10 Worst Portland Trail Blazers moves of the Joe Cronin era

Portland Trail Blazers, Joe Cronin. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Portland Trail Blazers, Joe Cronin. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /
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Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers, Nicolas Batum. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports /

8. Trading Batum to Hornets

The Trail Blazers were forced to pivot in the 2015 offseason after four-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge departed in free agency. Portland had made two straight playoff appearances and was hungry to stay in contention. That meant shaking things up and trying to get younger to replace Aldridge’s star power.

Just before free agency opened, the Blazers traded Nicolas Batum to the Charlotte Hornets for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh. Henderson had been the Hornets’ starter for the last four years, but he was a shooting, playmaking, and defensive downgrade from Batum. The deal hinged on Vonleh’s development.

The 6’10 forward had a slow first season in Charlotte after being the ninth overall pick in 2014. He was a project that never reached his potential and was dumped after two and a half seasons in Portland.

This trade went from bad to worse as Batum took his game to a new level in Charlotte, and Henderson declined in Portland. Over the next two years, Batum averaged 15.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.0 steal in 34.5 minutes per game. Henderson lasted just one season with the Blazers where his minutes and production declined across the board.

This trade became a disaster and is one Neil Olshey, Joe Cronin, and the Portland Trail Blazers wish they could have back.