With the NBA Trade Deadline coming on Feb. 8, what the Trail Blazers decide to do is very much up in the air. They haven’t steamrolled their competition this season, standing at No. 7 in the West with a 27-22 record, but they’re in playoff position. And, given injuries to both DeMarcus Cousins of the Pelicans (27-21 record, No. 6 in the West) and Andre Roberson of the Thunder (29-20 record, No. 5 in the West), the Blazers are in earshot of higher seeds.
With the playoff picture seemingly open and the team still having room to improve, the trade deadline could prove the right opportunity to boost the roster. Jerry Christodoulatos of FanSided provides what Portland should look to do come Feb. 8:
Portland has improved substantially on offense over the past month. The Blazers are in solid position to make the playoffs, but something is off with this roster. Portland is dead last in a number of important offensive categories, including assist rate, shooting percentage at the rim and fast break points. The team’s spacing is much tighter than in past seasons.
Portland should have a handful of objectives at the deadline. The Blazers should try to acquire reliable shooting on the wing and at the four, and bolster their rickety bench if possible. Management should also look to unload bad salary in order to duck the tax or at least reduce a potential tax payment. (Remarkably, this team has the sixth highest payroll in the league). In any case, the Trail Blazers project to be active at the deadline.
Nikola Mirotic of the Chicago Bulls became a popular name for Blazer fans as his trade demands became clear. There was also a report of the Blazers sniffing around DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers last week.
Mirotic would be the type of floor-spacer Christodoulatos mentions, and he might be acquirable without a major roster shakeup. Jordan would provide the inside finishing Christodoulatos notes that the Blazers lack, but his arrival would make keeping Jusuf Nurkic redundant.
Portland could also look to unload a contract, like Ed Davis or Noah Vonleh, to avoid the luxury tax.
What is your biggest goal for the Blazers this trade deadline? Let us know in the comments.