Blazers Rumors: Open Roster Spot, McCollum, Nurkic, More

The Trail Blazers have held their 15th roster spot open for the entire regular season so far, but hope to fill that spot in the coming weeks via the trade or buyout market, says Jason Quick of The Athletic. According to Quick, Portland will be looking to add a player who will “unquestionably be in the rotation for the remainder of the season.”

Quick cautions that the Blazers likely won’t make a major move like they did in 2017 when they acquired Jusuf Nurkic at the deadline — the goal will simply be to add a player who is more productive and/or reliable than back-of-the-rotation contributors such as Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little, and Rodney Hood.

A wing who can shoot would be an ideal addition, according to Quick, who notes that Bulls forward Otto Porter is a player that Blazers president Neil Olshey has liked for a long time. Porter would only be a realistic target if he’s bought out.

If Portland can’t find a wing who can shoot, the club may shift its focus to addressing the backup point guard spot, per Quick. Simons has been handling that role for much of the year and has shot the ball well, but his ball-handling has been a little shaky.

Here’s more on the Blazers:

  • The Blazers still haven’t set exact dates for their respective returns, but there’s a sense that CJ McCollum (foot) and Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) are days, not weeks, away from getting back on the court, according to Quick.
  • A source tells The Athletic that Portland isn’t considering signing big man DeMarcus Cousins, who reached the free agent market last month.
  • In addition to having an opening on their 15-man roster, the Blazers also have an open two-way contract slot. However, the club has no plans to fill that opening, since any two-way player would just be “a warm body” on the bench, says Quick.
  • The Blazers are about $1.8MM below the luxury tax line and are “adamant” about not crossing that threshold, which will be a factor in what trades they’re able to make and how much they’re willing to offer to players on the buyout market.
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