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A Blazers-Celtics Trade That Might Make Sense

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A smart Blazer’s Edge reader suggests a three-way deal that hits all the right buttons, including Paul George. Check out the idea and our analysis of it.

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Because of a salary cap situation resembling prehistoric tar pits, the Portland Trail Blazers don’t have many options in the upcoming NBA Free Agency period. Trades are a completely different matter. That’s the topic of today’s Blazer’s Edge Mailbag, straight from Brazil!

Hi Dave,

I'm a Blazers fan from overseas and I've got a question for you coming all the way from Brazil.

Considering our cap situation and the need to improve our roster (mainly at the SF position), what do you think our chances are to get that accomplished by engaging in three-team trade talks?

IMO even though the market for two-way wings is very limited, the Blazers could pull something out in those scenarios. After all, the front office has all kinds of contracts they could maneuver in order to make it work with other teams.

Example: Celtics are trying to bring PG13 and Gordon Hayward in and, to do so, they'll have to shed some serious money. If the Blazers engage in a three-team trade with them and the Pacers, we could attempt to land Jae Crowder by offering a combination of contracts + picks. Could that be a realistic scenario in which all the parties involved address their offseason goals?

Thanks a lot and GO BLAZERS,

Henrique

For those curious, here’s the specific trade that Henrique is proposing, from this Fanpost:

Celtics get: Paul George

Blazers get: Jae Crowder, Tyler Zeller (last year of his contract)

Pacers get: Avery Bradley, either Al Farouq Aminu or Moe Harkless, Ed Davis (last year of his contract), Portland's 2018 1st round pick (top 10 protected), Lakers 2018 first round pick (from Boston)

I say bravo to you, sir! That is one of the more realistic and balanced “out of thin air” trades I’ve seen for a long time. The biggest hangup is whether Boston trades Bradley, Crowder, AND an unprotected Lakers first-rounder for a possible rental of George. My guess is that pick would need to be heavily protected, which would dim the utility to Indiana a bit.

I’d love Crowder to the Blazers. He’s 27, his shooting efficiency is through the roof, he has a three-point shot (though he’s a bit of a single-year wonder there) and he’s a small forward. I must point out, though, that Bradley, Crowder, and the Lakers-via-Boston pick would work as a trade package for George. They’d be taking on $15 million in salary and getting the two best non-George players in the deal plus the best draft pick. Would they want to give up Crowder and take on $7 million more in salary obligation just to get a Harkless/Davis mix and an extra pick? I guess it’s possible, but the more streamlined, two-team deal might make more sense.

While it’s not far-fetched to imagine the Blazers facilitating a three-team deal, their lack of salary space makes them less-traditional candidates for the job. Usually the third-team sweetheart in those trades earns their status by being able to absorb extra salary. Since Portland can’t do that, every three-team dream we concoct has to clear the same hurdle Henrique’s deal faces: why wouldn’t they just deal directly without the Blazers in between? Portland would need to supply uniquely attractive talent or desirable contracts, both of which are in semi-short supply.

I believe Blazer’s Edge readers will be undaunted by this, however, so we’ll lay down the Henrique Challenge. So far the most realistic (significant) trade proposal of the off-season goes to our Brazilian champion. If you think you can topple him, or you just want to comment on his trade proposal, take a shot in the comments below.

As always, keep the Mailbag questions coming to blazersub@gmail.com!

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