The Portland Trail Blazers are on the cusp of vying for a chance at a championship. But Championships are hard to come by in a league that’s overrun by superteams.
For the Blazers, a team that has fallen short of their goals the past couple of years, their recent string of misfortune will only pull them further from contention. Another year of mileage, injuries to key players and a competitive Western Conference will prove to be sizeable obstacles this upcoming season.
With one good move, however, the franchise could become top contenders in the West. These trade deals would be the ones to get them there.
4. Kevin Love
Cleveland is going young and Kevin Love does not align with their rebuilding plans. The former NBA champion should be chasing rings, not spending his days on a lottery team, and it’s why the Blazers should consider trading for him.
He would add veteran playoff experience and stretch the floor on offense with a roster that better fits his timeframe. A lineup of Kevin Love, Jusuf Nurkic, CJ McCollum, and Damian Lillard could easily win the West.
Portland, in return, could send a package including Hassan Whiteside, Zach Collins, Anfernee Simons, and picks. The Cavs would get a promising defensive anchor for their young team while Whiteside would provide an instant upgrade over Tristan Thompson at the starting 5 spot.
The Blazers Receive: Kevin Love
The Cavs Receive: Hassan Whiteside, Zach Collins, Anfernee Simons, a future first-round pick and a future second-round pick
3. Aaron Gordon
The Portland Trail Blazers are in the business for more versatility on both sides of the ball, and Aaron Gordon fits the bill as a high-flyer who can adequately guard 3 to 4 positions. They can play him at SF with Tolliver at the 4 or move Tolliver to the bench.
The Blazers would need to send quite a haul of players and picks to make salaries work, but a package surrounding Kent Bazemore and Zach Collins, Nassir Little, Skal Labissiere, Anfernee Simons and some draft pick should be enough to get the job done.
Orlando would get a good two-way wing in Bazemore, and a crop of highly promising young talents headlined by Zach Collins. This move would increase the Magic’s depth and give them an ability to run a bevy of different lineups.
A bench consisting of Anfernee Simons, Markelle Fultz, Evan Fournier, Al Farouq Aminu, Chuma Okeke, Khem Birch, Jonathan Isaac, and MCW is very deep and could lead to them not just making the playoffs, but possibly even winning a series.
The Blazers Receive: Aaron Gordon
The Magic Receive: Kent Bazemore, Zach Collins, Nassir Little, Skal Labissiere, Anfernee Simons, a future 1st round pick and a future second-round pick
2. Blake Griffin
The Pistons would have to see no ability to win with their present best talent in Blake Griffin and Griffin would probably have to want out of Detroit. Both are a possibility.
If they play their cards right, the Trail Blazers could be the ones to acquire Griffin. The fit in Portland could very well exist with Blake’s refined unselfishness and overall game. The Pistons have to be keen on receiving a package centered around Kent Bazemore, Zach Collins and Nassir Little with some picks. The Blazers, meanwhile, get a chance to contend for Championships for years to come.
Blake is a great talent, but is he enough to take Detroit all the way? This deal would essentially give them a chance to start over.
The Blazers Receive: Blake Griffin
The Pistons Receive: Zach Collins, Kent Bazemore, Nassir Little, a first-round pick and a second-round pick
1. LaMarcus Aldridge & DeMar DeRozan
Portland would have the best starting five in basketball if this trade went through. Jusuf Nurkic getting healthy is key, but Zach Collins is a stud that will be huge for them over the course of the season. Despite the flaws of the two Spurs’ stars, a potential starting lineup of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and a potentially healthy Nurkic could win the West and maybe even an NBA title.
Good teams stay complacent, but great teams will risk it all for the chance to be legitimate top dogs. For the Blazers, this is a risk worth taking.
Meanwhile, San Antonio could receive quite a package here — one that involves the chance to acquire a new starting big man in Hassan Whiteside (one of the better rebounders and rim protectors they’ve had since Timmy D). Additionally, Kent Bazemore is still young and has some potential.
With some of the best trainers in the NBA and Popovich’s genius mind, the Spurs could turn these guys into legitimate assets within a few years.
The Blazers Receive: LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan
The Spurs Receive: Hassan Whiteside, Kent Bazemore, Skal Labissiere, a 2020 first-round pick, and a 2024 first-round pick