The Portland Trail Blazers find themselves weathering the storm of major injuries to multiple starters. Rumors about who the Blazers may pursue are starting to heat up as Dec. 15 — the day where free agents signed this summer can finally be traded — approaches. Jason Quick of The Athletic spoke with president of basketball operations Neil Olshey about Olshey’s plan heading into trade season:
“We are going to stay disciplined,” Olshey said. “That doesn’t mean we are not going to stay opportunistic, OK? But the bar for how big of an impact somebody has to make to really make an outcome-related impact is higher.”
Discipline is important, Olshey says, because he doesn’t want to change up a solid starting lineup next season of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood, Zach Collins, and Jusuf Nurkic:
“The discipline comes in that the starting lineup next year is Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood, Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic,” Olshey said. “And we are going to get there. Now, some of those guys will be back this year, and some won’t. But what we are not going to do is give away long-term assets that can help get this team to where we really want to be — and where we thought we were back in September — for some incremental upgrade today.”
Olshey also talked about how the Blazers are not only down three starters, but have also lost their identity as their frontcourt depth has shrunk. The executive said the team has to ask players to step up given the team’s injuries:
“So the problem now is we are asking everybody, for the most part, to be something they are not. We are asking backups to be starters. We are asking third-string guys to be backups. Guys who were supposed to be in the G League this year developing are trying to play rotation minutes.”
You can read more from Quick’s piece, which includes a Blazers mailbag, here.