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NBA Trade Deadline: Portland Trail Blazers Trade Rumors

Wondering who the Blazers are angling for and what they have to offer? We've got you covered.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Trade Deadline hits at 3 p.m., Eastern, noon Pacific time today. With the momentous event so near, it's time to recap all the trade proposals--crazy, sane, and all points in between--that have swirled around the Portland Trail Blazers this month.

Be sure to keep up with the latest news from the Blazers and around the league on the front page and in our rotating trade rumor post!

To recap the general situation for those tuning in late, the Blazers stand at .500 and are a borderline playoff team but nobody expects them to challenge the conference powers in May or maybe any May soon unless they get an infusion of talent. They're about $14 million under the league-mandated minimum salary cap level. They'll pay out that amount one way or the other, whether it's for existing contracts or new players they take on for the remainder of the season. They could use the money this summer in free agency and might be averse to taking on contracts that impede their ability to do so. The closest 1st-round pick they could offer another team right now is 2019, as they could owe their 2016 or 2017 pick to Denver. They owe second-rounders to teams around the league until the cows come home. They might be interested in acquiring picks.

With that in mind, here are the proposals that have been floated plus our reaction to them. If you think of or hear about serious proposals that we haven't listed here, we'll try to add them throughout the morning.

The Pie in the Sky

Houston Rockets Get: Rudy Gay, Mason Plumlee, Noah Vonleh, Meyers Leonard, maybe a pick

Sacramento Kings Get: Dwight Howard, CJ McCollum

Portland Trail Blazers Get: DeMarcus Cousins

Why it Won't Happen: Believe it or not, Sacramento is going to balk. They over-value Cousins even though he's a head case who has led them exactly nowhere despite his often-brilliant play. They'll continue vacillating between mediocrity and disaster with him as the hub of the team, frantically placing pieces around him, looking like they're mismanaging the franchise because of it. Plus they'd be concerned that Howard wouldn't re-sign.

Why It Could Happen: Sacramento be crayzay. Or the Blazers could reconfigure the deal to include Damian Lillard instead of McCollum.

Why It Should Happen: Cousins wouldn't be the soul of the team in Portland. Teaming him with Lillard could attract a nice free agent forward. The total dream in this scenario: Kevin Durant. Portland's offer would be as least as attractive as, if not better than, any of the places he's reported to be interested in, including Golden State where he'd be an unnecessary third wheel.

The Bill Simmons Duet

Cleveland Cavaliers or Los Angeles Clippers (or a third team) Get: CJ McCollum

Portland Trail Blazers Get: Kevin Love or Blake Griffin

Why it Won't Happen: Both forwards are ill fits in Portland. Love would make the defense founder. Griffin turns the Blazers into Clippers North, minus DeAndre Jordan. I'm not sure either team would consider CJ a suitable payback for their star forward, especially since they'll need to pay him big bucks soon. He wouldn't be a comfortable fit in Cleveland either.

Why it Could Happen: Cuz Bill Simmons said so.

Why It Should Happen: Can't think of any particular reason.

The Blazer's Edge Special

Philadelphia 76'ers Get: CJ McCollum

Portland Trail Blazers Get: Jahlil Okafor

Why it Won't Happen: The Blazers love CJ too much.

Why it Could Happen: Okafor is reportedly available.

Why It Should Happen: Okafor wouldn't be as big of an immediate free-agent draw as Cousins but teaming a star center with Lillard and Allen Crabbe would balance the roster better than the current three-guard rotation. Okafor is on his rookie contract longer than McCollum, giving the Blazers more time and cash to sign free agents or make extra trades before they're locked into high contracts.

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Reader-Suggested Trades

Here are some trade suggestions that have come through my inbox in the last couple weeks. They're all uni-directional, of the "Can the Blazers get..." or "Can the Blazers trade..." variety. It's a lot easier to want a deal than to craft a deal.

New York Knicks Get: ???

