Before I start, there are a few things I want to point out which sort of outlines which direction the Portland Trail Blazers want to go, they are:
- Clearing cap space to sign a potential free agent next off-season
- Trying to bring talent to Portland via a trade -shaking it up to prevent a reoccurrence of what happened in last years playoffs.
I would also like to add next years (realistic/yet still farfetched) free agency class if you like the trades for option 1 above, however, it should be noted the difficulty in bringing players to Portland. It also must be noted that Portland into the luxury tax and stripping cap off still may not allow them to sign a ‘big’ free agent.
- Jimmy Butler
- Kristaps Porzingas (restricted) – doubt NY would let him go.
- Demarcus Cousins
- Kris Middleton
- Tobias Harris
- Paul Milsap (team option)
- Terry Rozier
- Rudy Gay
- Markief Morris
Whilst not a great class, Portland may be able to carry cap space over into the next year to sign one of these players.
Throwing Portland into the Anthony Davis sweepstakes (one can dream)
This trade will send CJ McCollum, Maurice Harckless and Zach Collins to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis and Soloman Hills expiring contract. If Anthony Davis was to request a trade, it would be important for the Pelicans to acquire players who are locked up under contract for a few years and will not be asking for extensions for a least one year so as to tie up further cap room. Portland would most likely have to send a pick or two to the Pelicans.
It should be noted that in this years free agency Portland and New Orleans had an agreement which fell through due to a conflict in interest between Nurkic and Cousins (they share the same agent). This deal was a sign and trade sending Demarcus Cousins to Portland in exchange for Zach Collins and Maurice Harkless, and whilst Cousins is not Davis, it still shows that the Pelicans had interest in those two players. Throw an elite guard in CJ McCollum in their – maybe its what the Pels are looking for.
McCollum is locked up for another 3 years, Harkless for 2 and Collins is on his rookie contract still.
This would see a lineup of Lillard (G), Curry (G), Aminu (if resigned)/Layman (SF), Davis (PF) and Nurkic (C).
Deals with Dallas
Receiving Smith Jr, Mathews and Barnes
It is common knowledge that the Dallas Mavericks do not want their lottery pick guard Dennis Smith Jr, as they feel his play does not compliment that of rookie Luka Doncic.
This trade would send Harrison Barnes, Wesley Mathews’ ugly expiring contract and Smith Jr to Portland for CJ McCollum, Evan Turner and Myers Leonard.
Dallas gets an elite guard in McCollum who I believe would compliment Doncic’s play. They also receive back up point forward Evan Turner, who’s game whilst is no where near the level of Doncic’s, has some small similarities – Turner would likely serve as a 6th man for the Mavericks, taking the role of Barea, who will likely retire following his recent achilles tear.
It seems Doncic’s style suits perfect with a pick and roll centre who can play above the rim, and whilst his reputation is not the flashiest, Leonard has made strides this season – something that people also forget is that he is only 26 years old.
This is a hard one for both teams! Dallas are forced to eat the terrible contracts of Leonard and Turner, who play the game as mediocre “role players” at best – but – they receive borderline all-star in McCollum.
The most appealing thing about this deal for Portland is Mathews expiring contract and untapped potential in Dennis Smith Jr. I don’t exactly know how much cap room this opens up (inc luxury tax) if both Aminu and Mathews expire. Harrison Barnes is a solid player but at that salary I’m not so sure – perhaps Portlands renowned player development can squeeze more talent out of him.
This would see Portland have a lineup of Lillard (G), Smith Jr (G), Barnes (SF), Aminu/ Layman (SF), Nurkic (C) + not resigning Mathews the following year clears up ($18 mil) for the next year.
Similar hear accept Dallas do not receive a top 30 player in McCollum – instead – they receive Maurice Harkless, who is a defensive mastermind who also showed last year he can hit 3’s at a high clip. Harkless is still young with plenty of upside if he can stay healthy. Dallas gets rid of Mathews horrible contract and replace it for an equally ugly contract for Leonard – who’s analysis is seen above.
From here though I do not know what Portland does with Smith Jr, perhaps have him come off the bench and look for a trade for either him or McCollum the following year.
Deals with Atlanta
Recently news came out that Atlanta was willing to trade veteran Jeremy Lin for a deal involving a first round draft pick.
Does this desire to get off Jeremy Lin extend to eating Evan Turners terrible contract? Maybe – but probably not – but I am allowed to dream.
Portland receive Jeremy Lin for the rest of the year, who’s experiencing could be valuable come playoff time, but with a guard heavy roster already may be redundant. Lin could essentially take turners role as the 6th man in that he can facilitate surrounding shooters. It also fills up the forward position, and with the play of Jake Layman this year it becomes a tricky situation with Maurice Harkless.
Portland get Prince, who I think would be a great fit, which could fill the void Aminu would leave if Portland didn’t resign him this offseason. Prince I believe could make Harkless or Aminu redundant given his scoring ability.
Now this is a deal I believe could be good for Portland. They send Aminu to his home town – Atlanta – get off Loenard’s terrible deal – all at the expense of a first (and maybe second) round draft pick.
Prince essentially would take Aminu’s spot in the roster, and while he is not as good of a defender, he is a better and more consistent scorer. Portland then has the rest of the season with the Lin contract before freeing up $17.5 million in cap space for the following year.
This trade essentially combines the above two trades, in that Portland receives Lin, Smith and DSJ. I believe Portland would send a first rounder to Atlanta, however, may not receive a valuable pick from Dallas (if any – I’m pretty sure Dallas traded next seasons pick for Doncic.)
The only upside for Portland in this trade is that they get younger and a more balanced roster, whilst clearing cap space for the following year. I don’t think Portland do this deal, but if they have stopped believing in the McCollum/Lillard I don’t know – maybe???
Looking at this again its a terrible deal for Portland ahah – maybe if they blow it up and trade Lillard for the whole Lakers young core they will be good in like 5 years – (idk tho lol)
This is just a dream trade for me as I love Sabonis’s game. It is highly unlikely the Pacers will make a trade like this year due to the season they are having. However, Tyreke Evans has been a let down this year, and they get the potential upside of Maurice Harkless.
Zach Collins has shown glimpses of being an elite defender, and unlike Sabonis (to some extent), he can shoot the three.