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Speculation Links Trail Blazers with Davis, Gasol

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Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders cooks up a couple scenarios in which Portland gets a new big.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The chances of the Portland Trail Blazers pulling off a major deal at the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline are slim, but that’s not stopping pundits from cooking up scenarios linking Portland with big names like Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol. The latest example: Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders envisions the Blazers chasing either or both big men.

After citing the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks as obvious front-runners, Davis floats a package of young Trail Blazers and picks:

A dark horse in all of it might be the Portland Trail Blazers. Leagues source have labeled the Blazers as being aggressive in trying to find one more star-level guy to pair with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Given the youth, ending contracts and future picks the Blazers could offer, they could be an interesting option, especially if it does not cost Lillard or McCollum.

Since Davis makes $25.4 million, the Blazers would need to include expensive contracts with whatever young players they offered. Either that, or they’d need to send every player under 24, including Jusuf Nurkic. (New Orleans wouldn’t be able to absorb that many contracts.)

Kyler also names the Blazers and San Antonio Spurs as likely partners if the Memphis Grizzlies decide to trade Marc Gasol.

There are a couple of teams to watch specific to Gasol, the top being the Portland Trail Blazers. Sources close to the situation labeled the Blazers as the more likely team to land Gasol if the Grizzlies do a deal, but there was not a sense that anything was close enough to call. Gasol himself has talked about the San Antonio Spurs, and there seems to be some interest on the Spurs’ part in making a deal.

Gasol makes $24.1 million and has a player option for next season...making him a risk to bolt this summer. The Blazers would need to be judicious in what they offered, threading the needle between that risk with the luxury tax bill if he stayed through 2019-20, making $25.6 million (assuming the Grizzlies wouldn’t be willing to take on greater salaries AND lesser players, and that Portland wouldn’t want to part with draft picks for a player who could leave after four months).

If you’d like to work the trade machine to come up with viable deals for Davis or Gasol, you’ll want to check out Eric Griffith’s piece on the trade values of Portland players.