Portland Trail Blazers: 4 potential trades to improve at the wing

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
4 of 5
Portland Trail Blazers
Nicolas Batum #88 of the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The potential family reunion

While many around the league consider his contract an undesirable albatross, there may still be a little love in the hearts of Portland fans for former Trail Blazer Nic Batum.

Rodney Hood gets buckets. Kent Bazemore plays stout defense. The biggest problem facing the Blazers at the moment is that neither player does both. If the Portland Trail Blazers wish to find a player that can do both without sacrificing their young core, they need look no further than a list of the organization’s very own alumnus.

While Batum might get crucified by the media for his exorbitant contract, is it his fault Charlotte offered him $120 million. Nic is an experienced veteran that plays above average defense and is a dependable three-point shooter. That depiction sounds exactly like what the Blazers have been searching for, and he wouldn’t cost a king’s ransom.

In fact, the Blazers could probably force Charlotte to give a few picks, as consolidation for the $52.7 million he’s owed over the course of the next two years. Hassan Whiteside is an exciting player that could help sell tickets while the Hornets are alleviated from their financial burden, and Willy Hernangómez makes for an acceptable backup center — certainly an upgrade over Pau Gasol.

As long as Batum continues to excel as an off-ball player, hitting 38.9 percent of his 3-point shots on 4 attempts per game last year and playing good enough defense to warrant being in the conversation for an All-Defensive team.

Of course, it would also be pretty satisfying to see Batum live out the remainder of his prime with the Blazers on a reunion trip. After his albatross contract expires, Portland could potentially even retain him for dirt cheap and pave the road for him to retire as a Blazer fan favorite.