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Four Buy-Low Trade Targets for the Blazers

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The Trail Blazers have a history of identifying players that can be obtained at a discount. Will Neil Olshey take a similar route this offseason?

Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

On Monday the NBA’s trade window opens, giving the Trail Blazers an early opportunity to augment their roster prior to the start of the 2020-21 season. From Maurice Harkless to Shabazz Napier, Portland’s President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey has a solid history of procuring buy-low talent. With that in mind, here are four potential trade targets that fit that billing.

Chandler Hutchison

HT: 6’7” | WT: 210 | Age: 24 | Pos: SF

PTS: 7.8 | REB: 3.9 | FG%: 45.7 | 3P%: 31.6

Hutchison emerged as a pre-draft darling for Blazers fans due to his connection to Damian Lillard back in 2018. But the Bulls snagged the former Boise State standout at pick No. 22 on the night of the draft, two selections ahead of Anfernee Simons. Now two seasons into his career, Hutchison has yet to find firm ground in Chicago. He has appeared in just 72 games (24 starts) over two seasons and the Bulls could be looking to change direction under coach Billy Donovan.

For the Blazers, Hutchison’s potential is neatly tied to the position he plays. Buoyed by his 7-foot-1 wingspan, Hutchison has the measurements that Portland needs in the frontcourt. His limitations are clear, but the Blazers have survived with less-than-ideal floor spacers under coach Terry Stotts. A report NBC Sports Chicago hit on this point perfectly when evaluating Hutchison’s upside. In that report, Hutchison was compared to a pair of familiar faces.

Durability is the key to him realizing whatever his full potential is, and strides as a shooter and handler would unlock a lot for his slashing style. Calling his ceiling a more athletic Al-Farouq Aminu/Moe Harkless type feels about right. Given his age and all of the above considerations, it will be interesting to see what the new front office regime decides to do with his fourth-year option. That, and his role in 2020-21, could also hinge on who the Bulls select in the draft.

Hutchison’s ability to play multiple positions makes him an intriguing target for the Blazers if he becomes available for the right price.

D.J. Wilson

HT: 6’10” | WT: 231 | Age: 24 | Pos: PF

PTS: 3.6 | REB: 2.5 | FG%: 39.4 | FT%: 61.1

I know, I know, this isn’t the first time you’ve seen me suggest Wilson as a trade target. For the most part, my stance is mostly the same from my pre-deadline take.

Despite a lack of playing time, there is still a lot to like about Wilson’s potential upside, especially in the Blazers’ development system. Armed with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and quickness, Wilson has all the tools to do Aminu-like things on the defensive end. He was projected to blossom into a player that could put the ball on the floor coming out of Michigan, but those skills still need to be refined at the NBA level. From a shooting standpoint, Wilson must improve his consistency, a part of his game that has prevented him from playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Like the small forward position, the Blazers’ power forward rotation is not defined. Wilson still has a full year on his rookie deal, a window that could give Portland time to evaluate his potential fit in a competition with Zach Collins. If the Bucks look to shake things up, Wilson could emerge as a low-hanging trade target.

Kevin Knox

HT: 6’7” | WT: 215 | Age: 21 | Pos: F

PTS: 6.4 | REB: 2.8 | FG%: 35.9 | FT%: 65.3

To say Knox’s NBA career has gotten off to a slow start is an understatement. The former No. 9 selection in the 2018 NBA Draft has endured a roller coaster of coaching changes and roster transformations. That said, Knox’s raw skills at a position of need are simply too enticing to overlook. The Blazers could start to unlock Knox’s potential by placing him on solid ground in an organization with a proven track record of developing players. On the court, Knox could operate in a role similar to the one that Harkless held down during his tenure in Portland (slide to the dunker’s spot and focus on defense).

Of the all the players listed so far, landing Knox might be the most ambitious target for the Blazers. Knox’s agent, Aaron Turner, recently explained to SNY’s Ian Begley that he is bullish on Knox’s prospects under coach Tom Thibodeau’s guidance.

Malik Monk

HT: 6’3” | WT: 200 | Age: 22 | Pos: G

PTS: 10.3 | AST: 2.1 | FG%: 43.4 | 3P%: 28.4

Have you noticed a theme? Yes. Monk is another draft selection from the last three years that has not lived up to their respective expectations. That said, Monk has clearly started to turn a corner with the Hornets. Last season, he registered his first start and posted a career-high 10.3 points per game. More importantly, his field goal percentage rose above 40 percent for the first time in his career.

The Blazers already have a strong group of young guards, with the potential to add more depth on draft night, but Monk could be an interesting addition if the price is right. According to a report from Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, the Hornets started grooming Monk for a role as primary ball handler in their offseason camp. That is important for two reasons. First, Monk could push Simons for minutes at the backup point guard spot. The second part is tied to his potential availability in a discounted trade. If the Hornets land Russell Westbrook, Monk’s path to playing time during the final year of his rookie deal becomes extremely murky.


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