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Tokito: Standing Pat May be Blazers Best Move

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Mike Tokito of Forbes makes the case that Portland may be best served by running their core back next season.

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Four Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

NBA free agency is about to get underway and the Trail Blazers don’t have a ton of flexibility to make a splashy move.

But Mike Tokito of Forbes tells us that while they may not be able to pull off a splashy move, that might not be a problem:

Of their own free agents, they can bring back Aminu and restricted free agent Jake Layman, but Rodney Hood, Enes Kanter and Seth Curry could get more lucrative offers that Portland cannot match. If those three don’t return, and the Blazers bring back Aminu and Layman and use their No. 25 draft pick, that would leave two open roster spots. Maybe they sign one of those discount veterans GM Neil Olshey is so adept at finding, then maybe a younger player, and bam, you have a full roster.

The Blazers, of course, could pull off a trade, but to bring in a major impact player, they would have to send out a core player – say, CJ McCollum or Zach Collins, or even both. That’s a tough call for a team that reached the Western Conference Finals.

Certainly, being swept by Golden State in the conference finals should give Portland pause about standing pat. But it’s also fair to note that the Blazers did not have Nurkic, had Kanter playing with essentially one arm, and most notably, had leading scorer Damian Lillard fighting through a separated rib he suffered in Game 2.

Tokito then goes on to explain that the Blazers could get another year out of the much touted “internal development”

Off-season development can be as effective as free agency and trades in impacting a team. Layman made a huge jump last off-season and was a productive player for the Blazers. Maybe the Blazers’ other two young players, Gary Trent Jr. and Skal Labissiere, can make the jump into rotation roles.

And then there’s Harkless. Easily forgotten is that Harkless had a knee injury that kept him out of training camp and really, from being able to put in much off-season work last summer. If Harkless, who is still only 26, can spend a healthy off-season improving his 3-point shooting from the 27.5 percent he shot in 2018-19, it would be a huge help in keeping teams from blitzing Portland’s guards.

Collins and Layman also have more improvement to make before they hit their ceilings, and by all indication have the work ethic to put the work in.

You can read the whole article here.