The Trail Blazers are reportedly open to discussing their three first-round picks in trades that would allow them to move salary, and it appears they’ve received interest from a pair of New York clubs. According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, the Knicks and Nets have inquired about Portland’s first-round picks.
As Deveney details, talks between the Blazers and Knicks are “ongoing,” with New York having asked about some combination of the 15th, 20th, and 26th overall selections. While it’s possible the Knicks could move down from No. 8, it’s more likely that they’d want to pick up a second first-rounder to add to that lottery selection. We heard earlier this month that the Knicks had discussed the possibility of acquiring a second first-round pick in a trade.
Meanwhile, the Nets have also inquired about Portland’s picks, and could be an intriguing trade partner. Allen Crabbe, who has a $19.33MM cap hit for 2017/18, is one potential trade candidate for the Blazers as they look to clear salary, and it was Brooklyn that signed Crabbe to that pricey four-year offer sheet last summer. If the Nets still have interest in Crabbe and are willing to take on his substantial contract and trade kicker, there could be a match there. In that scenario, the two teams would have to wait until after the one-year anniversary of Crabbe’s 2016 signing, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post noted when he explored the subject.
The Blazers currently have more than $133MM in guaranteed salary on their books for 2017/18, and that number would rise further if they use their draft picks and sign those players, which is why the team is open to moving a pick or two to clear some salary and perhaps get out of tax territory. As I noted on Wednesday, Crabbe, Evan Turner ($17.13MM), and Meyers Leonard ($9.9MM) are among the candidates for a salary dump. Maurice Harkless ($9.66MM) could also be on the block, though he’d have a little more value.