3 trade ideas to get the Trail Blazers some more size before the deadline

Jarred Vanderbilt, Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Jarred Vanderbilt, Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /
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The Portland Trail Blazers could stand to upgrade a few different spots before the NBA’s Feb. 9 trade deadline if they hope to make a playoff push. Perhaps the most important among them is adding some size to a team that features only Jusuf Nurkic and Drew Eubanks as true big men.

Nurkic is limited because of his lack of speed and athleticism (and sometimes effort), and head coach Chauncey Billups has seemingly found something the past few games with small-ball lineups featuring Nurkic on the bench.

Eubanks isn’t the answer either, and in Portland’s win over Memphis on Feb. 1, it was 6-foot-8 Trendon Watford playing nominal center when Drew sat.

The Blazers appear hesitant, at least so far, to make a game-changing move such as sending out Shaedon Sharpe or Jerami Grant in the hopes of landing someone like Myles Turner. Even if that’s the case, though, there are smaller trades to be made that would still upgrade Portland’s big man rotation – especially if Billups is going to stick with this so-far-successful small-ball squad.

The Blazers bring a popular name to Rip City

Portland fans have been clamoring for Vanderbilt. He’s long, athletic, versatile, switchable on defense and brings a ton of energy. Being able to use him in the aforementioned small-ball lineups would be a huge advantage over Eubanks or Watford.

Utah wants the equivalent of a first-round pick for Vanderbilt. Whether the Jazz able to get that is a question, but perhaps this trade would come close to what Danny Ainge and general manager Justin Zanik will be looking for.

Rather than a first-round pick, Utah gets two second-rounders. They also add Winslow’s $4 million expiring contract, and putting Brown in the deal keeps Portland below the luxury tax line.

Depending on how intense the bidding war gets for Vanderbilt as the deadline inches closer, the Blazers may have to up the ante with another pick or young player. (The Atlanta pick is top-55 protected.)

But Winslow hasn’t played since the day after Christmas and Brown has appeared in 15 games all year.

For the Blazers, this is essentially two second-round picks, maybe a bit more if the race for Vanderbilt heats up. But it would be a win for general manager Joe Cronin.