The Portland Trail Blazers are open to trading Josh Hart and the Cleveland Cavaliers are a team to watch when it comes to a potential deal going down.
The Blazers have won two in a row but are coming off a stretch where they lost eight of ten games and tumbled down the Western Conference standings. While the team remains committed to trying to make the postseason with a group built around Damian Lillard, Hart and big man Jusuf Nurkic are two players the team is willing to shop, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
“Portland has given rival teams the impression that it is open to discussing the majority of its players, particularly Josh Hart and Jusuf Nurkic, sources said, as the franchise remains committed to building a playoff contender around Lillard,” Fischer reported.
For the Cavs, that’s good news, as Hart fits the mold of what they’re looking for in a veteran wing with starting experience. And they appear to be interested, per Chris Fedor of cleveland.com
“Cavs fans: Keep an eye on Josh Hart,” Fedor tweeted on Friday night, responding to the news of the Blazers being open to trading Hart and Nurkic.
Hart Carries Unique Contract Situation
Hart is a solid two-way player, starting 46 games for Portland this season. After notching nearly 20 points per game last season, he’s averaging 9.3 to go with 8.1 rebounds. For his career, Hart is a 34.5% shooter from beyond the arc, which could help add a much-needed element to the Cavs’ offensive attack.
Hart is making nearly $13 million this year and has a player-option awaiting in the offseason at the same number. However, that player option is unique in that it’s non-guaranteed, meaning whatever team he is on could choose to waive him with no impact on their books if he does choose to opt-in. Hart is expected to decline the option, per Fischer.
A Cavs trade for Hart was pitched by ESPN’s Bobby Marks recently that would send Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman and two second-round picks (2026 and 2028) to Portland for his services.
Cavs OK Standing Pat at Trade Deadline
After starting all but six games in his first two seasons, Okoro has seen less time on the court this year. The former top-five pick is averaging 20.2 minutes and 5.8 points per game. However, the Cavaliers like him as someone who fills a particular role.
“Isaac’s a really good basketball player,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said recently. “We’ve asked him to be in a specific role, but Isaac is good with the ball in his hands, he’s good at attacking close outs, beating the point of attack in those situations. He’s a really good passer. I think it’s just he’s accepted a role for the greater good of the team, where the ball is not in his hands as much, obviously because of the guys that we have around him. But Isaac’s a really good basketball player, and he’s capable of making all types of plays.”
That goes hand-in-hand with the sentiment that the Cavaliers don’t feel like they have to make a move to stay in the mix in the East. As of January 28, Cleveland is 30-21 and still within three games of the No. 2 seed Philadelphia 76ers.
Per Fedor: “Yes, there is a glaring need on the wing. Yes, there is interest in improving this spot, but I get the sense that they will be just fine moving forward with this team that they have and seeing how far this team that they have can go.”