4 Small deadline trades that could have big impacts on Trail Blazers' future

There are some moves Portland can make that won't be headline-grabbers but could make a significant difference down the line.

Nick Richards, Charlotte Hornets (left); Daniel Gafford, Washington Wizards
Nick Richards, Charlotte Hornets (left); Daniel Gafford, Washington Wizards / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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Blazers make a move for ideal center prospect

Blazers small trade deadline moves 1/26/24 Gafford

As of Jan. 26, Gafford is the 11th best player available and his value is listed as a late first-round pick or high seconds and a prospect. At this stage of their rebuild, the Blazers are unlikely to part with any first-rounder; instead, they send the 34th pick in this year's draft, a future second from the Golden State Warriors and Robert Williams III.

Rob Will is injured and out for the season, but he's still generating trade buzz and when healthy is frankly a better player than Gafford. The problem is that he rarely is healthy. Gafford is more reliable and just as good of a fit in Portland.

The 6-foot-10 Wizards big man is currently Washington's starting center and is averaging 10.6 points and 7.5 rebounds. He's a rim-runner able to finish lobs and just about anything else near the basket, as evidenced by his 69.7 percent shooting this season. He's pulling down a career-high 2.6 offensive rebounds and is a good free-throw shooter for a big man (71.3 percent).

On the other end of the floor, he's a legitimate rim-deterrent. He's seventh in the NBA in blocks at 2.2 per game.

He's also under contract for two more seasons at a reasonable total of about $28 million. With how much Deandre Ayton has struggled and the fact that Williams is injured anyway, shipping out a pair of second-rounders for a two-way center who could either start or play major minutes off the bench seems like a fair deal.