Now that 2022 is in the rearview, what is the Portland Trail Blazers’ biggest regret of the calendar year? Dan Favale of Bleacher Report thinks he has the answer.
In a recent piece that poses the question for every NBA team, Favale cites Portland’s inability to secure one more 2022 first-round pick during last season’s roster reset.
Portland gave up CJ McCollum, Larry Nance Jr., Norman Powell and Robert Covington without snaring an additional 2022 first-rounder—an asset it could have kept to add developmental depth or rerouted as part of another upgrade.
While Favale questions the return from New Orleans for the CJ McCollum trade package, he has a bigger gripe with the trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. In that February deal, Portland sent off starters Norman Powell and Robert Covington for a return of Keon Johnson, Justise Winslow, a few months of Eric Bledsoe (who never played) and a 2025 second-round pick from Detroit.
Missing out on the pick from New Orleans didn’t hurt. The Blazers still carved out a massive trade exception and picked up Milwaukee’s 2025 first-rounder, which they parlayed into Jerami Grant. Was that enough? When you were sending NOLA two players it was interested in extending?
Portland’s return on Covington and Powell is tougher to embrace. General manager Joe Cronin wouldn’t purposely accept below-market value. Acquiring a Detroit 2025 second-rounder and Keon Johnson as primary compensation is a reflection of how the league felt about Powell’s contract more than anything. But his market, specifically, could have increased over the offseason if they shut him down and he didn’t end up suffering the left foot injury he did in L.A. Months later, that move continues to feel like an inessential sell-low play.
Both trades were controversial at the time, though the New Orleans deal has been sweetened in hindsight with the emergence of Grant and Josh Hart’s key role in the rotation. The trade with the Clippers remains the more suspect of the two deals. General manager Joe Cronin cited a need to clean up the franchise’s financial books and secure flexibility as reasoning for the trade. But did he sell too quickly and too low, as Favale suggests?
Do you agree with Favale’s assessment of the Blazers’ biggest regret of 2022?