So the Blazers finally look amazing. Many experts have dubbed us contenders in the stacked Western Conference and we currently sit atop the rankings for the entire NBA. Perhaps more impressive is that we have the best offense in the league but promising rookie CJ McCollum is still waiting in the wings. The only glaring weakness for us right now is our backup bigs situation. When RoLo and LaMarcus are manning the middle for us, there is little to worry about. But when the bench comes in, things tend to get a bit rough. T-Rob and Joel Freeland have actually been doing a decent job backing these guys up. T-Rob occasionally gives us that extra spark that can make the difference in games, while Joel Freeland has surprisingly developed into a competent defender.
But in order for us to really make a run in the playoffs, there is no doubt that we will need another rotational center-forward to put us over the hump. And what do you know, our most moveable and attractive non-essential trade piece is former lottery pick Meyers Leonard! Meyers has looked next to useless this season, and after Sunday's wrestling match with Daniel Orton, there is not any reason to believe that will change.
Luckily for the Blazers, there are a plethora of suitors around the league looking to unload solid veteran players for potential talent that may not be polished enough for teams looking to win now (like us.) Of course there are chemistry drawbacks of trading Meyers, and many people may gawk at the idea of messing with what we already have. But against a team like the San Antonio Spurs that possesses Crater Lake-esque deepness, who would you rather have: Meyers Leonard or someone who can actually play solid minutes?
Using the ESPN trade machine, I came up with a few ideas of potential trade targets for the Blazers.
Toronto does not look like they intend to compete for the playoffs, and they could be motivated to take a chance on the potential of Meyers while improving their draft position. On the other hand, the Blazers would get a young and proven stretch four that can make three pointers as well as bang under the basket. Patterson has already shown that he can be a regular contributor in a rotation and would fit right in on Terry Stotts' offense. The addition of Patterson is realistic and could pay off immediately.
Memphis has had a disastrous turn of events this year with serious injuries to Quincy Pondexter and Marc Gasol, and their season may just be in the tank. But even with Gasol out, Ed Davis has not gotten much burn. Davis showed during his days in Toronto that he is a talented player, and is also young and on a good contract. By doing this trade (possibly later in the season when CJ is healthy,) Memphis adds a much needed shooter to their depleted back court while taking a chance on the potential of Meyers. I really want to see what we have in CJ, but it seems we are doing just fine without him and Ed Davis would be a solid return.
When mulling trade ideas, remember that we do not have a first round pick to trade, and that trading too many players could result in a loss of our remarkable chemistry. With that in mind, what potential trades involving Meyers and other non-essential players could help us out?