The Trail Blazers are headed towards next month’s trade deadline with a limited amount of flexibility according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. On Thursday, Marks provided a rundown of the options that each team has as the deadline approaches. For the Blazers, Marks pointed to Portland’s established pillars and meager trade assets outside of that group.
In his analysis of the Blazers’ trade assets, Marks explained that Portland’s options are thin once you get past Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic.
Damian Lillard is not going anywhere, and his backcourt companion CJ McCollum was playing like an All-Star before suffering a stress fracture in his left foot in mid-January. Both players are under contract through the 2023-24 season.
Center Jusuf Nurkic is injured but on a $12.8 million contract that ranks 17th among starting centers.
That leaves the Trail Blazers with a combination of Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr., Enes Kanter, Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood. The salary for each of the five players is below $12 million. Trent is set to become a restricted free agent, and Kanter is on the final year of his deal. The others are under contract for 2021-22.
Marks then turned his attention to Zach Collins’ diminished trade value and the Blazers’ lack of a moveable first-round pick.
Their most prized trade asset, Zach Collins, has played only 11 games since the start of 2019-20 and is recovering from surgery on a broken left ankle. He is a restricted free agent in the offseason.
As for draft assets, Portland cannot trade a first in any season and only has a second in 2022 and 2026.
Collins, who was selected with the No. 10 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, has appeared in just 11 regular season games in since the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. Now headed towards restricted free agency in the 2021 offseason, Collins is expected to miss even more time as he recovers from surgery.
The Blazers’ lack of a first-round pick stems from the offseason trade that sent draft compensation and Trevor Ariza to the Rockets in exchange for Robert Covington. Portland’s 2021 pick is lottery protected and owed to Houston. Until that pick is conveyed, backup protections are required—hindering the Blazers’ ability to trade a first-round pick at this deadline.
You can read Marks’ complete analysis at ESPN+ (subscription required).