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Trail Blazers busy again on draft night

A night that started with ESPN’s announcement that the Trail Blazers had acquired Jerryd Bayless and Ike Diogu from Indiana in exchange for #13 pick Brandon Rush, guard Jarrett Jack and forward Josh McRoberts ended with no official announcement of a deal. The night also included four other deals, netting the Blazers another European prospect and a bevy of future draft picks.

“We were very active,” General Manager Kevin Pritchard said after the last pick was made. “The biggest thing for us is that we were very well planned out. We saw the draft fold out.”

The true repercussions of Thursday’s draft likely won’t be known for at least a couple of weeks, but what is certain is that Kevin Pritchard and his staff executed at least four trades.

Brandon Rush was selected by the Trail Blazers with the 13th pick.

In their first trade of the night, The Portland acquired the draft rights to forward Darrell Arthur (selected 27th overall) from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for cash considerations.

Arthur’s tenure as a potential Trail Blazer didn’t last long though, as he was traded along with Joey Dorsey, who the Blazers selected with the 33rd pick, to the Houston Rockets for Nicholas Batum, who was taken with the 25th pick.

Batum, a 6-8, 210 lbs. small forward who most recently played for club team Le Man in France, is a long, ultra-athletic player who has possibly the most upside of any player in the draft. He’s considered a project at just 19 years old, but he has all the physical tools to become an elite wing in the NBA. Unlike many European players in this year’s draft, Batum is expected to sign with the Blazers and will be with the team at the start of the 2008-09 season.

The acquisition of Batum wouldn’t be the only Blazers move involving a European. With the 36th pick, Portland selected Omir Asik, a 6-11, 230 lbs. center out of Turkey. Asik’s draft rights were then traded to the Chicago Bulls for three second round draft picks: New York’s 2009, Denver’s 2009 and Chicago’s 2010.

Finally, the Blazers finished their night by selecting Mike Taylor, a former member of the Idaho Stampede and the first D-League player ever to be drafted. Taylor was subsequently traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for their 2009 second round pick.

All told, the Trail Blazers ended up with four future second round picks.

The book on the Trail Blazers’ 2008 Draft is yet to be written, but Kevin Pritchard seemed satisfied, at least with the initial results.

“I feel like we’re very balanced right now,” noted Pritchard. “There’s a good focus on our team. I think we’ll know who our potential starters will be… I like our top ten a lot.”

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