Blazers Not Actively Seeking Frontcourt Help

Despite missing Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic up front, the Trail Blazers, currently carrying 14 players on their roster, plan to rely on their depth and positional versatility rather than adding a free agent big man with their open 15th roster spot, according to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. The Blazers announced on Tuesday that Collins, the team’s starting power forward, would miss four months of game action following left shoulder surgery.

A team source relayed to Freeman that signing a new frontcourt piece to shore up depth “is not a priority at this point.” Adding a 15th man would cost the Blazers more than just that player’s salary, since the team is over the luxury tax threshold.

Since Collins suffered the injury against Dallas on October 27, Portland coach Terry Stotts has opted to start journeyman veteran Anthony Tolliver (who can play either forward position) in his stead, with Skal Labissiere spelling Tolliver off the bench.

The Blazers’ 1-3 record following the loss of Collins (they are 3-4 on the year) includes a 127-118 defeat to an injury-depleted Golden State squad yesterday. In the ultra-competitive Western Conference, the Blazers face a tough schedule through November: they will be playing the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets and Bucks, all before Thanksgiving.

Pau Gasol, signed this summer, continues to rehabilitate a left foot stress fracture incurred in May while Gasol was with Milwaukee. Yesterday, Gasol partook in the team’s San Francisco morning shootaround and noted that he has engaged in 1-on-1 contact practice work with Portland assistant coaches. Gasol demurred when asked for a recovery timeline.

“It’s still early,” he told Freeman. “But hopefully I’m getting there.”

Blazers starting center Nurkic remains out of commission as he recovers from compound fractures to his left tibula and fibula suffered in March. This summer, Portland traded for Hassan Whiteside to fill in for Nurkic. Portland’s lone All-Star, Damian Lillard, remained optimistic about his team’s ability to weather the absences of Collins and Nurkic.

“We’ve got to love them as our friends and as our teammates, but the job still has to get done on the court and I think our mentality has to be that it’s not too much for us to handle and we can still get the job done,” Lillard said.

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5 thoughts on “Blazers Not Actively Seeking Frontcourt Help

  1. Tazza

    Because the West is getting stronger and stronger I think Portland should possibly make a move. Lakers have brought in Davis and loads of Free Agents, Clippers got Leonard and George, Rockets got Russ, GSW got DLoading, Jazz got Conley and Bogdan, even the Nuggets got Grant and have Porter back to fully fit.

    If they don’t make a move they are at risk of being left behind and they don’t want that. When you have most your stars (Lillard, McCollum and Nurkic) all secured and you have some young guys (Little, Simons, Labiss) plus more on the roster maybe you think about giving up a first to acquire better talent. The first round pick they have won’t fall in the first 20 picks anyways if they make the playoffs so maybe you give that up for a better player.

    I’d try deals like Kent Bazemore and a protected first for Gallinari or for Ibaka or for Barnes. Out of those guys I’d try for Barnes more because his deal is longer and he’s more versatile on both ends. He’s also probably the better on ball defender which the Blazers could do with. Giving up a decent wing in Bazemore shouldn’t be a huge loss because he’s easily replaceable in the free agent market, you could pick up Shumpert, Simmons or Moute.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      They better make a move or someone like Phoenix is going to steal one of the playoff spots, and there will be a third new team to make it in the West since neither OKC nor Golden State will be in the postseason next April.

      • Tazza

        Yeah not GSW hahaha I have it looking
        Lakers Clippers Nuggets Spurs
        Rockets Mavs Jazz

        That last spot probably goes to Portland but they have to compete with the Suns, Pelicans and the Kings.

        If they make a move for someone like Barnes, Gallo or Ibaka that could move them from an 8th seed to possibly 4th

    • Tazza

      It isn’t really absurd he’s getting a bit over 20 mil for a few years, who cares he’s in the middle of his career and he gives you about 16/5/2. He never the top scoring option and still gives you about 16, and he shots just under 40% from 3 which is good. He’s also a strong defender which the blazers lack.

      Blazers would rather pay him 24 mil that Bazemore 20 mil or Whiteside 28 mil

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