The Perfect 2023 Blazers Offseason

Last year I published a post titled "The Perfect 2022 Blazers Offseason," and in it I outlined the following moves I thought the Blazers should make during the 2022 offseason:

1) Trade for Jerami Grant

2) Draft Shaedon Sharpe

3) Trade for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope using the TPE we had last year

4) Use our MLE to sign Kevon Looney as our backup big.

Not to congratulate myself too much, but the first two the team actually did and look to have been the right moves, and if they'd done the other two it might be us who was still playing today.

So, I've thought a lot about what the Blazers should do this summer (my family says probably too much), and after considering a variety of scenarios I think I'm ready to outline what I believe would be the "perfect 2023 Blazers offseason."

To start with, I must fully admit that I'm a Dame guy. I'll ride or die with him, which I know will disqualify everything else I'm about to say for about half of you. But, I just fundamentally believe that we should make every effort to build an actual contender around him before trading away the best Blazer I've had the good fortune of watching (too young to speak on Walton). With that said, I'm also a huge believer in the draft and the value in having players that are outperforming their contract. Outside of the Jokic's of the world, this has most often meant picking near the top of the draft. The more Shaedon's we can have on our team the better (I know! Hot take!). But, as I'll demonstrate, these two things aren't mutually exclusive.

I also believe that the most valuable traits in a player are positional size, competitiveness, and court awareness. Being a former collegiate player myself, as well as a coach at the high school level, I understand implicitly the value in having guys that compete at a very high level and can process the game rapidly at both ends of the court, especially when those are packaged with someone who can overwhelm you with size.

This was so apparent when watching us play against a team like the Bucks last year. Sharing the court with them looked like it was the freshman squad versus the varsity team. We were so tiny comparatively that, outside of a Dame nuclear event, we were just never going to have a chance at being competitive.

A couple other things must be considered. First, the new CBA is effectively going to serve as a hard cap for all but the most profligate spenders. However, a few of the most honerous provisions don't fully bake in until next offseason. So, we have a bit of a window to go for it this offseason before accepting the full ramifications of that decision next year. Speaking of those full ramifications, I think any transactions also have to leave you with "outs" to escape the full brunt of the imposed roster building restrictions, if it proved necessary. Meaning we still need to have assets we could get real value for if we had to backtrack.

Alright, enough prologue, let's get to it. Here is the deal: Portland engages Orlando, Phoenix, and Toronto in a four team trade with the following moving parts:

Portland gets: Pascal Siakam, Deandre Ayton, #11

Phoenix gets: Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Harris, Kevin Knox, #13

Toronto gets: Jalen Suggs, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, #3

Orlando gets: Anfernee Simons

Yes, it's a lot of moving parts and it may actually need to be separate transactions, but I believe it's all legal and works salary wise. I also think it's a classic "all sides feel like they gave up too much, which means it's probably about right value for everyone" type of trade.

As a result, we have upgraded our talent at two positions in the starting lineup and still have multiple bites at the draft apple, including two lottery picks, as well as our MLE to upgrade our depth. We're also huge, across all five positions. Even Dame is fairly big for a point guard.

With those picks you take Cason Wallace at #11, Derrick Lively at #14, and Olivier Maxence Spencer at #43. Only Wallace would be in the opening day rotation.

We then re-sign Grant, Thybulle, and Eubanks, and with our MLE we go after a veteran wing like Torrey Craig (the free agent market is garbage this year).

In the end, the new roster looks like this:






Note: I think Matisse makes the most sense as a starter with that group, as he can be the point of attack defender next to Dame, but Shaedon will end up playing a majority of the 2-guard minutes.

Yes, that's a very expensive team that would be well into the tax, but if we ventured back in time two years and I told you we could have a starting lineup of Dame, Matisse, Grant, Siakam, and Ayton, with a young and supremely athletic Brandon Roy (Sharpe) as our 6th man and a young Jrue Holiday (Wallace) and Tyson Chandler (Lively) on the bench as well, and all we'd have to give up was Anfernee Simons, Nurk, the #3 pick, some salary filler, and some of the Allen Family Trust money in tax payouts, I assume the vast majority of you'd ask where to sign.

I think this gives Cronin and Jody a year to assess the situation and decide whether to continue down the path of competing with Dame (which would entail resigning Siakam, as ridiculously expensive as that would be), or blowing the whole thing up to see what you can get for Dame, Grant, and Siakam (in a sign and trade) next offseason. I also think it takes advantage of a time in the NBA where there's no truly dominant team (a #7 and a #8 seed were 2/4ths of the conference finalists this year). As good as I think Denver is, I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that the lineup outlined above would at least have a reasonable chance against them in a seven game series.

So, what say you Blazersedgers? For those with critiques, I welcome you! All I ask is that you actually be willing to intellectually engage, rather than just say some variant of "your stupid, your proposal is stupid," as that just shuts down all potential for productive back and forth. I look forward to engaging with you in the comments.