As the NBA trade deadline approaches and rumors ramp up, the Portland Trail Blazers now find themselves in the mix for a few different possible scenarios. But specifically, it seems that the Blazers are open and willing to move picks in order to bolster their roster for the homestretch of the season. They’ve already been linked to a few big names, but two worth monitoring could be Otto Porter and Aaron Gordon.
While the Washington Wizards all but shut down the idea of moving Porter previously, that doesn’t mean a strong enough offer couldn’t entice them to have a change of heart. Whether or not they do wind up blinking is a big question, but we’ll prepare as if it’s a possibility.
On the other side, there’s the Orlando Magic’s athletic freak in Gordon. While the chatter around him hasn’t been as talked about as Porter, ESPN’s Zach Lowe made an interesting point on his status in a recent article.
A player-centric version of this question that is fun to bat around with executives and agents: Who might be available — or at least gettable — that we don’t expect? I keep coming back to Aaron Gordon. The Magic designed his descending contract to make him ultra-tradable. Like Vucevic, he just doesn’t fit a long-term vision that has Bamba and Isaac starting.
It’s a valid point by Lowe. If the Magic view Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba as the future starters (it seems they do) then Gordon becomes expendable. So, could he be moved at the February 7 deadline? That’s the big question.
We’ll prepare for all scenarios, though, so let’s check out trade packages the Blazers could put together for both players which could be of interest.
*All deals created with the ESPN NBA Trade Machine.
Blazers Move Trio of Young Forwards in Otto Porter Trade
If we’re being honest here, how the Blazers view both Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless is going to be a big part of this. But even more important is how the Wizards view the two forwards. Both players have upside and can provide a decent amount on both ends of the floor. This is a pretty solid pull for the Wizards, assuming they like the duo.
Meyers Leonard is a player who hasn’t been all that productive to this point in his career, but the Wizards need depth on the front line and he’d provide that. I also think Leonard going to a less-crowded frontcourt could benefit him in a big way. I like how this would work for both sides, especially if Harkless and Leonard can hit their stride.
Blazers Build Pick-Heavy Trade for Aaron Gordon
*Blazers trade two first-round picks (one protected) to Magic
Zach Lowe detailed in the same ESPN story above that the Blazers have “put their first-round pick in play” when it comes to possible trades. Not only does it get used here, but the team adds one more first-rounder in a deal that bolsters their outlook both this season and beyond.
Aaron Gordon has the type of upside and playmaking ability to ease the pressure off Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. Their starting five would immediately look scary on paper, and they’d add Terrence Ross as a go-to option off the bench. The big issue with this trade stems from the Magic’s viewpoint of the players coming back.
While the aforementioned Aminu and Harkless offer a decent amount of value, Seth Curry would likely be a rental player, unless Orlando opts to keep him. Evan Turner has been hit-or-miss throughout his career, but can provide scoring off the bench and has flashed upside. Another option for both sides could be to take Ross and one Blazers player out of the deal, along with the protected pick, and work out a smaller package.