Notes: Matthews, trade talk, renewed optimism
Recap of some Twitter notes filed today:
— The Portland Trail Blazers remain open to trade possibilities. However, the team feels adding restricted free-agent guard Wesley Matthews will greatly solidify its roster. Portland has been involved in trade talks with teams since the start of June and that has not stopped, even after the Matthews offer. As talks continue, only a few Blazers are considered untouchable.
— The Blazers viewed Matthews as the team’s No. 1 option heading into free agency. His youth, potential, scrappiness, perimeter shooting and ability to lock down wing players are seen as keys for a Portland team trying to take the next step in its evolution.
— The Blazers are operating under the assumption that Matthews will be retained by Utah. However, Portland has a secondary plan in place if that happens, and the Blazers are ready to immediately put it into action.
— The Blazers are very high on Matthews, though, and he will be a key part of team’s future if the Jazz do not match the offer.
— The Blazers feel a defensive core of Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Greg Oden would eventually be the Blazers’ answer to Miami’s new big three, as well as Western Conference offensive powerhouses such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver and Phoenix.
— The Blazers will likely not use their bi-annual exception if they add Matthews with the mid-level exception. Thus, If Matthews joins Portland, either Armon Johnson or Patty Mills will make the team, and the roster will then be set at 15.
— The Blazers are feeling a sense of renewed optimism following what the team views as a successful draft and the front-loaded offer to Matthews. Factor in Utah’s loss of Carlos Boozer and the departure of Amare Stoudemire from Phoenix, and Portland expects to compete for the Western Conference title next season. This optimism has trickled down to players such as LaMarcus Aldridge, who is eagerly eyeing his first-ever All-Star appearance.