The Portland Trail Blazers are likely done making moves in the eventful Summer of 2019. They’ll enter the regular season with Hassan Whiteside, Kent Bazemore, and Rodney Hood alongside their familiar starting guard tandem of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. That doesn’t mean they’re done shifting personnel for the season, though!
Over the summer we’ve heard (and often engaged in) speculation about high-profile players joining the Blazers. Financial realities prevented Portland from chasing big-name free agents on the open market, but where the Collective Bargaining Agreement closes a door, it opens a window. Whiteside and Bazemore carry hefty salaries. Each is in the final year of his contract. That leaves open the possibility of trading either player, plus assorted picks, for the type of player the Blazers could never touch in free agency. Find a non-contending team with an aging star on a big contract and Portland is good to go.
If the Trail Blazers have a hole in the roster, it comes at power forward. Over the summer, we’ve discussed three possible acquisitions: Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blake Griffin. For purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that all three come available mid-season. We’ll also say that Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic will be healthy enough to return to action, making Whiteside dispensable. Finally, the biggest stretch of all: we’ll speculate that the Cavaliers, Pistons, and Spurs will be willing to trade their forwards for packages that do not include CJ McCollum...salary relief and picks carrying the day.
It’s the dream come true. Both you and Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey have the chance to play Ariana Grande for a day, smoothing back your fabulous hair and proclaiming, “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it”. You get to swing by the NBA Veteran Power Forward Shop and make your selection of Love, Aldridge, Griffin, or none of the above.
Given the choice, who would you pick?
Here are some relevant data points:. All statistics are from the 2018-19 season. Age is marked at the start of the 2019-20 regular season.
*Aldridge has a second year available on his conrtact, non-guaranteed, at $24 million.
**The final year of Griffin’s contract is a player option at $39 million.
Using these or whatever numbers you wish, who have you got: Aldridge, Love, or Griffin? Or would you prefer the Blazers stand pat, releasing Whiteside and Bazemore at the end of the season or incurring tax penalties to keep them?
Let us know who your dream February forward is.
Next Week: The sneaky forward not on this list that I’d love to see the Blazers chase.