Zach Lowe of ESPN is predicting that the Portland Trail Blazers will make a mid-season move to acquire a star power forward or center. The prediction comes in the midst of 35 prognostications about the NBA in 2019-20.
Lowe places forward Zach Collins and guard Anfernee Simons off-limits as trade bait for the Blazers, but suggests that Nassir Little, Gary Trent Jr., and first-round picks could be in play alongside whatever expiring contracts are necessary to get a deal done.
Lowe starts with a familiar target and a new-ish name:
[Kevin] Love has been mentioned most (guilty!), but [Danilo] Gallinari might be a cleaner fit. He’s on an expiring deal, and more of a clear-cut power forward. Love lives between power forward and center. That flexibility is useful, especially as Jusuf Nurkic recovers from injury, but it could become awkward as Nurkic regains full health.
He argues that a glut of forwards coming on the market might drive down the price for Love.
Lowe also drops the name of an All-Star who’s been mentioned several times at Blazer’s Edge over the summer:
Keep half an eye on [Blake] Griffin. Detroit does not want to trade him. The Pistons are hell-bent on making the playoffs. Griffin is their star attraction. But if things go badly, teams will call. Griffin would be one of the few really good available players with a max-ish contract that isn’t too short or too long.
He finishes with a list of consolation prizes that still would have value in Portland:
[Marc] Gasol and [Serge] Ibaka are here in case Portland decides to pursue a center on an expiring contract.
The Blazers have the goods to make a second win-now trade if they want. You can build some intriguing deals with Memphis involving [Andre] Iguodala and/or [Jae] Crowder.
Since it’s Zach Lowe, you know all 34 other predictions get the long-form treatment as well. As usual, the article is a must-read.