When Neil Olshey executed a trade with the Kings for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan, the predominating storyline from national media centered around salary cap relief. Outside of financial implications, how much will that move alter the Blazers’ on-court performance? Probably not a lot.
What should fans expect from a deadline deal? The Ringer’s J. Kyle Mann took a detailed look at past deadlines for context.
The video touches on a few impactful mid-season trades involving Portland. Unfortunately, two of those transactions involved the Blazers trading away players that ultimately won the NBA championship with their new franchises. Mann defined Portland trading Clyde Drexler to Houston in 1995 as a “shot in the arm” trade for the Rockets. He called the moves that sent Rasheed Wallace to the Detroit Pistons as an “over the hump” trade.
On the positive side for Blazer fans, the video touched on the important acquisition of Kevin Duckworth, a move that helped push the Blazers into title contention.
The Blazers have made both good and disappointing mid-season moves in recent years. In 2015, Olshey sacrificed depth to acquire Arron Afflalo from the Denver Nuggets in hopes of fueling a deep playoff run. In 2017, the Blazers traded for a disgruntled Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic, a player who is now viewed as a franchise pillar.
Recent history suggests that the most successful mid-season trades involve the acquisition of draft picks. That rings especially true in Portland where those acquired picks have led to Damian Lillard, Will Barton, and even Arvydas Sabonis.
The message in the video is striking. While few mid-season transactions lead to an immediate NBA title, that reality does little to halt the constant conversation and news surrounding the deadline. So while the Blazers’ recent transaction with the Kings may not impact the long-term future of the team on the court, it’s one that brings a sense of fresh air as the Blazers enter the second half of the season.
The NBA Trade Deadline is on February 6.