Portland Trail Blazers Get: Jose Calderon

Why it Won't Happen: Calderon is 34...way outside of Portland's time frame. Plus, another guard? With bad defense?

Why it Could Happen: The Knicks' asking price shouldn't be that hard to meet.

Why it Should Happen: This move would make sense if the Blazers traded away one of their other top guards and if the Knicks would accept an expiring contract in return. Defense aside, Calderon would fit well within Portland's system.

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New Orleans Pelicans Get: ???

Portland Trail Blazers Get: Ryan Anderson

Why it Won't Happen: The Blazers might consider Meyers Leonard the next Ryan Anderson with benefits (like standing a legit 7-feet tall, being younger, and sporting superior athleticism). Plus they have a bunch of power forwards already. Also the price for Anderson might be too high. Lots of playoff teams would love an experienced stretch four.

Why it Could Happen: The Blazers are among those teams, and Anderson would be like a duck in water in Portland...assuming the Blazers could convince him to re-sign. (His contract expires this year.)

Why it Should Happen: 38% career three-point shooting average, ranging near 40% in his best seasons? Instant shot in the arm.

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Phoenix Suns Get: ???

Portland Trail Blazers Get: Tyson Chandler

Why it Won't Happen: He's 33 and his Defensive Player of the Year Award is five seasons in the rear-view mirror now. Plus he's making $12-13 million per year until 2019. The Blazers need to use that money on younger players and prime free agents.

Why it Could Happen: Neil Olshey gets drunk and decides Chandler would make the difference between a borderline-playoff attempt and a World Title.

Why it Should Happen: To prove Dave wrong.

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Phoenix Suns Get: Bailing wire and chewing gum.

Portland Trail Blazers Get: Markieff Morris

Why it Won't Happen: He shoots long- and mid-range shots but doesn't make them. Plus Markieff be even crazay-er than the Sacramento Kings. He belongs there or in Houston. In fact watch the Suns trade Morris for Dwight Howard. Just watch them.

Why it Could Happen: Markieff needs a change of scenery, he's talented, and he's locked into a reasonable $8 million per year contract until 2019.

Why it Should Happen: Blazer's Edge will get 6,000,000 more comments annually from people debating Morris love or hate, whether he's a tortured and misunderstood soul or just a jerk. It'll be like the Nicolas Batum Wars, but nastier.

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Atlanta Hawks Get: ???

Portland Trail Blazers Get: Al Horford

Why it Won't Happen: Horford will at least consider staying in Atlanta when his contract expires this summer, which will make the asking price for him too high for Portland to pay.

Why it Could Happen: It probably can't at the trade deadline, but the Blazers could make an offer during free agency under the right circumstances. (See below.)

Why it Should Happen: Because Horford's combination of drive, experience, defense, and three-point shooting would look yummy in Portland.

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Houston Rockets Get: ???

Portland Trail Blazers Get: Dwight Howard

Why it Won't Happen: Most of the trade scenarios that end up with Howard in Portland involve convoluted three-ways in which somebody gets screwed. Which is not as filthy as it sounds. Probably. The Rockets are really looking to move Dwight but Portland's offer would be thin without one of their starting guards and that price is way too high to pay for a guy who could ditch them in July like he ditched Orlando. And the Lakers. And soon the Rockets. Just sayin'.

Why it Could Happen: I don't see a way in which it could. I can see the Blazers helping out in a trade that gets Howard somewhere else, but not here.

Why it Should Happen: He really wouldn't be as bad as his detractors make out. Terry Stotts would make good use of him and Blazers fans would like him...at least for a while. It'd be good for his career.

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Portland Trail Blazers Get: ???

Anybody Else Gets: Chris Kaman

Why it Won't Happen: I don't see teams beating down the door for a center that can't get time on a team that needs centers to play well. Kaman doesn't make enough of a difference for another team to trade for except in desperation.

Why it Could Happen: Another team could be desperate. Or Kaman might go out in a multi-player deal.

Why it Should Happen: It's probably a neutral move either way. No should or shouldn't to it...just a matter of whether the Blazers want the 2nd round pick or $100,000 cash that Kaman could bring.

