The NBA trade deadline is two and a half weeks away, and the Portland Trail Blazers are expected to be active in the trade market
10th place in the Western Conference at 19-26 is certainly not where the Portland Trail Blazers expected to be approaching the February 10 trade deadline.
The Blazers are also without Damian Lillard for at least six more weeks – and likely the remainder of the season – after abdominal surgery, and Norman Powell has missed six straight games due to COVID.
More than half the roster is on expiring contracts and the Blazers lose their first round pick next year to Chicago unless they are in the lottery. Until recently, it looked like that’s where they were destined, but a stretch of five wins in seven games has ignited some debate as to whether they should be pursuing a top pick or a playoff spot this season.
Regardless of which path interim general manager Joe Cronin chooses, the Blazers’ roster will no doubt look much different on February 11 than it does today. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how likely each player is to be traded before the deadline.
Damian Lillard: 2% – Somewhere out there, there may be a deal Cronin would be willing to accept, but it would start with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram and go from there. The whole league wants him, but he has made it clear that he wants to remain in Portland. Let the man recover.
CJ McCollum: 80% – McCollum is averaging 21.3 points per game on 11-23 3-point shooting since returning from a collapsed lung and the birth of his son Jacobi James. There are a growing number of contending teams that could use his explosive scoring ability and steady leadership, particularly Boston and Philadelphia.
Norman Powell: 65% – Powell has been solid if unspectacular for Portland, and seemed untouchable until the recent emergence of Anfernee Simons. Powell is a good value, with four more years on a deal that pays him $16 million next year and gives him modest $1.2 million raises each year until 2025/26, when he’ll make less than $20.5 million. Powell could bring multiple players and picks; expect two of the four guards to go.
Robert Covington: 95% – Covington is on an expiring deal that pays him just under $13 million and his play lately is much improved. But they won’t be able to keep him next year; if he’s still a Blazer on February 11 I’ll be stunned.
Jusuf Nurkic: 99.9% – There’s no such thing as a sure thing, but it is close to certain that Nurkic will be traded. He’s been brilliant lately, and there aren’t many teams that wouldn’t want what he can bring when fully engaged. Definitely gone.
Anfernee Simons: 45% – The brightest spot for the Blazers this season, Simons will be a restricted free agent and will definitely command multiple offers north of $20 million. There are likely a bunch of teams that would overpay for a 22-year old with Simons’ cool and upside, but a pairing of Simons and Lillard might be more complementary than Lillard and McCollum. Hope he stays, but Cronin might get an offer that’s too good to refuse.
Nassir Little: 10% – Little has also been a fantastic surprise for Portland, and he’s got one more year on his rookie deal. He makes less than $5 million next year, so he’ll fit under the Blazers’ crowded cap, but he’ll also command some offers a year and a half from now. Best to keep him as part of the foundation for the future.
Larry Nance, Jr.: 40% – Nance has been solid in limited opportunity, but could easily slot into next year’s lineup as the starting power forward. He is under contract for just one more year at less than $10 million, so he’ll be a good value either as a keeper or trade piece.
Ben McLemore, Dennis Smith Jr., Tony Snell, and Cody Zeller: 20% each – They’re all on veteran minimum or mid-level exception deals that expire this summer, and could be valuable bench contributors on a contender. All would be welcomed back next year at their same bargain rates, but none of them are likely to be.
Greg Brown III: 10% – He hasn’t seen enough of the court to generate much interest, but he’s cheap for the next two years if they want to keep him.
CJ Elleby: put him on the curb – Unrestricted in July and unable to compete in the NBA.