The Portland Trail Blazers know they need to surround Damian Lillard with a better supporting cast before the NBA trade deadline if they want to compete for a title this season. Everyone knows that Lillard has taken this Blazers team as far as he can take them and without additional help, they won’t go deep in the playoffs.
March 25 is the NBA trade deadline and there are quite a number of options for the Portland Trail Blazers to consider. With three of their key rotation players out of commission, the Blazers have kept the team afloat with different players stepping up this season.
But it will be more difficult come playoff time to sustain this type of production coming from the role players. Something has to be done.
Identifying Portland Trail Blazers’ 3 biggest needs ahead of NBA trade deadline
As the NBA trade deadline is fast approaching, the Portland Trail Blazers' brass will be looking to see which players will be made available in the next few weeks. As good as the Blazers’ record is with C.J. McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins all sidelined, the team's current makeup is just not good enough.
#1 A 3-and-D wing
Pretty much every NBA team needs a 3-and-D wing player, but not all of them have aspirations to win a championship like the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers have Derrick Jones Jr. who’s a terrific defender but is iffy beyond the arc (33.3 percent).
Rodney Hood has the tools to be a good defender but he gets failing marks for his 3-point shooting (29.9).
Carmelo Anthony is also far from the ideal 3-and-D wing that the Portland Trail Blazers need, though he is the best 3-point marksman of the three. He has also spent most of his time at the four this season.
Unless Derrick Jones Jr. can find a magic formula that can give him Melo’s shooting touch, the Blazers better look elsewhere for a player who can fit the job description.
#2 A stretch four
Carmelo Anthony is pretty much the Portland Trail Blazers’ stretch four at present, but they may need one who can also bang inside. Someone like Kevin Love would be an excellent player to pick up if he’s healthy enough to play and if they can get him by the trade deadline.
If not, the Portland Trail Blazers could look elsewhere like the Sacramento Kings' Nemanja Bjelica, who might be available at a cheaper price.
If a trade isn’t possible, then the Portland Trail Blazers will have to get a free agent from the buyout market to fill this need.
#3 An inside presence
For some reason, the Portland Trail Blazers’ big men have been hit by the injury bug at the same time except for Enes Kanter. Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, and Harry Giles have a ways to go before they can come back healthy and even then they will have to be brought in slowly.
News of the San Antonio Spurs and LaMarcus Aldridge mutually parting ways has many Portland Trail Blazers fans thinking a reunion may be in the offing. It’s a feel-good story but a return to Portland for Aldridge is more than about emotions.
Aldridge has the shooting, inside presence and underrated defensive smarts that the Blazers need. If the Portland Trail Blazers can get him, they should give it a try before he lands elsewhere.