Carmelo Anthony: Gone. Deron Williams: Gone. Jeff Green: Gone. Gerald Wallace? Headed to Portland. Welcome to the newly configured Northwest Division, post-trade-deadline version, which suddenly thrusts the Trail Blazers into the division-title discussion. As part of one of the more memorable trade deadlines in NBA history, the Blazers on Thursday gave away a collection of bit pieces to acquire a star, while the other division contenders shuttled away franchise figureheads, setting the stage for an intriguing two-month close to the season. Wallace, a chiseled 6-foot-7 forward who is one year removed from an All-Star performance and a spot on the All-NBA Defensive first team, was acquired from Charlotte in exchange for veteran center Joel Przybilla, second-year forward Dante Cunningham and journeyman center Sean Marks. Charlotte also received the Blazers' first-round pick in 2011 that was acquired from New Orleans in October's trade of Jerryd Bayless, and a first-round pick that is top 12 protected from 2013 through 2015 and unprotected in 2016. It was the first major move by Blazers first-year general manager Rich Cho, and it was a decisive one. Wallace, 28, is a superior rebounder, a noted defender and can be an explosive scorer. His statistics are down this season -- 15.6 points and 8.2 rebounds -- but three times in the last four seasons he has averaged more than 18 points, including a career-high 19.4 in 2007-08, and last season he averaged 10.0 rebounds. His addition comes with little subtraction, as Przybilla and Cunningham were role players and Marks the 12th man. That had to be painful math to digest for Denver and Utah -- division rivals who lost franchise icons in Anthony and Williams -- and Oklahoma City, who lost one of its top players in Green. With 25 games remaining, the Blazers (32-25) are one behind Denver (34-25) for sixth in the Western Conference and 4 1/2 games behind division-leading and fourth-place Oklahoma City (36-20). Utah (31-27) is a half-game out of the eighth and final playoff spot. "The move today definitely, we feel, helps us in terms of our positioning in the Western Conference," team president Larry Miller said.
Trail Blazers get tougher, acquire Charlotte forward Gerald Wallace
Oregonian | Feb 25