The February 7th, NBA trade deadline is a week away. Rumors abound. New Orleans Pelicans star player Anthony Davis wants out. The Blazers will make a play for him. They have too. Actually getting him is another thing.
Davis is a top 10 player in the league. Trading for him will be expensive. Do the Blazers have the assets? Do they have the guts to take the risk? Are they even in the running? Don’t hold your breath.
Blazers general manager Neil Olshey has reached out, and he has to. It is an opportunity that can’t be passed up. The Blazers should go all in. Everyone not named Damian Lillard made available, along with an assortment of picks. Step right up.
The problem, Davis wants to go to a perennial winner, a team that has the ability to go all the way. While the Blazers have the first condition down, they have been to the playoffs 36 of their 49 seasons, including a 21 year streak, and appearances in the last 5 consecutive seasons, the that 2nd part, winning a championship has been elusive. The Blazers last went all the way in the 1976-77 season. That 42 year window will not leave Davis impressed.
Portland as currently constructed won’t get far in the playoffs. They need more help. They are still young and their roster is flawed. Internal development is necessary, especially with a small market team. But, even with the development of their current players, it won’t be enough. The Blazers need more. If they want a trophy within Damian Lillard’s window, they need to take risks.
Even after trading for Davis, if they luck out, they might not have all the pieces, depending on who is moved for him. They would probably have to sell the farm. CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic have both been mentioned, along with a slew of bench players in an outgoing deal, along with numerous picks. Who would be left? Would the Blazers be good enough that Davis would sign an extension? He is good friends with Lillard. How far that goes towards getting and keeping Davis here, well, your guess is as good as mine.
Rich Paul, Davis’s agent is also the agent of Lebron James. James wants Davis in Los Angeles. This sudden announcement has funny written all over it. And, not the laughing kind. If it is all a play to get Davis to the Lakers, then the Blazers have little chance in trading for him. It makes sense for Davis to go to a large market, if he wishes to finally win a ring.
While Boston can offer the best deal, they have to first trade or resign Kyrie Irving this summer. While the Pelican’s can wait, they are feeling more pressure to make a move. The Lakers can offer them role players and draft picks, not an extensively attractive package to say the least.
There are few other teams that have a chance at winning a ring. Houston could trade Capella, filler, and picks, again not the best offer the Pelicans can manage. New York could move Porzingis, and give Davis, the promise of going after Durant in the summer. Not sure Davis will buy it.
The Pelican’s don’t have a lot of options. Their decision will be dictated, by what direction they want to go in. They have some hard choices to make. CJ McCollum Jusuf Nurkic, filler, and picks wouldn’t be a bad get for them, certainly they could do worse.
There are also rumors Neil Olshey is pressing hard for Marc Gasol. Trading for him only makes sense if Nurkic is traded 1st. A $24 million backup center would put the Blazers further into the tax. If Neil is preparing to trade Nurkic in a package for Davis, Gasol would be a good replacement. JaMychal Green’s and Garrett Temple’s names have also been tossed around.
It could be Neil Olshey is covering his bases. Maybe he knows it is inevitable Davis will be traded to the Lakers, Warriors, or Celtics, and is trying to play middle man to secure the collateral damage of this upcoming blockbuster. Maybe he has his eyes on Nikola Mirotic, Julius Randle, etc. It could prove to be a crafty way to move Turner and Leonard, whose contracts are far from pretty. Maybe he is trying to get Memphis to help facilitate a deal, where Gasol would go to New Orleans.
Who knows. It is all conjecture until a move actually happens. Getting Davis is a long shot if anything. Let’s hope Olshey and the Blazers take the risk. They can maintain +.500 seasons and first round exits or they can gamble for something more. You can’t win if you don’t play.