The future appears bleak in Blazerland

Another year, another disappointment. How much more can Portland fans endure?

After the Trailblazers were ousted from the playoffs by the Lakers for the fifth time in the past six seasons on Sunday — swept away like crumbs on the kitchen floor — it’s no wonder fans have lost all faith.

Somehow, we thought this year would be different. “This isn’t the same team. This group is more focused.”

So focused that they couldn’t even salvage a win in the series. These guys didn’t even pretend to be contenders. They rolled over the same way they did in 2001, and the fans are hopping mad.

Eighty-two games is a long way to go to find out all the Blazers’ offseason changes added up to the same old thing: a slap in the face from the hated Lakers.

So after this most recent sweep, perhaps it’s time for some sweeping changes. As difficult as it is to admit, it may be time to dismantle this underachieving bunch and start from scratch.

Say sayonara to Scottie. Dispose of Damon and Dale. Bid bye-bye to Bonzi and reevaluate Rasheed. Help us find a ray of sunshine behind the pitch-black cloud that is the Trailblazers organization. Give us something to look forward to.

It’s time for Bob Whitsitt to concede that his gameplan has failed. Talent is nothing without character and the Blazers continue to prove it year after year. There’s a reason why this team earned the nickname “Jail Blazers.”

Maybe Paul Allen needs to reexamine the direction his team is going and trade Trader Bob. The once-great general manager has finally met a challenge he can’t overcome, and unless the past five seasons were just a fluke, he needs to swallow his pride and step down.

At this point, the fans don’t care who we get in return. As long as we have something else to talk about besides perennial playoff collapses. The pain is far too great — perhaps greater than watching a team go 20-62. In the case of the Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies, at least there’s an upside.

But sadly, there is no visible upside to this team. This bungling Blazer bunch has reached its full potential. And when a team maxes out at merely making the playoffs, that doesn’t give the fans a whole lot of hope.

Most Blazer fans would gladly give up their fifth or sixth playoff seed for a chance at a future. As the Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics and New Jersey Nets are proving in these playoffs, teams need to be torn apart before they can be built back up.

The stigma of being a “lottery team” is not what it used to be. What it means today, as opposed to 10 years ago, is that you’re building toward the future (unless, of course, you’re the Golden State Warriors).

My team, the Seattle Sonics, was a lottery team the past few seasons and turned its troubles into Rashard Lewis, Desmond Mason and Vladamir Radmanovich. And while the Sonics remain a far cry from a Finals contender, at least they have an upside.

It’s time for Allen and the Blazer brass to consider a new direction for this team. Losing to the Lakers every season and reliving the same garbage every year at this time is driving Portland fans batty.

The Rose Garden is going to be empty next season if a severe overhaul doesn’t happen soon. The fans need their hope restored. In the meantime, I’ll just stick to being a Sonics fan.

Latest stories

Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



Log in to comment

Columbia Gorge news and businesses