As the trade deadline nears, NBA sources indicate Portland Trail Blazes’ president of basketball operations Neil Olshey has been active. The team is being talked about as one that’s busy in the marketplace, looking to make something happen.
But obviously, that doesn’t mean anything is going to happen prior to the deadline.
Olshey keeps the doors closed, the windows covered and the phone calls private. The Portland front office is among the most buttoned down in the league. Any “rumors” of deals involving the Trail Blazers most likely didn’t come from the team – and probably aren’t true. In fact, recent speculation concerning trades for Marc Gasol and Jeremy Lin were totally absurd.
But a few conclusions can be drawn from the team’s history and current situation as the deadline nears:
- If you’re looking for a major deal from this team, you’d be wise to look for it next season, when the team will have approximately $37 million in expiring contracts to offer.
- Sources say the Trail Blazers have shown a willingness to include a first-round draft choice, along with a player, in a deal, but you would assume it would be only for a player they perceive to be good enough to help make that pick more unattractive, due to his play down the stretch. And remember, there are only 30 regular-season games remaining,
- I would hope there is a reluctance to give up a first-round pick for a player with an expiring contract. Taking a player with other options into signing a new deal after just 30 games here would not be easy.
- Just because Paul George chose to stay in Oklahoma City after a one-year sampling with the Thunder, doesn’t mean that’s a trend in the league. Giving up a big piece of the future for such a player is a major gamble.
- Al-Farouq Aminu is an attractive expiring-contract trade piece but is highly valued by the organization. I would not expect him to be dealt unless it’s a very big trade.
- There are still a lot of teams in the hunt for playoff spots that may not be willing at this point to make deals involving their unattractive contracts. It’s too soon for some of them to start dismantling their roster.
- Yes, the Blazers are slightly above the luxury-tax threshold but they have never seemed to be worried about it. Don’t expect a trade totally predicated on getting them under the line.
- Anthony Davis? Well, if he doesn’t want to be in New Orleans – a solid team that swept the Trail Blazers in the playoffs last season and where he’s eligible for a super-max deal -- why would he want to be in Portland? And it would take a lot of assets to get him for what’s left of this season and next.
- Just because you don’t hear that the team is working on something, it doesn’t mean there isn’t something going on. As I said, this is a closed-up operation.
- Just because you don’t know the team’s plan, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.