Trail Mix: Greg Monroe chooses Milwaukee, Blazers assistant says team “lost” Aldridge
The reported “Plan A” for the Portland Trail Blazers has quickly moved into “Plan ???”.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this morning that Detroit Pistons big man Greg Monroe, who had been pursued by the Blazers, has chosen to go to the Milwaukee Bucks.
According to multiple reports monitoring the Monroe situation, Monroe chose the Bucks because he believed them to be a more playoff ready team.
Monroe made a lot of sense as a potential replacement for LaMarcus Aldridge being that he would give Portland some much needed offensive help. It was reported that Aldridge and Monroe was Portland’s desired pairing, which was interesting.
You couldn’t have found a worse defensive fit as a center next to Aldridge if you tried. Monroe is a wonderfully skilled offensive player with low-post scoring ability and above-average passing for his size. Portland would have two skilled scorers in the front court in said scenario and Aldridge’s passing has come a long way. But Monroe is slow and at center, can’t protect the rim. So, in that desired Plan A, the Blazers would be asking Aldridge to be the team’s primary rim protector. This is where they were when JJ Hickson was the team’s starting center.
RIP Plan A, who has gone the way of many great Blazers before. I will read your comment thread later on Blazersedge.
In other big Blazers news this morning, which was first unearthed locally by CSNNW.com’s Peter Socotch, Blazers assistant Kim Hughes has all but confirmed the news that Aldridge won’t be back.
In an interview with WTHI-TV in Terra Haute, Indiana dated on June 30 about the development of big man Meyers Leonard, Kim Hughes got to brass tacks.
“People don’t realize, we just went young,” Hughes told WTHI when talking about the vision of the team. “We didn’t publicize it, but we lost LaMarcus Aldridge. It hasn’t been declared yet, but I’m sure he won’t come back.”
Again, nothing is official until pen meets paper. Hughes wasn’t addressing any questions about Aldridge but was laying out the vision for the team.
But Hughes’ comments appear to fall in line with what The Columbian reported last week: that the Blazers knew Aldridge wouldn’t be back, as well as several other reports saying an Aldridge return is imminent.
However, it’s unclear what knowledge Hughes has of the team’s moves or plan in free-agency. The same goes for what, if any, say he has in the matter. Hughes is known to be pretty frank and off the cuff. Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com penned a story years ago about Hughes’ honesty.
I was fortunate to get a taste of that honesty working on this profile of Hughes from earlier this year.
He was Aldridge’s individual position coach in Portland, along with most of Portland’s other big men. Hughes also has a history working for and with Neil Olshey. Everyone else around the league is still waiting for Aldridge’s final decision.
David Pick of BasketaballInsiders.com reported that Aldridge will end up in San Antonio. Pick has a track record of being the first on European and overseas basketball stories and is one of the best at breaking news in the industry.
Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express News is reporting that Tim Duncan will come back for a 19th season with the team. This just seems like another sign that the Aldridge will end up in the Spurs.
Yet, we still wait as Aldridge is the biggest domino that has yet to fall in free-agency. DeAndre Jordan is still reportedly choosing between Dallas and a return to the Clippers.
Here’s a longer write up on Hughes’ comments on our wesbite.
So now that “Plan A” is kaput, where do the Blazers turn? Right now we can only speculate.
The Blazers will need to fill out their big men now that they’ve whiffed on Monroe. Joel Freeland also wasn’t kept on as a restricted free-agent and is drawing interest from five NBA teams, a source told The Columbian. And if Aldridge leaves, which at this point is all but finalized, the Blazers will need another big man.
Looking out the landscape, Kosta Koufos is the best big man available after Robin Lopez. Indiana’s David West is still on the market but he’s in his career’s twilight. West was a locker room leader with the Pacers and a veteran which could be good in helping mold the young minds on the Blazers roster, while still being productive on the court.
And as far as helping on the wings, Wesley Matthews reportedly stands to get a big deal from the Sacramento Kings. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com, Matthews would like to join Dallas if Jordan chooses them.
It was a pretty eventful morning for the Blazers as everyone around the league still waits on their free-agents to pick their destination.