Portland Trail Blazers: 7 trades with non-playoff teams in the West

Danuel House Jr., Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Danuel House Jr., Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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Jake Layman, Derrick Jones Jr., Portland Trail Blazers, Minnesota Timberwolves
Jake Layman, Derrick Jones Jr., Portland Trail Blazers, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The Portland Trail Blazers host a reunion with the Minnesota Timberwolves

Why this trade works:

The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the most top-heavy teams in the league. Behind Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Anthony Edwards, there’s a huge gap in talent with the rest of the roster.

Not only is there a huge gap in talent, but there’s also a giant discrepancy in the wages of their players. The Wolves have nearly all of their cap space tied into five players and the rest of their talent are playing on minimum contracts.

That makes swinging a significant deal pretty challenging. With this trade though, the Blazers add a minimal contributor on a minimal deal.

Jake Layman is certainly nothing special at the small forward slot, but he’s serviceable enough to upgrade the Blazers bench. He’s got prototypical size at the three position and is a theoretical floor-spacer. Plus, he’s already familiar with playing in the Rose City.

At the least, he’ll provide some much-needed depth on the wings for Portland. That’s worth shipping out the equivalent of two second-round picks to Minnesota.

The Portland Trail Blazers nab a true floor-general from the Oklahoma City Thunder

Why this trade works:

The Oklahoma City Thunder are in full asset acquisition mode. Aside from maybe Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, no Thunder should be considered off-limits for the right price. Unfortunately, Oklahoma City doesn’t have many pieces that could offer much help to the Blazers outside of Lugentz Dort, who would cost way too much in a deal.

That doesn’t mean that there’s no trade to be made at all, though. Many casual NBA fans may not even know that Ty Jerome plays for the Thunder, but he would be a great target for the Blazers out of OKC.

Jerome was one of the best playmakers in college in his time with the University of Virginia Cavaliers. His lack of athleticism has held back his effectiveness on an NBA court, but his game IQ and skills have allowed him to be a meaningful contributor regardless.

Jerome has a game that should have him play double-digit seasons in the NBA off the bench. With the Thunder in 2020-2021, he put up 10.7 points and 3.6 assists per game, while shooting 42 percent from behind the arc and playing a shade under 24 minutes a night. He would be a revelation off Portland’s bench.

The Thunder here, receive a couple assets for them to add to their massive collection. Jerome has a much higher floor than CJ Elleby, but Elleby has the higher ceiling as an unknown. His athleticism alone gives him more potential than Jerome.