Only 30 games remain on the schedule for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2023-24. As the year winds down, the team has made it clear what their objective is going forward. They may not look like a championship contender, but management believes they can make a playoff push next season.
Portland had the opportunity to sell off several of their highly-valued players at the deadline and get back draft capital. Instead, they opted to keep everyone around, only making one minor move to acquire Dalano Banton from the Celtics.
Jerami Grant, Malcolm Brogdon, and Robert Williams will all be around for at least the remainder of the current season for the Blazers. Minus Williams who is still sidelined post-surgery, the rest of the core will be able to continue building consistency playing with one another.
With the organization wanting to get the team to the playoffs next year, here is what the dream offseason could look like for the Trail Blazers.
Offload Deandre Ayton
Plain and simple, Portland must move on from Deandre Ayton if they are to be taken seriously as a playoff contender. Some may scoff at this suggestion given that he is good for 15 and 10 every night, but it seems that his mentality and intangibles could be holding the team back.
Ayton's initial months with the Blazers were reportedly "defined by tardiness and tantrums." He has done nothing to dispel the notion that he is difficult to have as a teammate, a label that he first acquired with the Phoenix Suns.
Sometimes a player's on-court impact can be minimized or even negated by a bad attitude that hinders their production and detracts from what would otherwise be an excellent player. Ayton can still shed this narrative by changing his mindset as he matures, but right now, he is not a good fit in Portland.