The Portland Trail Blazers shed salary and build towards the future
Why the Trail Blazers do it:
Ricky Rubio presents Portland with over $17 million in cap space once his contract expires after the season. With his season-ending injury, his acquisition also helps the Blazers commit to the tank.
Isaac Okoro is a former top-five pick that’s been buried under the Cavaliers’ wealth of promising prospects.
While he’s basically a zero on defense at this point in his career, he offers the Trail Blazers a legitimate stopper on the wings — one with the pedigree to potentially slow down Devin Booker, Luka Doncic, and other perimeter scorers of that ilk.
With Portland tossing the pressure to win to the wayside, they have plenty of opportunity and patience to allow Okoro to develop on offense for the rest of the season.
If he can form a semi-reliable 3-point stroke, he’ll be a valuable addition to a Blazers squad that’s needed a defender of his caliber.
The two first-rounders add to Portland’s arsenal for future moves.
Why the Cavaliers do it:
The Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in using Rubio’s expiring and their 2022 first-rounder to shore up their backcourt rotation with a veteran presence.
There are not many available guards that would provide a better mentor for Darius Garland and Collin Sexton than Norman Powell.
Robert Covington has proven that he can be a valuable contributor off of the pine this season, after being benched for Larry Nance Jr. He’ll add a reliable two-way spark plug for Cleveland’s postseason run.