LinkThe Blazers traded a guard on Saturday, and it’s not the one you might think.
Rudy Fernandez stayed put, but Portland sent Jerryd Bayless to New Orleans for a conditional first-round pick, helping to clear a roster spot for newly signed Fabricio Oberto. (Portland had to create two spots, technically, but the other apparently will come by waiving forward Jeff Pendergraph, who is out for the season.)
Fernandez is part of the reason why Bayless was expendable. His strong preseason, as well as that of fellow guards Wesley Matthews and Armon Johnson, helped ease Portland minds that they could part with Bayless. Matthews in particularly is likely to see heavy duty as the team’s backup point guard, even if Brandon Roy does the bulk of the ball-handling in that alignment. Rookie Johnson, a second-rounder who has lapped first-rounder and fellow guard Elliot Williams, may also see greater opportunity.
And what Portland got in return is pretty good. According to the Oregonian, the protection is only top-7 for 2011 and top-8 each of the three years after; since the Hornets aren’t exactly a guaranteed success this year, it appears the Blazers gained a strong asset to utilize in future deals. If Bayless was going to be a fringe rotation player anyway, clearing the roster spot and getting a plum asset makes the deal a no-brainer.