The Trail Blazers have a mob of big men on their roster. There’s Noah Vonleh, back from injury, Meyers Leonard, currently nursing an injury, then rookies Caleb Swanigan and Zach Collins, Ed Davis, Al-Farouq Aminu, Maurice Harkless and Jake Layman. The depth Portland boasts has come in handy with an injury to Vonleh (shoulder) in training camp, and injuries to Aminu (ankle) and Leonard (ankle) during the regular season.
Yet, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report thinks the Blazers have too many bigs, and not enough playing time to go around. Thus, he presents a trade scenario with the Chicago Bulls that could solve the perceived issue:
Portland Trail Blazers Receive (after Jan. 14): SG/SF Justin Holiday and PF Nikola Mirotic
Chicago Bulls Receive: SF Jake Layman, PF/C Meyers Leonard, PF Noah Vonleh, 2018 lottery-protected first-round pick and 2021 second-round pick
The Chicago Bulls will have the Portland Trail Blazers at "Yes, we'll take Meyers Leonard."
Moving the $31.8 million he's owed through 2019-20 must be classified as a godsend.
Bringing in Justin Holiday and Nikola Mirotic does so much more for the Blazers' postseason ambitions. Holiday costs under $5 million this season and next … Mirotic hasn't played this year after suffering facial fractures and a concussion during an altercation with teammate Bobby Portis, but the Blazers could use a power forward with some off-the-dribble juice … If things don't work out, his team option allows the Blazers to move on after this year.
On the Bulls side, yes, Mirotic and Portis have bad blood, and things may never heal with them — but would that situation really make them want to deal for Leonard?
On the Blazers side, everyone around the league knows about the Mirotic-Portis beef, so why would they have to throw in Vonleh to make this deal? Why would they have to throw in potentially two draft picks, as well? Taking Mirotic out of Chicago is just as much a favor as it is for Chicago to take on Leonard.
Portland could pass on this trade, keep Vonleh, and potentially sign him long-term — there’s a chance they would throw away the years of development they’ve put into the big man out of Indiana for potentially a one-year rental in Mirotic.
What do you think Blazers fans, does this make sense for either side? Which side would be more inclined to do this deal—the Bulls faced with an uneasy locker room or the Blazers faced with a regressing shooter who’s still locked up for two more years? Would you sacrifice Vonleh to unload Leonard’s contract in any future deal?
Let us know in the comments.