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“The Thrilla” headed to Milwaukee?

There are rumors swirling around that suggest center Joel Przybilla could be headed back to the Milwaukee Bucks. Being the backup to Andrew Bogut would be a solid gig for any center in the league, especially for a veteran like Joel. “The Thrilla” is 31 years old and probably won’t see too many more NBA seasons, and he would be a pretty good fit on the Bucks’ roster since they don’t have another true center right now. But is there any truth to these rumors, and would it even make sense to trade Joel to Milwaukee? I would say an emphatic no and no.

The Trail Blazers’ front office hasn’t confirmed any supposed aspirations to trade Joel, and Joel’s comments shed some light on the situation. He said, “I definitely wouldn’t mind playing for the Bucks. My first preference would be to stay in Portland; I have to see what their plans are for me. But my second choice would be Milwaukee. I wouldn’t mind playing there at all.” And there you have it; there’s quite a big difference between a player being on the trading block and that same player saying he wouldn’t mind playing somewhere else. Joel doesn’t even want to leave Portland!

But if the Bucks did express keen interest in Przybilla down the road, would the Blazers be smart in working out a deal with them? Nearly everyone on the Bucks’ roster is either too old, not worth trading for, or simply doesn’t fit the Blazers’ style of basketball, and the two guys who would be worth trading for, Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings, create contractual problems. Przybilla makes $3.7 million less than Bogut and $5.1 million more than Jennings; the Blazers would have to trade more than Przybilla to get Bogut (and I really don’t see them doing that at this point considering they wouldn’t give up the players Milwaukee would want), and there’s no way the Blazers could give up more than Przybilla to get Jennings. Plus the Blazers have struggled mightily with injury problems at the center position (not to mention at every position) the last two seasons, and Joel is still a vital part of the Blazers’ rotation.

Now delving into the hypothetical; even if the Blazers could somehow magically figure out a way to trade Joel to Milwaukee, would you really want them to? “The Thrilla” is definitely a fan-favorite, and he plays fearlessly in the paint. Those type of blue-collar players who hustle every second they’re in the game are hard to come by these days, and the Blazers most certainly need Joel’s winning attitude to have any hopes of making it to the playoffs. The Blazers already have enough problems on and off the court, so there’s absolutely no sense in creating another one! But since I’ve already debunked the trade rumors, Blazer fans can rest easy, at least for now…

--Brett Hochstetler

1 comment:

  1. Joel would really fit in with the newer Bucks brand of basketball, plus he is a Midwest guy so he probably has 0 problems playing there like he said. You are right on in saying the Bucks don't have any players to trade with, you wasted a few paragraphs even talking about trading for Bogut or Jennings as there is no way that they would trade those two unless it was an earth shattering package.