Blazers rumors: Portland would prefer young players over picks in potential trades

If the Trail Blazers make any deals before the deadline, the return may come in the form of players rather than future draft assets.
Joe Cronin, Portland Trail Blazers
Joe Cronin, Portland Trail Blazers / Soobum Im/GettyImages

All is quiet on the Rip City front heading toward tomorrow's NBA trade deadline at noon PT. If Portland Trail Blazers General Manager Joe Cronin decides to make a move, the likeliest candidate to be dealt is veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon. Jerami Grant, Robert Williams III and Matisse Thybulle are other potential candidates.

If anything does come to fruition, though, the return may be different than what most would expect from a franchise in the embryonic stages of a rebuild.

Trail Blazers favor young players over draft picks in potential trades

If tanking teams are unloading veteran players, it's often to add more draft capital. Not so fast in Portland, however, according to Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report (subscription required):

"My current understanding of the trade discussions the Blazers have had with other teams is that if they do move Brogdon or any of their other veterans, they’re more interested in getting back players that fit into their rebuilding timeline—and that they feel will stick around and complement their existing group—than they are in just stacking up future draft picks along with whatever salary filler is necessary to make the math work."

Sean Highkin, The Rose Garden Report

In retrospect, maybe this report makes perfect sense, and grabbing a combination of players and picks has been Cronin's MO since taking over as GM.

Portland did add future first-round picks and pick swaps from the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics in the Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday trades, but Cronin also scooped up a pair of 25-year-old centers in Deandre Ayton and Williams, a rookie forward in Toumani Camara, and a veteran guard in Brogdon.

Even going back to last year's deadline, he acquired a first-round pick and Cam Reddish in a deal that sent Josh Hart to the New York Knicks.