Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey informed The Athletic’s Jason Quick that he intends to take a measured approach in the trade market come December 15, when most players signed over the summer become trade-eligible.
“We are going to stay disciplined,” Olshey said. “That doesn’t mean we are not going to stay opportunistic, OK? But the bar for how big of an impact somebody has to make to really make an outcome-related impact is higher.”
Olshey seemed to indicate to Quick that he was comfortable maintaining the Blazers’ healthy starting lineup in the 2020/21 season.
“The discipline comes in that the starting lineup next year is Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood, Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic,” Olshey continued. “… What we are not going to do is give away long-term assets that can help get this team to where we really want to be — and where we thought we were back in September — for some incremental upgrade today.”
Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love, Thunder power forward Danilo Gallinari, and Celtics forward Gordon Hayward number among the most attainable positional upgrades for Portland this season. Hayward and Gallinari are on expiring contracts (though Hayward has a player option for 2020/21). 35 year-old Carmelo Anthony has been an adequate offensive fill-on as the team’s starting power forward.
Collins, the Trail Blazers’ incumbent starting power forward, remains sidelined with a dislocated left shoulder. Starting center Nurkic underwent surgery to treat compound fractures in his left leg in March.
Hood underwent surgery earlier today for a ruptured left Achilles tendon and will miss the rest of the 2019/20 season.
Portland currently sits at No. 11 in the crowded Western Conference, though the Blazers are just two games behind the seventh-seeded Thunder.
Despite – or perhaps because – of all their injuries, NBC Sports Northwest’s Dwight Jaynes doesn’t expect the Blazers to pursue anyone on an expiring contract this trade season. This would seem to eliminate the prospect someone like Gallinari as a mid-season addition.
Instead, Jaynes anticipates the team prioritizing moves for players with contracts that will last beyond 2019/20, since Portland will be better positioned to compete in future seasons. In addition to Love, he mentions Pistons power forward Blake Griffin and Spurs power forward/center LaMarcus Aldridge as names to watch.