The Portland Trail Blazers are still trying to find their way at the outset of the 2021-22 NBA season. Holding a 6-7 overall record, mired in off-court controversy, the Blazers need a boost to their on-court product and spirit simultaneously.
Since the summer, pundits have been suggesting that a trade would cure many of Portland’s ills. If the deal added defense and thinned out a deep roster of score-first guards, all the better.
Like cavalry riding to the rescue, Jack Simone of HoopsHabit has included the Blazers in a list of hot trades that could shake up the season. Portland’s target would be a star forward who could address all of their needs in one fell swoop: Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors.
Simone suggests that the hot play of rookie Scottie Barnes could make Siakam more expendable to the Raptors than initially thought. He also considers Siakam a near-perfect fit in Portland:
The former NBA champion has been an All-NBA player, and also a solid, versatile defender for his whole career. That last point is the main reason Portland should try to deal for him.
Over the past few years, the Trailblazers have been one of the worst defensive teams in the league, and some could say it’s a big reason they haven’t been able to win with Damian Lillard.
Well, with Lillard rumors circulating now more than ever, this would be Portland’s final effort to help him win a ring. Siakam could play small-ball center for them as they transition to a more fast-paced style of play.
Damian Lillard trade rumors have become popular this fall, following Portland’s poor performance in the 2021 NBA Playoffs and a bumpy off-season. But Simone does not include Lillard in the deal. Nor does he toss in the even-more-frequently-mentioned CJ McCollum. Here’s the package Simone suggests for Siakam:
Trailblazers get Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Raptors get Jusuf Nurkic, Robert Covington, Anfernee Simons, Greg Brown III, Tony Snell, 2025 First-Round Pick
Theoretically, the Raptors would have to open up roster spots to make the exchange work. But with Nurkic and Covington on expiring contracts, the Blazers would lose only Simons and a pick for Siakam.
Toronto’s star forward has played only two games this season because of injury, but he averaged 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game over 56 appearances last year, shooting 45.5% from the field, 29.7% from the three-point arc.
Siakam is 27 years old and is scheduled to make $33 million this season. He has two years remaining on his deal, which will top out at $37.8 million in 2023-24.
Would this deal resurrect your morale and the Blazers’ season? Check out the rest of Simone’s trade suggestions here and comment below.