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Trail Blazers Among Teams Able to Land Top Trade Targets

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ESPN’s Kevin Pelton takes a look at this year’s top trade targets and lays out Portland’s capabilities to add a big time name.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Now that December 15th has passed, the Portland Trail Blazers are able to trade the contracts of Hassan Whiteside and Kent Bazemore, among others. Whether they actually will make a move is a different question, but ESPN’s Kevin Pelton took a look at which teams will be able to land a top trade target (ESPN+) and included Portland in the mix.

On Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari:

Though Gallinari’s $22.6 million salary is more modest and fair value, matching could be difficult if Portland isn’t interested. Gallinari for Bazemore works straight up if the Blazers believe Gallinari can defend small forwards and is worth the cost during what could be a season lost to injuries. (Gallinari’s full Bird rights would have value to a team such as Portland, either to re-sign or use in a sign-and-trade given his likely suitors this summer probably won’t have cap space available to offer him more than the midlevel exception.)

On Memphis Grizzlies forward Andre Iguodala:

The Blazers also could make a move for Iguodala. A deal sending Bazemore and a minimum-salary player for Iguodala and forward Jae Crowder works financially and would replenish Portland’s depleted frontcourt, but at the cost of adding $11 million to their tax bill. Alternatively, Bazemore for Iguodala works straight up and would save the Blazers some money.

And, of course, on Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love:

The obvious answer is the Portland Trail Blazers, who could make a deal now using the expiring contract of Hassan Whiteside. Alternatively, the Blazers could build a deal around Kent Bazemore’s expiring contract by including minimum-salary players. Either version likely would add to Portland’s league-high tax bill, but dealing both Bazemore and Whiteside for Love and Tristan Thompson (also in the final season of his contract) would be close to salary neutral.

Which player would you prefer to see, and at what cost? Let us know in the comments!