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Hey, how you doin'?

As recently as a couple of months ago, our confidence in Beno Udrih was less than overwhelming. He was inducted into the MLE hall of shame. He was untradeable, a waste of someone else’s minutes, an albatross.

Today? Amongst point guards logging 30 minutes per game or more, Beno Udrih ranks 11th in PER, in between Brandon Jennings and Gilbert Arenas (Tyreke Evans currently sits at #7). Udrih sports a true shooting percentage of better than 58% (that is Kevin Martin territory), and his assist to turnover ratio is 2.3 to 1. And Udrih has done this coming off the bench, where he had rarely been productive prior to now.

The question is, how far has Udrih come in two months? Has he graduated from untradeable (as in, no one will take him) to untradeable (as in, we don’t want to part with this guy)?

To help answer this, I have developed this simple test – a proposed trade. It is important to note that this is probably not a viable trade, but I threw this together quickly, and the purpose of this trade is more to set a baseline in our minds as to how we feel about Beno these days.

The Blazers are struggling, and the popular thought these days is that they need a "Mo Williams" type of guard to play in the backcourt with Brandon Roy. In a way, that is Beno. Now I’m not directly comparing Udrih’s talents to that of the Cleveland all-star, but Udrih has proven that he can be productive in the backcourt with or without the ball, and he can produce as a 1 or a 2. He and Roy would be similar to an Evans/Udrih backcourt. So…

Udrih to Portland for Blake, Dante Cunningham, Patty Mills. I would have done Udrih for Blake straight up, but it doesn’t work from a salary standpoint. The Kings would have to turn around and waive Sean May to be at 15 players.

Note to all Portland fans – this trade was not completely conceptualized with you in mind. This is put together as a semi-plausible scenario so that I can get a reading on how much Udrih’s value has moved in the minds of Kings fans. This does not solve your Andre Miller problem, but Pritchard is a genius and can deal him to someone else. Also, if you have not seen Udrih play this year, you will rightfully believe that this is one of the stupidest trades ever proposed. Last year, Blake > Udrih. But aliens have come down and inhabited Beno Udrih, and it does not appear that they are going to be vacating the vessel anytime soon.

Under this semi-plausible(?) setup, the Blazers get their running mate for Roy at a reasonable (albeit lengthy) price. The Kings get expiring for the most part (I think that Cunningham might be guaranteed $800k next year). Should the Kings then manage to deal Nocioni for expiring, they would go into next year’s free agency period with a payroll of $29 million (not including whatever it might take to re-sign Sergio Rodriguez).

So, would you now trade Beno Udrih for expiring contract? Do you think that it is possible to trade Udrih for expiring contract? Or is a backcourt rotation of Evans/Martin/Udrih too tasty to mess with? You could also entertain the notion of dealing Martin, but I don’t think that you can get fair value for him today.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. You have to make the deal now. You can’t wait for the trade deadline or for Martin and/or Garcia to come back. The trade will hurt the Kings in the short term, as a prime time contributor is dealt for Steve Blake, who would likely settle in behind Evans, Greene, and Rodriguez in the guard rotation in the short term, eventually winding up near the end of the bench (or in street clothes) once Martin and Garcia return. Just for comparison, Blake does have a nice 2.5 to 1 assist to turnover ratio, but his true shooting percentage is a woeful 49%.

What say ye regarding Beno Udrih?