For the 2018-19 season, The Portland Trail Blazers have largely brought back the same roster that they fielded last year. While Portland isn’t in a prime position to make a deal, there are a few players who could potentially be sent out in a trade.
Ty Delbridge at Hoops Habit wrote a piece detailing who he sees as the three most likely Blazers players to be traded in 2018-19.
In his piece, Delbridge focuses on Anfernee Simons, Meyers Leonard, and Al-Farouq Aminu.
When looking at Simons, he dicusses his perceived lack of readiness for this season vs. his upside:
If the Blazers are looking to compete and be a top team in the league, they need to add players who can help them win games right now. Simons has the potential to be a good player, but how long will it be until he is a meaningful piece in the rotation?
If Portland is having another good season and fighting for a playoff spot, it could look to trade the young rookie for a proven player on a rebuilding team or attach him as an asset in a deal involving shedding one of their bad contracts. He might be one of the highest value guys on the team right now, and Rip City could get a nice return for him.
He also says that Leonard’s opportunity in Portland has passed, and he needs a fresh start, but it may be difficult to move him:
Leonard lost playing time to rookie Zach Collins last year and just found no way to see the floor He is a 7’1”, 245-pound center that is athletic and can space the floor. For his career, he’s shot 37.3 percent from behind the 3-point line.
He still has two years and $21.8 million left on his deal, but the Blazers might be able to move him to a team not looking to compete for a few years that can take a chance on the big man. Portland could seek to attach a player like Caleb Swanigan, Jake Layman, or Wade Baldwin to sweeten the deal for another team to take on Leonard, or add some of its future draft picks as well.
In Aminu’s case, the biggest factor mentioned is that Aminu is in the final year of his value contract that only pays him $6.9 million this season:
Aminu will be 29 at the start of the season. If Zach Collins plays strong at the beginning of the year, the Blazers could start him at power forward instead of Aminu. They already have Maurice Harkless at small forward, and if he is playing well, they won’t start Aminu over him. Gary Trent can play backup small forward and Swanigan and Leonard can back up Collins and Jusuf Nurkic down low.
Portland could look to move Aminu for some good pieces to help fill the needs on its roster. He is one of their better players with good value on the roster.