There is still over a month until the 2021 NBA trade deadline on March 25th, but some players are already being shopped. Buyouts are being discussed. Who should the Blazers go after, if anyone.
The Blazers are sitting perilously close to the luxury tax. The Blazers could sign a buyout player to a pro-rata vet min. They do have an open roster space. With all the injuries they have suffered, they could use another body.
Trading for another player could be tricky. It could hamper the Blazers chemistry. Despite playing shorthanded, they have found a cohesiveness they were missing earlier in the season. Trading someone now before McCollum or Nurkic return from injury might be a costly mistake. Maybe they should stay pat and see how the season comes together. Thing is with Trent Jr becoming a free agent this offseason, the Blazers will need to make moves now or after the season to make room if they want to be able to resign him.
If there is a player who will make the team better though you can bet Neil will be willing to make the deal. The Blazers lack of space hurts their ability to take on multiple players in a deal unless they take multiple players back. If they trade several cheaper contracts for a larger one that evens out, there won’t be enough money to sign players to several open spots, leaving them more shorthanded.
So, let’s look some options for buyouts and trades for the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Spurs big man has said he wants to return to Portland to finish his career with Damian Lillard. The Blazers won’t be able to nor should they trade for him with his $24 million contract. But, if the Spurs decide to buy him out the Blazers should jump at the chance to sign him on the cheap.
There are still alot of Blazer fans mad at him for leaving Portland the way he did after saying he would be a Blazer forever. He could have and probably should have handled that differently, but you can’t fat the guy for wanting to be close to his ailing mother.
I include Griffin because the likelyhood of the Blazers snagging him after he negotiates a buyout with Detroit and it will be a buyout. No one is going to trade for the highly overpaid broken down re-animated corpse of Blake Griffin. If any GM does, they should be immediately fired.
Blazers GM Neil Olshey drafted Griffin back with the Clippers and is close with him. There have been many past rumors of Olshey targeting Griffin. It wouldn’t surprise me after the buyout if Neil calls Griffin and offers in a spot on the Blazers roster for the vet min.
I don’t like it. Griffin has only continued to deteriorate since being traded to Detroit. His knees are shot, he can’t run, and he hasn’t dunked in an NBA game since 2019. He is a shadow of the star player he once was. But, don’t be surprised his Neil brings Griffin to Portland.
Whether it is having been stuck on losing teams for so long or a bit of age, Drummond game has dropped. The Cavs are shopping him and its possible he will be traded. But, if he reaches a buyout the Blazers could get him for cheap and anchor a front court that has faced Injuries and a lackluster showing from Harry Giles. It is likely if he gets bought out, he will go to the Nets, but you never know. Maybe all he needs is to join a winner to get his groove back, and if you can do it for cheap why not.
Hill is ill fitting on a rebuilding Thunder team that will look to trade him at the deadline. His $9.5 million contract is probably more than Portland wants to trade for as only Jones Jr or Covingtons contracts matchup. But, if the Thunder can’t trade him, a buyout might be in order. If the Blazers could get him for the vet min he could lead the Blazers bench giving CJ McCollum more time to rest.
This move may be unlikely because Olshey sees Anfernee Simons as the Blazers back up point guard.
The Rockets are rebuilding after trading James Harden. They are looking to the future and may trade the $7.9 million expiring contract of PJ Tucker at the deadline. If the Blazers were doubtful about the future of Zach Collins, they move him along with say Little for Tucker and a future pick. Or if the Blazers were inclined to trade CJ while his stock is up, a CJ for Oladipo and Tucker deal could be had.
Belica’s $7.1 million contract is expiring. The Blazers coukd move the Uncertainty of Zach Collins and Little for him as well. He is a career 39% three point shooter and has shot above 40% for three out of his six seasons in the league.
If the Blazers are looking to move CJ McCollum. A straight up trade for Bradley Beal might be in the Blazers interested. He could offer something a bit different alongside Lillard and not cost the Blazers any star power. The Wizards will likely be looking to trade him at the deadline.