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Blazers’ Early Trade Deadline Return Not Favorable

The Portland Trail Blazers trading Josh Hart has not worked out swimmingly for them in the month since the deal.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers needed to make a move at the 2023 NBA trade deadline and were able to move Josh Hart to the New York Knicks in exchange for Cam Reddish, Ryan Arcidiacono, Svi Myhailiuk and a 2023 lottery-protected first round pick.

How good was the trade for Rip City, though?

Bleacher Report NBA Staff doubled back on their initial grades of every marquee move made prior to the Feb. 9 deadline, and gave the Blazers’ transaction a C-plus:

“Cam Reddish has delivered some nice moments on offense for Portland. For starters, he’s actually in the rotation. He’s also downing 55.6 percent of his twos and 39.3 percent of his threes while displaying less tunnel vision with the ball in his hands,” B/R NBA staff said.

“Picking up a 23-year-old, soon-to-be restricted free agent and what projects as a bottom-eight first-rounder for a player whom the Blazers likely would have let walk anyway is fair-weather value. It is not a home run.

Jokes about Hart’s reticence to shoot threes aside, do we just give Portland a pass for not wanting to pay him? Reddish will be cheaper if the Blazers keep him, which they might not. He’s also a much less well-rounded player who can’t hold a candle to Hart’s defense.”

Reddish, 23, is in the midst of career-high productivity, albeit a small 11-game sample size. He has started 10 games for Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups, and is producing 13.8 points and 1.4 steals per night on 45.6 percent shooting from the field, 39.1 percent shooting from the three-point line and an excellent 88.5 percent from the charity stripe.

Much of Reddish’s 30.3 minutes per contest come at the fortune (or lack thereof) of a somewhat depleted Blazers roster, which have seen Anfernee Simons and Justise Winslow miss extended time at the wing positions since the All-Star break. However, Reddish did start his first two games in Portland alongside Simons.

Hart may be more sound defensively, as well as on the glass, but does not possess the upside that Reddish does. Despite being indecisive with the ball at times, with what the NBA staff labeled “tunnel vision,” Reddish has shown an aptitude for scoring the basketball, and he didn’t come alone.

Arcidiacono provides playmaking off the bench. How much of that playmaking will be put on display remains to be seen, but he remains a smart player who makes informed reads.

Not to mention, the 2023 lottery-protected first round pick that the Blazers now have hanging halfway out of their back pocket, added to a likely lottery pick waiting in the wings could yield rewarding fruit. A slew of players not named Victor Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson figure to make this draft class among the best in history.

Reddish’s development will be of paramount importance in assessing the true value of the trade. Coach Billups will have to manage egos and ball movement, as Portland’s projected starting five all have much need for the ball in their hands.