Three trades to make the Portland Trail Blazers a true contender

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - FEBRUARY 22: Jrue Holiday #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 22, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - FEBRUARY 22: Jrue Holiday #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 22, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Trevor Ariza and Anfernee Simons for Aaron Gordon

The Trail Blazers need to get their longterm forward of the future. In Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, they could get their hands on a six-foot-eight athlete who has never really been in a great situation.

Gordon is just 24, but has been on the dysfunctional Magic for five years now. He has been played out of position, had numerous coaching and front office changes, and has only showed flashes of his clear potential.

Gordon is one of the most athletic players in the league and although it hasn’t developed at the pace some fans would like, he has amazing skill for his size. He is great passer from the four position, while also being able to defend multiple positions.

Gordon has only been on bad offenses in Orlando, never really operating with the space to maximise his physical gifts. On the Blazers he would fit in well between the three and four, with the potential to be a longterm three if his shooting developed.

The Blazers don’t have a lot of athleticism currently so Gordon would be a welcome addition. He could defend the best wings, and he is a great rebounder.

The Magic are in a salary bind where they have 122 million committed to eleven players for 2021. In returning a first-round pick for Gordon as well as Anfernee Simons, they get a couple of bites at the apple in terms of trying to improve their offense, and build around franchise player Jonathan Issac.

The big men positions are crammed at the moment for the Magic with Nikola Vucevic, Issac and Mo Bamba all contending with Gordon for minutes in the front-court.

They can clear longterm salary by bringing in Ariza, and then maybe re-sign him later as they would have his early bird rights.

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The Blazers need to take some risks to improve their team before it’s too late. All three of these trades have some risk, but they present an opportunity for this team to get better in terms of fit.

With some contract flexibility on the books, maybe Neil Olshey makes a splash this summer.