After their miraculous run to the Western Conference Finals a year ago, the Portland Trail Blazers were optimistic about their chances entering this season. Being forced to act as a result of the Jusuf Nurkic injury, the Blazers compiled a trade for Miami big man Hassan Whiteside that included some major pieces.
That, along with the acquisition of Kent Bazemore, convinced the Blazers that they could hold down the fort until their prized center came back healthy.
Unfortunately, the team has struggled mightily in the first months of the 2019-20 campaign, putting their 7-year playoff run in serious jeopardy. But, according to Yahoo! Sports Chris Haynes (who has close ties to Portland), the plan remains the same: they will eventually flip Whiteside and Bazemore ahead of February’s trade deadline.
Habershow clip: Yahoo! Sports’ @ChrisBHaynes on whether Blazers — now 15-22 and outside of top-8 in West — will make a trade to rally around Damian Lillard. Full episode: https://t.co/dDfNWpPXU7 pic.twitter.com/3OUioUgD2n
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) January 6, 2020
Indeed, with a record of 16-22, the Blazers’ situation is dire. Whiteside and Baze always seemed like placeholders for the team — just there to keep them floating in the West until the faithful return of Nurkic sometime in 2020.
Even with how well Whiteside has performed, the team’s struggles will likely only increase the likelihood of his exit.
Expect the Blazers to make a move sometime in the near future, if not for Dame, than to get something in return for Hassan — who is likely to leave as a free agent this summer anyway.