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SI’s Andrew Sharp Delivers Scathing Review of Blazers’ Offseason

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Sports Illustrated’s offseason roundtable featured a critical review of the Trail Blazers’ summer moves.

NBA: Miami Heat at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Trail Blazers produced one of the most active summers in the entire NBA. Since exiting the Western Conference Finals, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey has completely re-tooled Portland’s forward rotation. With Jusuf Nurkic recovering from his gruesome leg injury, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are set to become the only returning starters.

The Blazers’ activity has not garnered praise from everyone. During an offseason roundtable, Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp listed Olshey’s decisions under the “worst deal” segment.

There have been a handful of compelling candidates here, but my worst deal winner goes to the entire Blazers offseason. Keeping Al-Farouq Aminu was always going to be difficult, so maybe they get a pass on that one. Likewise, Kent Bazemore offers more shooting than Evan Turner, so sure, they can get the benefit of the doubt on that trade as well. But why did Portland trade for Hassan Whiteside? Were Heat games blacked out in Portland over the past few years? The Nurkic injury forced Portland’s hand to some degree, but Whiteside is uncomfortable in space on offense, which means it’s unlikely he’ll be unlocking Lillard and McCollum the same way Nurkic did. He’s also spacy as a defender, and his Heat teams were generally better when he was on the bench.

Sharp continued by explaining that the Blazers’ position as contenders added to the confusion over the moves that have taken place.

The Whiteside deal could work fine, but to me it signifies a front office that has run out ideas as it reshuffles the deck a year after being swept out of the conference finals. There were other teams that made questionable deals (Charlotte, Washington, Phoenix, etc) but not many that did so with a potential title shot on the line. All of the moves in Portland were lateral at best, and altogether, this is more likely a step back.

Whiteside appeared in 72 regular season games for the Heat in the 2018-19 season (53 starts). During the final stretch of the year, second-year big man Bam Adebayo took over Whiteside’s place in the starting lineup. The former Marshall standout recorded averages of 12.3 points and 11.3 rebounds last season.

After Jake Layman’s departure to the Timberwolves, the Blazers have two open roster spots. A pair of savvy veteran additions could sway Portland’s critics in a different direction.

You can read SI’s full roundtable by clicking here.