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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Another big for the Blazers' future

Blazers Nick Richards trade 1/27/24

Rather than getting a more established big man like Gafford, in this deal, Portland grabs the cheaper Richards, No. 24 on The Athletic list.

In return, Charlotte gets back its second-rounder this summer and potentially another one of its own in 2027.

The 26-year-old Richards isn't as skilled as Gafford, but he makes up for that with his physical profile. He's all of 7 feet, 245 pounds and is gifted with a 7-4 wingspan. He's active on the glass, athletic enough to run the floor despite his fairly massive size, and plays with effort and hustle.

His averages of 8.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks this year don't do his on-court presence justice. The former second-round pick out of Kentucky is playing a career-high 24.5 minutes a night for the Hornets, and he stands out for each one of them with his size, strength and activity.

Richards has two more years left on his contract after this season at only $5 million per. He's a cheaper, healthier, larger version of what the Blazers thought they were getting in Williams.