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Portland Trail Blazers Get: ???

Anybody Else Gets: Gerald Henderson

Why it Won't Happen: Henderson has been playing well for Portland and if they plan to move another guard, they could use him. Plus it doesn't cost them anything to keep him through the rest of the year. Other teams would need to trade back assets the Blazers want. They don't want expiring contracts. They don't want other middling veterans. That leaves draft picks or young talent. How many teams who value Henderson have significant picks or prospects to offer?

Why it Could Happen: If the Blazers do plan to keep Lillard, Crabbe, and McCollum, there's not much room for Henderson long-term. As an Unrestricted Free Agent, he may want to find greener pastures. If the Blazers don't trade him, they won't get anything for him in the end.

Why it Should Happen: The backcourt is already too crowded and will soon be too expensive to pay Gerald too. Plus he's the one veteran on the team the Blazers could get value for.

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The Young Expiring Contracts

Portland Trail Blazers Get: ???

Any Other Team Gets: Meyers Leonard, Moe Harkless, or Allen Crabbe

Why it Won't Happen: Unlike Henderson, these players are young and could be retained through Restricted Free Agency if Portland values them. You can bet they value Crabbe at least. The market may be soft for Harkless and Leonard.

Why it Could Happen: If the Blazers don't plan to retain all three guys, trading them makes sense. They'll generate cap holds in the summer. Those can be renounced, but why renounce a guy if you can trade him?

Why it Should Happen: The Blazers probably shouldn't keep all three long-term. Crabbe is the most critical decision. If they love him, they'll have to pay him. That could result in a $50 million backcourt if the Blazers don't trade any other guards. That's steep no matter how you feel about the players involved.

Meyers Leonard should be the most interesting variable in this whole mess, by the way. Watch any rumors involving him closely.

The Facilitators

Dave,

What do you see as the possibility for the Blazers using cap space to help other teams make trades. Maybe they could pick up a draft pick for their trouble? Seems like a Neil Olshey move.

Colin

Why it Won't Happen: Just because we don't have a date for the prom yet doesn't mean we'll go with YOU. Plus teams won't be eager to give up first-round picks just to get deals done. (Rookie-scale contracts are going to look even better in an age of inflation.) That could make the potential gain modest.

Why it Could Happen: Free picks! It costs the Blazers nothing if they take on expiring contracts and very little to buy out contracts. They could potentially even save money by taking on cap obligation.

Why it Should Happen: No reason to say no to free gifts as long as you can use them.

The Playing-the-Odds Version

Hey, Dave!

None of this trade talk seems to be yielding any attractive possibilities. Why not skip a trade this time and let the money go back to the players? Wouldn't that be the shrewdest, most unexpected move Olshey could make? What's the harm there?

Thanks!

--Jamie

Why it Won't Happen: It probably will.

Why it Could Happen: No attractive deals come Portland's way.

Why it Should Happen: Portland's money time probably comes in July of 2016, not February. Apart from "housekeeping deals" like shedding a useless contract for minor gain, the Blazers need to make a huge splash at this deadline or not play at all. Incremental improvements won't help enough to justify the cost.

Extra Bonus Non-Trade Scenario

Portland Trail Blazers Sign: Larry Sanders

Portland Trail Blazers Sign: Al Horford as a free agent

Why it Won't Happen: Cuz I never really get my wish. And Horford might want to stay in Atlanta. (But he shouldn't under these circumstances.)

Why it Could Happen: Sanders would fit like a glove in Portland.

Why it Should Happen: Because with Sanders, Horford, and Aminu in the frontcourt, The Rock would say, "Who the blue blazes is defending in the backcourt?" Then when you started to answer with shame he'd cut you off with, "It doesn't MATTER who's defending in the backcourt! Cuz FINALLY the ROCK-SOLID-DEFENSE has come BACK to Rip City..."

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--Dave blazersub@gmail.com / @DaveDeckard@Blazersedge