Watching the Knicks dismantle the Blazers last night, it was impossible to ignore the Blazers’ lack of depth up front and their poor chemistry in the backcourt. In fact, those were two of the team’s three most glaring shortcomings (the third being poor perimeter shooting).
The Blazers are clearly a playoff contender but, given their depth and chemistry problems, it does seem like there might be a deal to be made with them for Jared Jeffries. Here’s the rub, though: Any deal sending Jeffries to Portland would probably require the Knicks to take back Andre Miller. Thus far, Miller has been a poor fit in Portland and, judging from last night’s game, things don’t seem to be improving on that score.
Miller’s and Jeffries’ deals are a wash. They earn basically the same amount and both deals expire after 2011 so a trade would be cap neutral. Basically the Knicks would be adding Miller while still having the ability to add a max player this summer and one more player for a salary starting around $8-9 million.
I’d consider this type of trade if there was no other opportunity to unload JJ for an expiring contract, if only because I think Miller fits an urgent need–the Knicks won’t be successful long-term depending on Duhon to play 37 high quality minutes a game– and Miller has a long track record as a winning PG in uptempo systems.
But given how well JJ has played recently, I think the Knicks may actually find a taker at the deadline that’s willing to surrender an expiring contract. During this streak his value to a winning team has become much more apparent. There could be playoff teams that have interest. A Miller trade should only be an “if all else fails” proposition.
On the other hand, if the Knicks and Blazers could agree on something like JJ and Chandler for Miller and Rudy Fernandez, I’d definitely do that today.
UPDATE: Ok, scratch that, as it was just revealed that Rudy will undergo back surgery today to relieve pressure from a damaged nerve.
I’m not sure I’d feel the same enthusiasm to take back Miller and Bayless instead.
Seems like the Knicks and Portland should at least talk.