The Trail Blazers landed promising guard Norman Powell on Thursday, but the Nuggets’ ability to add Aaron Gordon casts a shadow over Portland’s deadline dealings. Following yesterday’s action, CBS Sports NBA analyst Brad Botkin highlighted the Blazers’ failed pursuit of the talented Magic forward.
The crux of Botkin’s argument is tied to two things: Gordon would have offered a significantly larger boost to the Blazers’ postseason chances and that Portland could have put together an offer that would have rivaled Denver’s package.
The Blazers survive, relatively speaking, because McCollum and Lillard are two of the best tough-shot makers in the world, and Powell will add to this dynamic of elite self-created offense. But as good as Powell has become, backcourt creation is the one thing the Blazers didn’t need.
Gordon would have made things so much easier from an offensive flow and versatility standpoint, not to mention the defense, and he was seemingly there for the taking. The Nuggets got Gordon for Gary Harris, RJ Hampton and a 2025 first-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. You look at what the Blazers gave Toronto for Powell, and it’s not difficult to conceive a better offer for Gordon than Denver put forward.
Botkin elaborated on a hypothetical trade package that the Blazers could have offered for Gordon’s services.
For starters, Trent is better than Harris. From there, the Blazers could’ve included Hood and Zach Collins, who is a really good young player if he can get healthy next season. If the Magic wanted a super young asset, which is to say if Hampton was really the enticing piece, Anfernee Simons or Nassir Little could’ve been included. Portland’s first-round picks, based on where each franchise stands at the moment, will be at least as valuable as Denver’s in 2025, if not more as their core is on an older timeline.
Botkin also explained that there is no way of knowing exactly how the conversation unfolded between the Magic and Blazers.
In the weeks leading into the trade deadline, the Blazers emerged as a rumored suitor for Gordon. As Thursday inched closer, reports surfaced that talks between Orlando and Portland had stalled—implying that there was real conversations between the two sides at one point.
Gordon, who is now with the Nuggets, is under contract through the 2021-22 season (his final year does not contain a player option). This season, the 25-year-old forward is averaging 14.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
You can read the full analysis from Botkin at CBS Sports.