The Portland Trail Blazers began a rebuild by trading Damian Lillard. It was devastating to see the seven-time All-Star ask out and leave, but the franchise got a massive haul in return that could continue to grow. They traded for Jrue Holiday and flipped him for additional capital. Robert Williams III and Malcolm Brogdon came back from Boston and will likely be shopped at the deadline.
Portland has exciting young talent. Scoot Henderson has superstar upside, and head coach Chauncey Billups continues to offer high praise for Shaedon Sharpe. The Blazers have Anfernee Simons and Deandre Ayton too. It is a talent group that will continue to improve. If Portland can add pieces, they could be back in contention in a few years.
Williams III is the most likely player to be traded at the deadline. He is backing up Ayton but continues to prove he is an impactful defender and ready for a larger role. The Blazers will field plenty of calls, and here are five options they should already be exploring.
5. Blazers take advantage of Rockets desire to contend
Houston owes their 2024 first-round draft pick to the Thunder with just a top-four protection. Even if the Rockets finish with the worst record in the NBA, they could lose it to Oklahoma City in the lottery. With no reason to tank, Houston signed Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks in free agency. They want to contend, but it has been a rough start.
The Rockets have Victor Oladipo’s expiring contract to trade and desperately need some rebounding and rim protection to round out their roster. If Houston is contending, they could be willing to offer a first-round pick for Rob Will.
Rockets head coach Ime Udoka got the best out of Williams III in Boston. The 6’9 big man averaged 10.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks in 29.6 minutes per game in his lone season under Udoka. It was his only full year as a starter, and Williams helped the Celtics reach the NBA Finals before falling to the Warriors.
If the Rockets’ struggles continue, they will likely be focused on playing their young talent down the stretch. Houston would have zero need for Robert Williams, but there will be no shortage of contenders looking for a strong rebounder and rim protector to round out their roster.