There’s still almost two months until February’s NBA Trade Deadline, but the speculation about what moves the Portland Trail Blazers need to make has already begun.
In a recent piece for Bleacher Report, Zach Buckley wrote three possible trade targets for general manager Joe Cronin to pursue and the list included a familiar name: Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby.
Connected to the Blazers heavily in trade talks leading up to last summer’s NBA Draft, Buckley argues Portland should jump back into discussions about the defensive stud’s availability. The Raptors are slumping this season with a 13-17 record and may elect to shake up their roster in response.
Buckley believes Anunoby would be the perfect fit alongside the versatile Jerami Grant, setting Damian Lillard up for a legitimate chance at contention during his 11th year in Portland.
After tanking through the second half of last season, Portland has planted itself right back in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. The Blazers might need some external assistance to make the last leap to title contention during the remainder of Damian Lillard’s prime, though.
They’d need to nab a difference-maker to justify paying an exorbitant trade cost, but Anunoby could be that player—if Toronto actually makes him available. He’s the big, two-way forward this roster needed for so long, and his ability to mix-and-match with Jerami Grant could give the Blazers one of the best forward tandems in the league.
If Anunoby is available on the trade market, it seems the Blazers would have competition to acquire his talents. Buckley listed Anunoby as an ideal trade target for three other teams.
Outside of Anunoby, Buckley listed two other names that have popped up in Blazer’s Edge articles lately: New York Knicks forward Cam Reddish and Orlando Magic reserve center Mo Bamba.
If Portland doesn’t want to spend that much, it could try kicking the tires on Reddish and seeing if this scenery change is the one where it finally clicks. Or it could go searching for another backup center behind Jusuf Nurkić to compete with or supplant Drew Eubanks.
What do you think, Rip City? Is now the time for the Blazers to push their chips in for Anunoby?