The Portland Trail Blazers are on a travel day between games with the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks. They just lost to Indiana. More wins are probably forthcoming because of an easy stretch of schedule. Over it all looms the reality that the remainder of this season may not matter as much as the moves the team makes in free agency or trades in the Summer of 2020.
Whenever trades are discussed, big-name players lie at the center. Salary matching rules often sweep up ancillary players in multi-player deals. Some are talented, but young, players who enhance trade value. Others are “throw-ins”, included solely for salary purposes and subsequently cut by the receiving team.
The Blazers have several players at risk of being traded in this manner, or simply made obsolete by the latest free-agent signing. Today we’re going to give you a chance to argue why, or whether, the team should reserve these players, saying, “Hands Off!” to anyone who wants them thrown into a larger deal.
The first player in question is one of the bigger surprises of the season, Gary Trent Jr. The second-year guard is averaging 7.3 points per game in 19.3 minutes, shooting 40.6% from the three-point arc. He’s shown the ability to score in traffic, defend a little, and bull his way past increasingly-eager defenders. He’s signed through 2022, averaging a little under $2 million per season.
How far is Trent on your Do Not Touch meter? What argument would you make that the Blazers should retain him past the season even if other teams should come calling? Let us know in the comment section.