The last few years have been a roller coaster ride for the Portland Trail Blazers.
First, they turned into surprise contenders built around LaMarcus Aldridge. Then, after a promising season was doomed by injuries, Aldridge, along with every other member of the Blazers starting five — save Damian Lillard — departed the team.
Then, they immediately became surprise contenders again, this time built around Lillard and shooting guard C.J. McCollum.
They made the second round of the playoffs last year, and the front office showed their faith in the young core by giving most of them big contracts this offseason.
The new season is off to a rough start though with the Blazers sitting at 8-8 due to a series of disappointing losses. With a star backcourt ready to be built around, the Blazers are now looking to flip some of their assets into a more reliable big.
Portland looks ripe for a trade. Neil Olshey, the team’s one-step-ahead GM, chased Hassan Whiteside in free agency, and has a well-documented fondness for old-school low-post brutes like Brook Lopez, Greg Monroe, Nikola Vucevic and others.
“Someone should be trying to steal Kosta Koufos from the Kings. As for another popular suggestion, let’s just say the league doesn’t quite know what to make of Nerlens Noel.”
— Zach Lowe via ESPN
It’s good to see the Blazers being aggressive and trying to get better, but I don’t see how this is the answer. With Lillard, McCollum, and offseason addition Evan Turner, the Blazers don’t really need another person to hog the ball and take shots.
In reality, they need defense and efficient, low-usage scoring. Kosta Koufos is a pretty decent veteran option who could come cheap. They could also try to poach Willie Cauely-Stein from the Kings. He would better align with the Blazers’ needs, as well as their timeline for contention.