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Should the Trail Blazers Keep Wenyen Gabriel?

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He’s quickly becoming a fan favorite in Portland because of eager defense. Would you put Gabriel on Portland’s “must keep” list for young players next year?

NBA: Boston Celtics at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

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 next player on our list is Wenyen Gabriel, of whom Kyle Garcia sang praises earlier today. The 6’9 forward is averaging 2.1 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in 8.9 minutes, but has drawn attention for his energy and defense. He has a player option next season at $1.9 million.

Based on what you’ve seen, how high is Gabriel 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.