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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Portland adds a young, defense-first wing to the mix

Blazers small trades 2024 deadline Jae'Sean Tate 1/26/24

It was a surprise to hear Williams mentioned in rumors at all around this year's deadline, but if he is traded, the smart money is on him landing with the Houston Rockets. Ime Udoka was Williams' coach during the young center's best season in 2021-22 when he was named Second-Team All-Defense.

Jae'Sean Tate, meanwhile, started 135 games for the Rockets during his first two seasons in the league before missing most of last year due to injury and hasn't found a role since Udoka took over.

This a simple swap. The Rockets land Williams in exchange for a player who isn't in their plans while the Blazers nab a defense-first role player for a guy sitting out the rest of the season.

Tate, 28, averaged 11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals per contest across 148 games - 135 of them starts - during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. He's only 6-4, but he's a sturdy 230 pounds and is capable of defending guards or wings.

He won't do anything flashy, but he has a $7.1 million team option for next season and his salary will likely never go any higher. Adding an athletic defender willing to play a role who wouldn't cost much if the team chooses to keep him around is good business for the Blazers.