Blazers reverse field on cap strategy

Updated: February 10, 2004, 1:16 PM ET
By Chad Ford | NBA Insider
A "watershed day" in Portland? That's the pronouncement from the Blazers after swapping Rasheed Wallace and Wesley Person to the Hawks for Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Theo Ratliff.

Moving Sheed out of Portland is a very big deal for Blazers fans who have been clamoring for change in Portland. The fact that they got back two "good guys" helps that pill go down just a little bit easier.

But watershed? Let us count the ways.

One, the move signaled the return of Paul Allen to his big-spending ways. For those prognosticators who insisted Blazers GM John Nash would only take expiring contracts for Wallace, do the math. The Blazers stood to cut $24 million in cap space this summer by letting the contracts of Wallace and Person expire. Instead they picked up Abdur-Rahim and Ratliff, who are due a combined $25 million next season. Factor in a dollar-for-dollar luxury tax hit for the Blazers, and the cost of shipping Rasheed out of town is $50 million.

That's right folks. Allen was willing to spend $50 million through next season to get rid of Wallace now. That's more than many NBA teams will spend on their entire payroll next season.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer