Over the next several weeks, the Portland Trail Blazers will be fielding calls and holding a lot of cards ahead of the league’s trade deadline.
The Blazers have seven expiring contracts ahead of this offseason, along with CJ McCollum, and could go in either direction as a buyer or a seller with Damian Lillard’s injury and the team sitting on the edge of the play-in tournament and lottery.
Here’s one trade each team in the Pacific Division could make with the Blazers:
Warriors acquire: Cody Zeller
Trail Blazers acquire: Nemanja Bjelica
The Warriors are likely to be one of the quieter teams at the deadline with every piece relatively fully healthy except for the center position. The one piece of the roster missing is a traditional center, which the team currently has in James Wiseman, but he’s been injured all season long.
Swapping Nemanja Bjelica for Cody Zeller is a small deal that guarantees the Warriors a veteran presence at the big spot. In return, the Blazers net a big man with some shooting range.
Clippers receive: Anfernee Simons, Tony Snell
Trail Blazers receive: Keon Johnson, Jason Preston, 2023 second-round pick, 2025 second-round pick (via DET)
The Clippers are a really difficult team to read because they are unsure of what direction to go in. In case they wish to be buyers, a trade for Anfernee Simons makes sense for them. Simons, a restricted free agent following the season, is due to make millions in free agency and the Blazers might not be able to afford him with Damian Lillard at the point position. Trading Simons now for two second-round picks and two seldom-used rookies is a decent haul for a player who could be on his way out of town.
Lakers receive: Jusuf Nurkic, Tony Snell
Trail Blazers receive: Kendrick Nunn, Talen Horton-Tucker, 2023 second-round pick, 2024 second-round pick (via MEM or WAS)
The Lakers are struggling and need to make a trade yesterday. Their package containing Kendrick Nunn and Talen Horton-Tucker isn’t appealing to most teams in the league, but I’ve tried to wedge it in as part of this exercise. If the Lakers can find a trade partner for Russell Westbrook, they can play more traditional basketball with a big man. That’s why expiring contract Jusuf Nurkic could be of value to the Lakers. In return, the Blazers snag Kendrick Nunn, Talen Horton-Tucker and two second-round picks. I know you’re scratching your head with this one, I am too. This trade has about a 0.0000000000001% chance of happening.
Suns receive: Robert Covington
Trail Blazers receive: Dario Saric, Jalen Smith
The Suns also find themselves as a bizarre player in the trade market as the team that holds the best record in the NBA. If the Suns were to pull off a move, it would likely come in a package with impending free agent big Jalen Smith and Dario Saric, who is recovering from an ACL tear. Robert Covington is also an impending free agent with playoff experience that could be a depth add to keep the Suns atop the Western Conference.
Kings receive: Robert Covington
Trail Blazers receive: Marvin Bagley III, 2022 second-round pick (via ATL)
We’ve talked about the prospects of the team acquiring Marvin Bagley in the past, and with the trade deadline fast approaching, it could be the time to pull the trigger. The Kings love to play fast, but it results in the league’s second-worst defense, tied with the Blazers and behind the Houston Rockets. If the Kings bring in Covington, it might not alter their defense drastically, but it would be an upgrade. Shipping Bagley back to Portland gives the team a young player with a lot of upside that can audition for a role on next year’s team.
Rip City, what do you think of these trade ideas? Chime off in the comments section below and drum up your own trades!