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Lowe: Blazers Win in Free Agency

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Zach Lowe of ESPN digs into how Portland’s recent moves could make a difference in the upcoming season.

NBA: Playoffs-Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers are among the winners in NBA free agency, declares Zach Lowe of ESPN. Lowe argues that losing both Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless looks worse on paper than it does in the real world, and that the risk Portland takes by signing Hassan Whiteside in a contract year could prove worthwhile. Lowe parses apart the issues Whiteside had in Miami, addressing how the landscape is different in Portland and how Whiteside could fit despite concerns about his ability to function in the pick-and-roll.

Whiteside is comfortable with almost everything Portland asks of its centers: hang near the rim on defense; gobble up offensive rebounds when opponents swarm Lillard and CJ McCollum; and post up the occasional mismatch. His entitled pouting won’t fly on Lillard’s team. In Miami, Whiteside could talk himself into the (false) idea that he was both the Heat’s best and highest-paid player. Neither is true in Portland. Even Whiteside must recognize that.

Lowe also mentions how the Blazers’ young players will need to step up this season to take the team to the next level. Although the Trail Blazers did not secure a blockbuster signing like Kawhi Leonard, they may have moved the needle nonetheless.

You can read more here.