Revisiting Blazers trade deadline rumors: 7 targets still worth pursuing?

OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors (left), Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors (left), Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

As the offseason approaches, the Portland Trail Blazers must continue to evaluate potential additions to bolster their roster. In February, more than a handful of names had been rumored to be Blazers trade targets, as players such as OG Anunoby and Zach LaVine became trade deadline news fodder.

At this point in the summer, it’s worth revisiting all those rumors and re-examining each player’s potential fit with the Blazers, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses to determine if they are still worth pursuing.

Re-exploring 7 Portland Trail Blazers trade deadline rumors

1. OG Anunoby

OG Anunoby was among the most talked about players at the NBA trade deadline. He is the Toronto Raptors’ best trade asset not named Pascal Siakam.

Anunoby’s defensive prowess makes him an enticing trade target for the Blazers. After leading the league in steals last season and earning a spot on the All-Defensive Second Team, he would provide a significant boost to Portland’s defense.

His offensive contributions – he averaged 16.8 points per game last season- increase his value as an asset. The Blazers are in dire need of a reliable small forward, making Anunoby a strong “yes” to pursue again.

2. Zach Lavine

Zach LaVine’s scoring prowess and ability to provide an immediate impact make him an intriguing Blazers trade target. His improved playmaking skills and scoring averages for the Chicago Bulls underline his potential to be a game-changer for any team he plays for.

Adding LaVine alongside Damian Lillard and potentially Jerami Grant, if he re-signs, would undoubtedly elevate the Blazers’ contention status. While the Bulls’ willingness to trade a franchise player like LaVine remains uncertain, the potential rewards for Portland would be significant.

LaVine is firmly in the “yes” category, although a trade fully depends on the Bulls’ willingness, or lack thereof, to let him go.

3. Jarred Vanderbilt

Jarred Vanderbilt’s potential availability may depend on the Los Angeles Lakers’ plans. After a disappointing end to their season, the Lakers will be looking to make a final title run before LeBron James retires. Vanderbilt’s underwhelming performance after being traded from the Utah Jazz, though, might lower his cost as LA retools.

His versatility and expiring contract make him a viable option for the Blazers. However, it would be wise for Portland to carefully consider the potential cost before committing to this trade. This puts Vanderbilt in the “maybe” but most likely “no” category.

4. Naz Reid

At only 23 years old, Reid possesses great potential as a center. His ability to play solid defense and contribute valuable minutes off the bench makes him an appealing option for the Blazers as a rotational piece with starting potential.

As Reid is a free agent, the Blazers have an opportunity to acquire a promising frontcourt presence without sacrificing significant assets. This makes Reid a solid “yes.”

5. James Wiseman

Wiseman is unlikely to be available due to his recent acquisition by the rebuilding Detroit Pistons. His potential and improved performance after the trade make him an intriguing prospect. Given his age and talent, it would be wise for the Pistons to retain Wiseman and continue developing him.

Although the former second-overall pick would be an enticing addition to the Blazers’ frontcourt, his lack of availability makes him a “no.”

6. Kelly Oubre Jr

I recently made the point that his steep price and questionable fit with the Blazers’ system make Kelly Oubre Jr. a less desirable target. His improved performance and increased market value might lead to inflated contract demands in free agency this offseason.

Additionally, his playing style and skillset may not align well with the Blazers’ requirements, as evidenced by his underwhelming year with the Warriors alongside Stephen Curry. Pursuing Oubre Jr. may not be the best move for Portland, and these factors put him in the “no” category.

7. Mason Plumlee

Plumlee, a former Blazer, brings valuable experience and a solid rotational presence. His ability to both start and contribute off the bench, as demonstrated during the playoffs, makes him an attractive target in free agency this offseason.

Next. 5 Free agents Blazers should avoid at all costs. dark

Given the Blazers’ young roster, Plumlee’s experience would be invaluable, and his desire for a stable role could align well with Portland’s needs. Plumlee is a “yes.”