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Experts Deliver Grades on the Blazers’ Trade for Kent Bazemore

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A trio of NBA analysts delivered their grades after the Hawks and Trail Blazers exchanged veteran wings on Monday.

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Trail Blazers and Hawks engaged in a modest trade on Monday that involved the services of two veteran wings. Evan Turner headed to Atlanta, while Kent Bazemore will make the journey to Portland for the 2018-19 season. In the aftermath of the trade, analysts from around the NBA media delivered their grades on the transaction.

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton awarded the Blazers with a B+ grade. According to Pelton, Bazemore’s ability to play off the ball should open up coach Terry Stotts’ offense.

More importantly, though, Bazemore’s ability to play without the ball enables him to simply stay on the court with Lillard and McCollum -- something Turner rarely did last season. Terry Stotts changed his rotation to play Turner largely with other reserves, and his playing time dropped from 25-plus minutes per game the previous two years to 22 in 2018-19.

Sports Illustrated’s Rob Mahoney gave the Blazers a B grade. Like Pelton, Mahoney pointed to Bazemore’s versatile contributions on offense.

The Blazers are a better team for it. Turner and Bazemore come to the game quite differently—the former as a point forward and the latter as more of a classic supporting wing. It’s not a one-for-one replacement in terms of on-court responsibility, but Portland gets the better shooter, cutter, defender, and athlete in the exchange. Any trade-offs are negotiable as Portland builds out its roster for next season. Swapping Turner for Bazemore was always plausible. What’s unexpected is that it didn’t cost Portland so much as a second-round pick to get a deal done.

CBS Sports’ Jack Maloney delivered a B- grade for the Blazers’ newest acquisition. Maloney cited fit and floor spacing in his assessment of the deal.

Bazemore may not have the same versatility as Turner, but is probably a slight upgrade overall. In any case, he’s probably a better fit for the Blazers as they try to make another deep playoff run. Teams won’t be able to ignore him on the perimeter in the same way that teams could with Turner when he was playing off-ball. Not sure this deal moves the needle all that much, but if Bazemore’s shooting returns to his career average levels next season he’ll be a helpful player.

How would you grade the trade? Tell us in the comments below.