There’s only one topic in the NBA right now, and that’s the news from New Orleans that Anthony Davis wants to be traded. Every team that’s even a somewhat feasible destination is probably sending the Pelicans trade offers as I write this, and that includes the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers have a combination of quality veterans and promising youngsters that might interest New Orleans, and they are a very reasonable trade target. However, other players will be on the move before the deadline besides Davis, and “lesser” players are far more likely to be traded than a megastar like Davis, who will require the best possible package for the Pelicans to make a deal. Here are five players who should be of interest to the Blazers.
If the Wizards decide to cut bait on this season (which they should), they have quite a few veterans who they could trade away for future assets. One of the best of these players is Satoransky, who is a high-quality reserve combo guard who can play and defend across three positions. A tough defender who’s a reasonably strong outside shooter (41.6% from three on 1.8 attempts) and secondary playmaker, Satorasnky would be a good fit alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, as well as a solid option to lead the bench unit without them. The Wizards would probably be looking for young players and second round picks, so something like Stauskas and Caleb Swanigan plus a second round pick or two could work.
Ross has cooled after an exceptionally hot start, but he remains one of the best bench scorers and shooters in the NBA. The perpetually struggling Orlando Magic remain at the edge of the Eastern Conference playoff race, but don’t seem to be making a run any time soon, and Ross is an expiring deal who’s likely to sign with a better team this summer. The Blazers could really use Ross’ scoring punch and three-point shooting off their bench, or even start him at small forward for a real boost in firepower. Sending Mo Harkless back to Orlando along with a couple second round picks or a combination of the Blazers’ young prospects might be enough to get the job done.
Taurean Prince is young, and has shown flashes of being quite good in his brief NBA career, but there have been rumors that the Hawks are looking to move on from him in year three. Prince is a solid three-point shooter who can also create a little bit and has the size to defend multiple positions, so if the Blazers could get him for cheap (one or two of their young players and a couple second round picks) they absolutely should. He could not only help them this year, but could even grow with them over the next few years as a potential part of the core.
Rodney Hood is not particularly great. But he is a capable three-point shooter (36% on 3.4 attempts) who at least has the size and length to cover multiple positions defensively, even if defense isn’t actually a strong point of his. The Cavs are also looking to send as many of their veterans packing as possible, and Hood is probably the player on here who will require the least return. For Caleb Swanigan and a future 2nd round pick, Hood would be a nice pickup, even if he’s not a game-changer at all. He’s probably the most available of these players, and also the easiest to acquire.
Like Satorasnky, Temple is a competent, versatile veteran who can play across several positions on both ends of the court. He’s not a great ball-handler or playmaker, but is capable of it in a pinch, and is a solid three-point shooter (35.2% on 4.3 attempts) when left open. Temple’s real value comes on the defensive end, where his ability to defend both smaller guards and wings would be a boon for a Blazers team that’s been middling on that end this season. He’s also one of the most well-respected and best liked players in the NBA today. The Blazers don’t necessarily need help in that regard, but there’s always room on an NBA roster for a Garrett Temple.
All of these players but Prince would be available as free agents this summer. While Satoransky and Ross might command decent salaries, Temple and Hood could be had relatively cheap due to age and lack of flashiness (Temple) and post-hype fatigue (Hood). If the Blazers don’t make a move in the next week, perhaps July will open up new opportunities.