Fire up the trade machine, we are less than a week away from December 15, the first day that teams are able to trade players signed in the previous off-season and the unofficial start of the NBA’s trading season. Teams will have a little over two months to complete any deal, with the deadline scheduled for February 23.
The Portland Trail Blazers, one of the most disappointing teams of the young season, are thought by many to be a potential buyer. The team’s defense has been most concerning, as they are allowing 111.5 points a game, ranked 28 in the league. Names like DeMarcus Cousins and Andrew Bogut are being tossed around as targets for the Trail Blazers, whose biggest struggle defensively at this point is in the paint. Both Cousins and Bogut could fill this void, with Cousins likely costing much more for his offensive prowess rather than his defensive skills.
Of Bogut, ESPN’s Marc Stein writes that, “[...] the Blazers are a natural suitor given their clear need for a defensive anchor at the rim as the league’s 30th-ranked defense as of Friday morning”. Bogut has been injury plagued the last few seasons, and at 32 years old is past his prime. However, he is averaging 10.4 rebounds and just under one block per game for the struggling Dallas Mavericks. He is also set to miss some time due to a knee injury.
Andrew Bogut says he could be out 10 days or up to 3-4 weeks with his right knee injury.— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) December 7, 2016
Cousins has been rumored to be on the move for a while now, dating back to last season. The Sacramento Kings have so far held firm and are clearly not going to give away Cousins without receiving a hefty package in return, which for Portland would probably have to include CJ McCollum.
Of course, another factor to consider with Cousins is his unpredictable temperament. The current Trail Blazers roster has been carefully constructed to involve guys who “fit” into the overall chemistry of the team, an effort spearheaded by Damian Lillard in the summer of 2015 and a big reason that the team was so successful last season. It is only logical to wonder how the a personality like Cousins would fit into the locker room and the team’s overall chemistry.
Some would argue that Cousins’ aggressive nature could greatly help energize this Blazer club, who has appeared lackadaisical at times this season, and is a very laid back group overall. Cousins is averaging 28.8 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, to go along with 1.4 blocks.
What say you, Rip City? Who should the Blazers target during the trading period, and who on the current team would you be willing to part with?