Who is Portland’s Missing Piece?

A graphic showcasing images of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, and Gary Trent Jr. The graphic is meant to look like pieces to a puzzle.

By Dillon Sage

Greetings, in addition to our Holy Backboard podcast, we are developing this blog to examine the future of Portland Trail Blazers. With this series, we will write about the options we have to improve our team. ​Portland, Oregon, is a small NBA market team. However, superstar free agents do not commonly come to Portland. When a small market team competes with 29 other teams for free agents, they need to find market inefficiencies.

Every season Portland takes a chance on a “Reclamation Project.” The Blazers can potentially find a young blue-chip player on a cheap salary that can provide reliable production.

This summer, teams have been rumored to be selling draft picks at a rate never seen before. Many teams want to trade their picks for veteran players who can contribute immediately. Maybe two teams will succeed in converting their picks for veteran players. I seriously doubt that the Trail Blazers will be one of them.

Why not take the contrarian approach and be the team that goes after the draft’s young picks? Some teams might be open to considering giving these picks up for significantly less than they are worth. This approach is realistic because of our salary cap and our commitment to the core team. Dame and CJ’s extension will be kicking in Gary, Jusuf, and potentially Zach will be looking for extensions as well. Drafting young talented players on low salaries contracts is a good move.

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