The Blazers’ Off-Season; If I Was General Manager

By Grant Button

The Portland Trailblazers need to have a great offseason. 

The Portland Trailblazers need to have a great offseason. The team made significant moves this trade deadline, trading away their savvy nine season veteran in CJ Mccollum in exchange for multiple picks, as well as their sharp shooting guard in Norman Powell and a good defender in Robert Covington for multiple young assets and a second round pick. There is no question that the Blazers interim general manager, Joe Cronin, is headed towards an eventful offseason as this year their team is very suboptimal considering their star Damian Lillard is hurt. The Blazers did not receive very large contracts in the trades made which gives the Blazers significant flexibility in the offseason with plenty of money to spend and as stated by Cronin himself, “We have numerous ways to acquire high-end talent.” The Blazers are very likely not completely rebuilding as next year they will have a hopefully fully healthy superstar in Damian Lillard as well as their young and improving guard Anfernee Simons, and possibly Jusuf Nurkic as a solid center, provided they re-sign both Simons and Nurkic. The question becomes, who do you sign or trade to build around this very good core of three? In this article I will share the offseason moves that I want to see for the Blazers and why.

First off, it is important to identify the team’s needs which lie mostly at the forward position, where they have had average or below average players who have not been able to create many shots for themselves. In looking at the available forwards in free agency, the talent pool is not great with very good forwards such as Miles Bridges being a restricted free agent, meaning that the Hornets can regardless of their financial situation match any offer made to him. This makes the task of rebuilding much harder and makes it so that the likelihood of being able to sign a restricted free agent is low. A small free agent signing the Blazers should make is a backup center in Chris Boucher. He is averaging just over 9 points per game and would likely be a solid backup for Jusuf Nurkic as well as not being too expensive. A bigger acquisition would be signing TJ Warren, who would be a definite upgrade at the forward position. He has not played since the 2020 NBA season, but will likely return to be a very solid player. He was averaging over 15 points on decent efficiency from the field. He would also be good defensively and a bigger wing which has been much needed for the Blazers for a while. 

Not only should the Blazers make multiple free agent signings, but they should also attempt to make trades. I propose for the Blazers to trade for Minnesota’s defensive specialist in Patrick Beverley. His impact would be very important as a Blazer, especially at the guard position when the other two guards in Lillard and Simons are not great defenders. He would give spark with the second unit and bring defensive energy as well as using his league experience to help facilitate the offense. Beverly is an aging player and I think getting him for a second round pick and maybe a few young assets as the third or fourth option for the guard position would help the Blazers out a lot. A player whose value I believe is currently underrated is Pascal Siakam. He is averaging almost 22 points per game, 5 assists, and 9 rebounds, on a bad Raptors team who would likely be willing to trade him for a few picks and a young player or two such as Keon Johnson, CJ Elleby, or Greg Brown III. Another forward that the Blazers should try to trade for is Jerami Grant who is averaging 19 points per game and 4.5 rebounds, and that’s not even beginning to mention his defensive length and athleticism. The Pistons decided to not trade him this trade deadline despite much interest throughout this season from other teams which leads me to believe that trading for him would prove to be difficult, but the Pistons might bite if offered a few very good picks and young players. Jerami Grant is a glue guy, a guy who brings the energy and intensity day in and day out and who would help many teams, especially the Blazers. He also has some connection to Portland as he was born there. Hugh B. ‘24 agrees that Jerami Grant is “definitely someone to consider.” Hugh said that Grant is used to playing smaller offensive roles when alongside stars and that his two-way abilities would be a definite upgrade at the forward position.

The Blazers will likely have around 20-30 million dollars in cap space this offseason if they re-sign Simons and Nurkic, as well as their own pick (provided they are in the lottery), and the Pelicans first round pick provided it lands between Nos 5 and 14. They also have plenty of second round picks and some young assets as well. What moves do you think the Blazers should make?

Works Cited

“Chris Boucher Stats.” Basketball-Reference.com, https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bouchch01.html. Accessed 12 February 2022.

Eskin, Spike, and Michael Levin. “Jerami Grant Stats.” Basketball-Reference.com, https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/g/grantje01.html. Accessed 12 February 2022.

Fentress, Aaron. “Portland Trail Blazers interim GM Joe Cronin details rebuilding effort that led to trading CJ McCollum and Norman Powell.” Oregon Live, 11 February 2022, https://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/2022/02/portland-trail-blazers-interim-gm-joe-cronin-details-rebuilding-effort-that-led-to-trading-cj-mccollum-and-norman-powell.html. Accessed 12 February 2022.

Goldsberry, Kirk. “The Warriors aren’t even giving Damian Lillard a chance.” ABC7 News, 18 May 2019, https://abc7news.com/sports/the-warriors-arent-even-giving-damian-lillard-a-chance/5306735/. Accessed 12 February 2022.

“Pascal Siakam Stats.” Basketball-Reference.com, https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/s/siakapa01.html. Accessed 12 February 2022.“TJ Warren Stats.” Basketball-Reference.com, https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/warretj01.html. Accessed 12 February 2022.