The Blazers did exceptionally well last season by reaching the Western Conference Finals to play the Warriors. They were bounced out of the playoffs shortly after, but this was a sign that this team is very capable of going deep into the postseason. Coming into this season they seemed primed for another run with the return of their All-Star backcourt and even nice additions including Kent Bazemore, Hassan Whiteside, and newly added veteran Carmelo Anthony.
But the Blazers have struggled so far this season, even if it is quite early. They seem to have lost their defensive depth with the departures of Mo Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu. Whiteside is also being blasted as lazy and unmotivated while Nurkic is still recovering from injury. The team need help, and the signing of Carmelo Anthony may not be enough to get them over the edge.
The Blazers can offer a mix of Hassan Whiteside (expiring contract), Zach Collins (nice young player), Kent Bazemore (expiring contract), and Anfernee Simmons (young player with promise). Not to mention, they have first-round picks in case they want to go all-in and try to win it this season.
Here are the best players available for them right now.
Aldridge has made it known that he would like to play at some point in Portland before his career ends, and honesty he always belonged there. It is where he made his name and where he legitimately played like a superstar player for quite a few seasons. Going back there would form a big 3 that could challenge the best of the West including the Lakers and Clippers.
Aldridge has a solid inside game and a wonderful mid-range game that can give Lillard and McCollum plenty of help on the offensive end of the floor. Instead of doing everything, they can dump it down to Aldridge and spot up for easy shots.
Kevin Love is a player who helps you win games, thanks to his excellent skill set that is perfect with the modern NBA game. Love can spread the floor, rebound the basketball, and is even a good passer. Much like Aldridge, Love can take the ball and initiate the offense down low. When it is not there for him, he can spot up for open jumpers as one of the best shooting big men in the league.
Love fits perfectly next to a returning Nurkic and will spread the floor and also help the big man rebound the basketball. They will also form a perfect tandem with Lillard and CJ, as they can field 3 above average shooters from the perimeter.
The Cavs look to be in ranking mode, so Love is a very viable option for the Blazers.
Griffin is an outstanding power forward and has developed into a consistent All-Star. He can score, rebound, pass, and even defend the rim. When he is happy and motivated, Griffin can be an absolute force on the offensive end. The former high flying dunker has molded his game into a very efficient shooting big man, too. He has a respectable jumper and cannot be left alone outside as often as he used to be.
Griffin will bring toughness, scoring, and a varied skill set to join CJ and Lillard. This would form another great big 3 and a shot to challenge some of the better teams in the league. If Griffin starts getting fed up in Detroit, who do not look to be going anywhere, the Blazers should offer the Pistons a nice package to bring him over.
Out of all the available big men, Draymond Green might be the best target. He is a champion, a player who was built from hard work and dedication, and a defensive genius. Adding Green would bolster the Blazers’ defense tremendously, and give them a small ball five similar to how the Warriors would deploy. Green would be the third wheel once again with CJ and Dame, almost re-creating the Warriors Dynasty.
Green can really do it all on the court, including providing leadership and defensive tenacity to a team looking for it right now. Green is also very effective at passing the ball, rebounding, and finishing at the rim at a high rate. The Blazers would do a tremendous job if they were able to acquire Green from the struggling Warriors right now.
In case the trades fall through, or even if the trade does go through, they should add one (or both) of these high-quality free agents to bolster their depth.
Crawford can still put the ball in the basket at a high rate, even as he aged. Crawford is quite simply a professional scorer who has proven he can perform in big moments. Most recently, he dropped 50 last season despite being a bench player for the majority of the past few seasons.
He can certainly help the depth of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Lastly, Melo can be a major help for a team that needs bench scoring and depth. Anthony can probably still score 20 in his sleep, even if he’s been out of the league for a while now. There is no harm in giving him a chance to showcase his talents and try out for them since a guy who can create his own shot is always a plus.