With the NBA Trade Deadline approaching, hypothetical trades for the Portland Trail Blazers will ramp up. Portland stands at No. 5 in the West with a 22-19 record and they could go different ways at the deadline, possibly committing to a tank by moving a core piece or going all-in on the playoffs and dangling an expiring contract and a first-round pick.
As Adrian Wojnarowski noted in his trade column, names like Kent Bazemore and Evan Fournier are wings being targeted by other teams. Wojnarowski also said the Blazers are looking to upgrade at the wing. So, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report thinks Portland should get in on the Bazemore pursuit, offering a collection of varying pieces:
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: SG/SF Kent Bazemore, PF Luke Babbitt
Taking on the remaining three years (including this one) and $31.8 million of Meyers Leonard’s deal doesn’t spell good times, but his commitment pales in comparison to the $54.3 million Bazemore is owed through 2019-20 (player option). Plus, at 25, Leonard’s a better fit for their rebuilding timeline. There might also be something to Leonard-John Collins frontcourt pairings.
Ed Davis wouldn’t have a future in Atlanta, but he comes off the books after this summer, so it doesn’t matter. Adding another first-round choice to the cupboard would give the Hawks six, including their own, over the next two drafts.
Footing the bill for Bazemore while forking over a pick would sting the Blazers, but they’re committed to winning now. He’d diversify their pedestrian offense as a secondary playmaker and spot-up marksman without compromising the defense, and his contract expires at the same time as Maurice Harkless and Evan Turner’s deals.
In that same trade column by Wojnarowski, he reveals Atlanta is looking to “unload veterans and gather more draft picks and young players.” This trade helps in completing that goal by getting an expiring (Davis), a young player (Leonard) and two picks.
The top-16 protection might be a little dicey for Atlanta, as the Blazers could slip into the lottery or be one of the two worst records among playoff teams—netting them the No. 15 or 16 pick—but the Blazers have gotten to No. 5 in the West with a less explosive offense and with star Damian Lillard battling injuries. Second-round picks are no throwaways anymore either, with current NBA players like Paul Millsap, Isaiah Thomas and Marc Gasol all becoming All-Stars.
Bazemore, a 6-foot-5 wing, is currently averaging 12.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game on 41.5 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from three. He's in the second year of a four-year, $70 million deal.
Do you believe there’s enough for Atlanta to do this deal? Would you go through with this from Portland’s perspective? Let us know in the comments.