The Portland Trail Blazers need to improve during the off-season. The 2018 NBA Draft and the summer’s free agency period are both kicking off within three weeks, but with the team holding only a low first round pick and not having the financial flexibility to acquire a free agent, it’s going to be difficult for President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey to add big-time talent to the roster. That may not be the only avenue to improvement. Instead of dreaming about LeBron James or fantasizing about that $12.9 million Allen Crabbe trade exception (and difficulties that go along with it), how about adding some good, old-fashioned role-player depth?
I’m going to confess something to you. I’ve found myself fantasizing lately about players from other teams. I feel guilty about it, I really do. But, for whatever reason, it’s happening. Maybe things have grown stale with this team. Maybe their little idiosyncrasies that I used to find cute just annoy me now. Maybe I never should have dove in head first with this core to begin with.
Regardless, I can’t help but wonder if the grass is greener. To be clear, I’d never abandon my team. I made a commitment to this franchise, and I intend to stick with it. Besides, my little boy Wesley is a die-hard Blazers fan already. Giving up would crush him and Daddy both.
When I’m home alone, I daydream about role players. Long armed 3-and-D wings that can get you a bucket when the defenses tighten up on your star backcourt. Of course, are any of those guys actually available at a price tag that the Blazers can afford? Probably not, the good ones are always taken. But in my fantasy, Robert Covington is the Blazers starting small forward.
I know, Al-Farouq Aminu has been nothing but dedicated. He works his tail off for this franchise and never complains. But after three years, the excitement isn’t there anymore. Aminu plays defense? Covington made the NBA’s All Defensive first team. Aminu shot a career high 36.9 percent from the 3-point line? So did Covington, on two more attempts per game. Even when Aminu has improved the things I criticized, like dribbling into traffic without a plan, I didn’t see him in a new light like I thought it would. And that makes me feel bad. And what’s weird, if I’m being honest, is that I sort of resent that it does.
I hope you don’t think that I’m a bad fan. Yes, I’m fully aware that Covington is happy in Philadelphia and just signed a $47 million extension for the next four years. But if the 76ers decide to enter into a relationship with LeBron, then just maybe he could be on the market.
I really shouldn’t think like that though. I need to just appreciate Portland’s roster and all the excitement it’s given me over the last few years. There aren’t going to be big changes this offseason. I just need to keep reminding myself of that. Besides, Dame and CJ still make my heart race when they’ve got it going, which is often.
OK, so I told you my secret. You tell me yours. Who do you wish was on this roster? Don’t just say Kevin Durant or something like that though, that takes the fun out of it. Who flies under the radar but would make your eyes light up every time they take the court?
Your secret is safe with me.