance: Remember the 2006 draft? Portland drafted Randy Foye -- a player they didn't want -- and forced Minnesota to trade Brandon Roy to them for Foye? That kind of move came from having perfect intelligence. They knew Minnesota wanted Foye and Foye only (but took Roy in a pre-arranged deal with Houston, who picked after Portland, and was going to take Foye to trade to Minnesota). When their man Roy was off the board, instead of taking the best available player, as most teams would have done, they trusted their intelligence and forced a trade for the man they wanted all along.