The NBA universe is heaping praise on the Portland Trail Blazers after the team prudently used trades and free agency to reinforce its roster over the past seven days.
In the last week, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey has added Robert Covington and Enes Kanter via trade, re-signed Rodney Hood and Carmelo Anthony and brought in free agents Derrick Jones Jr. and Harry Giles III. The team also took Washington State wing CJ Elleby with the No. 46 pick in Wednesday night’s draft.
The Ringer’s Justin Verrier credited Portland’s offseason as a stealth league best, plugging defensive holes and deepening its bench through a list of shrewd moves. Verrier said the Blazers’ roster was now the most talented it had been in years thanks to the additions and anticipated internal growth from Gary Trent Jr., Anfernee Simons and Zach Collins.
“The Trail Blazers are quietly winning the offseason.”
“After scrounging through the lost-and-found last season for any small forward who can both shoot or defend, the Blazers traded for Robert Covington, the patron saint of the 3-and-D wing.”
“They got Derrick Jones Jr., a pogo stick that the Heat helped mold into a real player, and they brought back Rodney Hood and Enes Kanter, two cogs of the 2019 Western Conference finals team.”
“The Blazers may have not only the most talented team since Damian Lillard stepped out of LaMarcus Aldridge’s shadow, but also the deepest, with young studs like Gary Trent Jr., Anfernee Simons, and Zach Collins still only scratching the surface of their potential.”
ESPN’s Bobby Marks also gave the Blazers an A+ offseason, calling them the second best team in the Western Conference. He also gave Portland’s newest additions and re-signings their own nickname, reflecting the amount of money it took to get them to the Pacific Northwest.
“I’ve got them the number two team in the Western Conference right now. They get an A+ for the offseason. I know we don’t give trophies for the offseason but they’re getting it from me.”
“This is what I call them, I call them the $40 million club - Kanter and Covington in trade, free agents Hood, Anthony, Jones and of course Harry Giles.”
“Where I see them, this is a top four team in the Western Conference.”
On the team that has had the best offseason:— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) November 23, 2020
The Portland Trail Blazers pic.twitter.com/U6G2xuX77M
Salaries for the six players next season include Covington ($12.1 million), Hood ($10 million), Jones Jr ($9.3 million), Kanter ($5 million), Giles ($1.6 million) and Anthony ($1.6 million), totalling $39.7 million.
Following last week’s trade for Robert Covington, The Jump’s Kendrick Perkins also suggested the Blazers could finish at the top of the Western Conference next season.