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Lowe: Meyers Leonard May Not Be Safe At Trade Deadline

One day before the NBA trade deadline, it appears as if the Blazers could opt to sit this one out. Yet, they possess movable pieces if the right deal comes along.

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Zach Lowe of ESPN believes that the Portland Trail Blazers will be quiet at the February 18 trade deadline, preferring to pick up second round picks and wait for free agency to make big moves. However, Lowe also suggests that if the Blazers strike a deal, Meyers Leonard could be on the trade block, due to his upcoming restricted free agent status:

Portland has $20 million in cap room to play with, plus two restricted free agents -- Allen Crabbe and Meyers Leonard -- due big raises under the skyrocketing cap. Teams queasy about paying their restricted free agents ditched them at last season's deadline, when Brandon Knight, Reggie Jackson and Enes Kanter flew around the league.

The Blazers are high on Crabbe, but Leonard's asking price in preseason extension talks gave them sticker shock. (The restricted free-agency thing is yet another reason to keep an eye on Boston, with both Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller ticking toward it).

This is certainly something to watch for on Thursday. Leonard lost his place in the starting lineup to Noah Vonleh early in the season and, although improved from seasons past, is theoretically expendable to Portland's restructuring. A 23-year-old, 3-point shooting hybrid-center with Leonard’s length and athleticism is bound to spark curiosity if made available.

Read Lowe’s full deadline discussion, here. For added fun, scroll through the rest of his article to see why he calls Damian Lillard a Stephen Curry Lite.


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