The Portland Trail Blazer made their 2nd deal of the trade deadline on Tuesday by sending C.J McCollum, Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell to New Orleans in exchange for Josh Hart, Thomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander Walker, Didi Louzada, 2022 protected 1st round pick and two 2nd round picks. Alexander-Walker was later flipped today in a 3 team trade. The trade made Alexander-Walker apart of the Jazz along with Juan Hernangomez. Joe Ingles will be a Portland Trail Blazer and so will Elijah Hughes from San Antonio. Portland will also get a 2022 2nd round pick from Utah and San Antonio will get a 2027 2nd round pick from Utah and Thomas Satoransky. This is a lot. This also doesn’t include the trade that sent Norman Powell and Robert Covington to the Clippers (learn more about that on a chasessportsnews.com article). What direction will the Blazers go in?
To see my thoughts on these trades, stay tuned for my Cool Sports Network episode that recaps the trade deadline either on Thursday or Friday!
Now, considering the Blazers are 21-34, 1.5 games back of the 10th seeded Pelicans, it would make sense for them to go into rebuild mode. Then, once they make these trades, you’d think it would be a done deal on the decision whether or not to go into rebuild mode. Well, they freed up a lot of cap space, usually what rebuilding teams want. However, in case you didn’t know, Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Zach Lavine and James Harden are free agents this offseason. Sounds like someone good to pair up with Damian Lillard who is still currently a Trail Blazer. Below is why I think, the Blazers could be still trying to contend with Lillard!
Now, Lillard has been extremely loyal to the Blazers. He has been with them every single year of his 10 year career. He has made 6 All Star games and has 6 All NBA appearances. The Blazers are in a very similar situation that the Wizards are in. Bradley Beal has also played 10 seasons in the league, all with the Wizards, and has made 3 All Star games and has only 1 All NBA appearance. Clearly Lillard is the more successful player. But, both organizations have tried everything they can to build around their star, The Blazers have gave Lillard LaMarcus Aldridge, C.J McCollum and also gotten some key role players to build a successful team. The Wizards have gave Bradley Beal John Wall, Russell Westbrook and team filled with depth. The furthest Lillard has went, a conference finals sweep. The furthest Beal has went, a 7 game 2nd round loss. For the Blazers and the Wizards, they eventually need to make the decision whether to keep going with their star or rebuild. But, ESPN reported something that caught my mind!
According to ESPN’s Adrian Worjnarowski, the Blazers traded McCollum, Powell, Covington, etc. to get more cap space and build around Damian Lillard. Now, we mentioned Lillard’s success. He even made the NBA All 75 team. But, he has not proven his ability to win. However, the Blazers haven’t gave him as much help. He has not had an All Star teammate since 2015. But, when your best player was regressing before he got injured and still trying to build around him might not make sense. But, the Blazers might want to give it 1 more try. However, it might be a Lillard problem, him not being able to be a #1. Now, the Blazers don’t have the cap space to add a Bradley Beal, James Harden type of player. The only way they can add an asset like that is if they do a sign and trade or pay a large luxury tax bill. Don’t get me wrong, rebuilding may be the right decision for the Blazers with a young, developing, Anfernee Simons and other promising pieces. But, the evidence shows, it looks like the Blazers will give Lillard a shot!
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