Pair of biggest draft busts in recent memory stunningly named Blazers' top FA targets

The Trail Blazers aren't expected to do much in free agency but if they do this...

Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons
Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons / Nic Antaya/GettyImages
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Outside of the 2024 NBA Draft, it should be a quiet offseason for the Portland Trail Blazers. Maybe a veteran like Malcolm Brogdon or Robert Williams III get traded, but free agency should be a no-fly zone for general manager Joe Cronin. The organization should go into next year prepared to build around a hopefully healthy core of Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons.

If the Blazers do dip their toes into the free agent waters, it should be nothing more than moves around the fringes: young players who fit the franchise's rebuilding timeline and compliment the aforementioned trio or cheap veterans to round out the bench.

But not this.

Bleacher Report lists Killian Hayes, Cam Reddish as Trail Blazers' top free agent targets

Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report put together a list of every NBA team's top three targets in free agency this offseason. While some of the choices make sense - Bruce Brown to the Dallas Mavericks or DeMar DeRozan to the Los Angeles Lakers, for instance - others miss the mark entirely.

Granted, it's difficult to find a free agent who would entice Portland enough for Cronin to pull the trigger and bring him aboard, but the Blazers' list is underwhelming (and confusing) to say the least.

Bailey's three targets for Portland are:

  • Killian Hayes
  • Cam Reddish
  • Talen Horton-Tucker.

Hayes was the seventh pick in the 2020 draft but never found his footing with the Detroit Pistons, enough so that he was released this season and remains a free agent despite being just 22 years old. Bailey says he's worth taking a flier on, though, if the Blazers want to make the move:

"It's wild that a team as bad as the Portland Trail Blazers could be in the luxury tax next season, which would limit them to the taxpayer's mid-level exception.
Whether they make moves to get under or not, they're in good shape to take some swings on players who didn't live up to expectations in previous stops.
Hayes obviously fits that description. And though the young core already features plenty of playmaking (or potential playmaking) from Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe, I'm typically of the "the more passing, the better" philosophy."

Andy Bailey, Bleacher Report

Then there's Reddish. The Blazers have already been through the Reddish Experience before after acquiring the former No. 10 pick at the 2022 trade deadline from the New York Knicks. Portland let him walk after 20 games and the Lakers signed him as a free agent last summer. The 24-year-old wing has appeared in 36 games with LA, playing 23.3 minutes a night and averaging 6.7 points.

After four full seasons, it's fair to say the tantalizing skill set Bailey mentions will never translate for Reddish:

"Reddish has failed to live up to expectations at multiple stops now, but he's still just 24, a solid athlete and a theoretical shooter.
As a top-two recruit from his high school class, he might be worth one more flier."

Andy Bailey, Bleacher Report

The thinking is sound: If the Blazers do bring in any free agents, signing cheap, young, undervalued talent is smart at this stage of Portland's roster-building process. But this type of young talent is cheap and undervalued for a reason: Hayes and Reddish aren't useful NBA players.

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