The NBA season may be halted, but teams are still working behind the scenes to improve their situation when things finally return.
Considering their current reality, the Trail Blazers may be working harder than anyone else. After making an appearance in the Western Conference Finals a year ago, the team has been mired by injury, inconsistency, and poor chemistry throughout this entire 2019-20 campaign.
As things stand now, they are on the outside looking in on the playoff picture and a move inevitable at this point.
Though they have several options, their biggest trade chip is scoring guard CJ McCollum, who would help a lot of teams in need of shooting. One particular scenario pointed out by Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report involves a deal with the 76ers.
Portland Trail Blazers receive: Al Horford, Matisse Thybulle, 2020 second-round pick (via New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets)
Philadelphia 76ers receive: CJ McCollum
“If the Blazers use the top pick to replace CJ McCollum (with Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball), then this trade would beef up their frontcourt,” Bailey wrote. “Rookie Matisse Thybulle already looks like an elite defender (12th overall in FiveThirtyEight‘s defensive ratings). Al Horford’s ability to man the 4 or the 5 and play inside or out makes him a fit with any of Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins or Nassir Little. With one trade, Portland could jump from 27th in defensive efficiency into the upper half.”
For the Blazer,s it would dress their biggest weakness: defense. They rank 27th in that department and has been their bane all season long. While this deal may not most Blazer fans have in mind, it would surround Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic with depth and defensive-minded players.
Of course, the up-side for Philly is more noticeable. In CJ, they get a bonafide scorer and playmaker to pair with Simmons in the backcourt that should add some much-needed perimeter talent to the roster.
Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see what both teams are able to do in the months ahead.