The Portland Trail Blazers are likely to be active in the NBA trade market this summer, looking to acquire talent and drop expensive salaries. Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale suggests that Meyers Leonard might be on the move in that process. Favale lists Leonard—along with Kevin Love, Tyson Chandler, and Marc Gasol, among others—as a “long shot” candidates for the trading block.
He suggests that other pieces will be necessary in order to bait the hook for a Leonard deal:
Greasing the wheels of a Leonard salary dump is Portland’s bookkeeping middle ground. Al-Farouq Aminu (one year, $7 million) and Moe Harkless (two years, $22.3 million) are more valuable as assets at their respective price points. Moving Evan Turner helps the cause, but it will likely cost two first-round picks (or prospects) to lop off the $36.5 million he’s owed through 2019-20.
Granted, shipping out Leonard’s contract is no walk in the park. He finished the season behind Davis, Nurkic and rookie Zach Collins in the big-man rotation. And the Blazers would sooner turn to smaller lineups with Aminu or Harkless at the 4 before giving him minutes at power forward.
After discussing Leonard’s attributes, Favale suggests that while unlikely, the chances of a Leonard trade aren’t zero. Meyers may have suitors:
Still, other teams will talk themselves into Leonard. He doesn’t turn 27 until February and won’t break the bank at about $11 million annually. He’ll be worth the gamble to rebuilding types if attached to a protected first-rounder. The Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic immediately spring to mind. So, too, do the Miami Heat if the Blazers are interested in expanding to a bad-salary swap for Hassan Whiteside rather than straight-up savings.
How much would you give in order to shed Leonard’s contract? Or would you advocate keeping him?