When Joe Cronin became the interim general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers on Dec. 3, 2021, many fans were glad to see Neil Olshey go. Since being named interim, and then full-time GM, Cronin has made several moves to try and remedy some of Olshey’s wreckage.
Let’s talk about the three best moves, two worst, and one that’s a little too early to tell, that have been made by Cronin since becoming the Trail Blazers’ GM.
His first was the worst: The Norman Powell trade
The first major move that Cronin made after becoming GM was trading Norman Powell and Robert Covington to the Los Angeles Clippers for Keon Johnson, Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, and a 2025 second-round pick via Detroit.
This move was suspect at the time and hasn’t aged well. While it did open up cap space that was used in some of his best moves, Cronin’s return in the trade hasn’t panned out. With Damian Lillard’s competitive window in mind, keeping talented veterans is important.
Powell has averaged 16.6 points per game this season while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 41 percent from three. He’s the sixth man on a Clippers team that is likely playoff bound. The Blazers would love to have Powell off the bench to spell Lillard and Anfernee Simons.
Covington has averaged 16.4 minutes per game and has provided the same defense that he’s built a career on while mostly playing the four position. The Blazers’ fourth-worst defense in the league would welcome Covington’s abilities.
Winslow has played just 29 of 54 games so far this season, and while he’s full of potential, injuries have plagued him since entering the league in 2015.
Johnson has gotten more playing time with the injury to Simons and hasn’t looked like a player that would be on most playoff-contending teams. He’s shooting just 35.4 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three in 35 games this season.
Bledsoe played 54 games for the Blazers in 2021 and performed in such a way that he is being paid $1.3 million per year from 2022-2025 to not play for them anymore.
Unless the 2025 second-rounder becomes the next Draymond Green, the Blazers would much rather have the talent of Powell and Covington than any of the pieces they got in return. At the very least, Cronin should have been able to get more for Powell.