Pryzbilla back, Johnson out in Portland

Joel PryzbillaIt’s official, free agent center Joel Pryzbilla is now Portland Trailblazers center Joel Pryzbilla.  The Blazers now have the two toughest back ups in the league.  Kurt Thomas and Pryzbilla will hurt you. reports Pryzbilla passed his physical over the weekend and has signed with the team.  To make room, the Blazers cut guard Armon Johnson.  Pryzbilla has had several knee problems throughout his career, but his size and toughness will help Portland’s frontline of LaMarcus Aldridge, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas. 

Many, including Crossover Chronicle’s own Wendell Maxey wondered if the Pryzbilla signing would signal the end of the Greg Oden era in Portland

“Considering the unfortunate news that Oden underwent another microfracture surgery on Monday, there remains the possibility the Blazers could release Oden in order to create a roster spot for Przybilla. Portland has some experience in this case. Former Blazer and current Indiana Pacers forward Jeff Pendergraph — who suffered a season-ending knee injury during the 2010 preseason — was released by Portland to create a roster spot. If that happens, what a week if would be for Oden. He’d go from being “cut on” to simply cut in order to open up space for Przybilla.”

Wendell also mentioned Johnson’s name, and financially, that makes more sense.  As John Hollinger mentioned in his chat Tuesday, if another team picked up Johnson or Oden, the Blazers wouldn’t be on the hook for their salary.  This is more likely with Johnson because he has a small price tag and two functional knees.  Oden’s contract is a little bit larger and he’s the only guy in the league with worse knees then Pryzbilla. 

Greg Oden is only 24 years old, and the little time he’s been healthy he’s been a beast on defense.  Someone is going to take a chance on him whenever he gets medically cleared to play again.  I wouldn’t say for certain that Oden’s time is done in Portland because of how much the Blazers organization seems to like him as a person and if ever healthy how perfectly he fits next to LaMarcus Aldridge.  I’m pulling for Greg Oden but I’m done holding my breath for his knees ever getting right.