The Portland Trail Blazers have proven they can be competitive without trading any of their young players, but there is one roster move that should not happen: acquiring a star player. Let’s take a look at four potential Blazer trades the organization absolutely needs to avoid in order for them to reach the next level.
The “blazers trade rumors” is a topic that has been making the rounds recently. They have 4 potential trades they 100% need to avoid.
The Portland Trail Blazers’ astonishing recent comeback doesn’t alter what’s been clear since Neil Olshey was fired in early December, and the trade deadline is less than three weeks away. Despite the fact that Damian Lillard has completely committed to Rip City, interim general manager Joe Cronin and the Blazers are expected to be among the most active teams in basketball in the weeks coming up to February 10th.
But just because a long-overdue personnel change seems to be on the horizon doesn’t mean Portland can afford to be less selective in rebuilding its squad around Lillard in the future. His advanced age, along with his rehabilitation from recent surgery to treat lingering stomach problems, makes the Blazers’ mission of surrounding him with the best supporting cast all the more important.
Here are four possible transactions that Portland should absolutely avoid before the deadline.
Domantas Sabonis was purchased.
Except for the Blazers, no club in the NBA seems to be more likely to play seller at the trade deadline than the Indiana Pacers. Indiana has plans to tear up its existing core, according to The Athletic, acknowledging that a squad headlined by Sabonis, Myles Turner, Malcolm Brogdon, and Carvert has a limited ceiling in the Eastern Conference. After signing an extension in October, Brogdon is ineligible to be transferred this season, and LeVert doesn’t make sense in Portland given the team’s current abundance of ball-dominant, offense-first guards.
Turner should be the most tempting trade bait for the Blazers, and not only because of his relatively inexpensive deal and stylistic flexibility on both sides of the ball. Sabonis has emerged as the player the Pacers most want to retain, and luring him away from his current club would allegedly necessitate sending an All-Star player back to Indiana.
Obviously, Lillard is the only player on Portland’s roster who has earned that status, and it’s naïve to assume Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard would place a comparable value on C.J. McCollum. For the Blazers, Sabonis’ asking price is just too much. As entertaining as it would be for Rip City to see Sabonis assist from the elbows and hammer lesser bigs in the post, his limitations as a shooter and rim-protector make him an unsuitable complement to Lillard.
Anfernee Simons is relocating.
Lillard, McCollum, Norman Powell, and Simons will very certainly not all be playing in Portland next season. Simons’ continued breakout ensures that even a conservative estimate of his annual value as a restricted free agent will approach $20 million. The Blazers have already committed roughly $87 million to their three veteran guards next season, and Simons’ ongoing breakout ensures that even a conservative estimate of his annual value as a restricted free agent will approach $20 million. There’s no way Portland can retool around Lillard and improve its championship chances while spending at least 90% of the $119 million salary limit on four players who are all best suited for two backcourt spots.
Even if the Blazers’ cap sheet was clear, dealing Simons as he continues to develop into one of the game’s most exciting young playmakers would be stupid. As the effects of Lillard’s cortisone injection to his stomach worn off before the New Year, it looked like Portland had no realistic way of acquiring another All-Star without dealing the franchise’s finest player or openly tanking to try its luck in the lottery. Simons has built a more strong claim as a future star than even his most ardent supporters could have predicted before to Lillard’s return to the lineup.
The Blazers have a lot of moving components as they approach the trade deadline. Whatever happens before February 10th, Simons is expected to stay in Rip City alongside Lillard until the summer.
Tobias Harris was acquired.
Ben Simmons is an enticing trade target for the Portland Trail Blazers. Last week, Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said on local radio that his team might be willing to trade the reigning Defensive Player of the Year runner-up for a “top-40 player,” reigniting rumors that the Sixers would send Simmons to Portland in exchange for McCollum and draft compensation.
Don’t believe the hype. There’s been no sign that the Sixers have suddenly warmed up to the notion of trading Simmons for McCollum. More instructive than Morey’s public statements regarding the Sixers’ present intentions is news that they’re attempting to link Tobias Harris to prospective Simmons transactions. Taking on Harris, regardless of Simmons’ presence, should be a no-brainer for Portland. Before his current deal ends in 2024, he’ll be paid a total of $77 million over the next two seasons, which is more than McCollum. Harris’ lack of playmaking skills, off-dribble pizzazz, and defensive tenacity make him an odd fit as a third star on a championship-bound team, much alone the second banana he’s getting paid like.
The Blazers may need some assistance at forward, and their age and contract situation shouldn’t prohibit them from bringing in a winger who can make an impact. However, due to the remaining guaranteed money on Harris’ contract and yet another season of his failing to live up to it, Portland will have to go elsewhere for seasoned veterans to join Lillard’s club.
Nassir Little’s Movement
Simons’ quick advancement has gotten the most attention in Rip City and around the league. However, the Blazers would be foolish if they overlooked Little’s same jump this season, particularly with the added value afforded by his height and agility at forward.
Little, who is still just 21, has established himself as a definite rotation player for the 2021-22 season, his first in which he will get regular minutes. Little has been praised by Chauncey Billups for fulfilling his preseason challenge of playing with a high level of energy and effort every time he steps on the court. Little’s next step is to continue to grow as a spot-up shooter, auxiliary facilitator, and all-around defender, which he can do to become a key component in the next great Blazers squad.
The value of wings has never been higher, and Little will still be on his rookie contract next season before Portland maintains match rights to him in July 2023. It’s a no-brainer for Cronin and the front office to keep him until the deadline.
The “blazers espn” is a blog that discusses potential trade options for the Portland Trail Blazers. The article discusses 4 trades they 100% need to avoid.
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