Trail Blazers spent days before the 2022 transaction deadline, surgically removing Neil Olshey’s fingerprints from the list. As Damian Lillard was recovering and Portland sank to the west, new GM Joe Cronin picked out most of the expensive supporting actors Olshey had acquired at Corleone’s level of ruthlessness – first sending Robert Covington and Norm Powell to Clipper. and later the division of CJ McCollum with the Pelicans. The returns were modest at best – a few young players and a few selections. But it gave Cronin something like a blank canvas to draw Lillard’s peak years.
However, Cronin’s first shot seems quite familiar with the blow made by his predecessor: just over 24 hours before Thursday’s NBA draft, Cronin agreed to trade McCollum’s first-round 2025 selection (via Milwaukee) to Pistons for Jerami Grant. , a young veteran who fills the gap but may not change the overall picture in Portland, no matter who the team belongs to.
Grant, 28, is the do-it-yourself, defensive striker who was in dire need of Blazers’ previous transfers. Olshey interrupted two seasons ago two first round choices for Covington in hopes of filling exactly that hole. But as any blogger will tell you repeatedly, without even asking, Covington is more of a team defender than a stopwatch you can throw on the top wings. Grant’s CV is more bona fide in this respect: in his last season at the Nuggets, his most frequent covers were Kawhi Leonard, Donovan Mitchell and LeBron James. It is said that the Nuggets would have responded to the surprising three-year $ 60 million received from Detroit in the mid-2020 season, simply to keep that versatility inside the house. And while Grant’s request to expand his offensive game with the Pistons yielded only superficial results – he almost doubled his score average and chances, but did so due to the average effectiveness of bad teams – he is a much more versatile offensive than Covington. If Covington is often around the corner waiting for catches, Grant can handle it and add juice to Blazers’ attack.
However, the questions are twofold:
1. Are these upgrades worth it? an additional $ 112 million over four yearshow much can (and probably should) Blazers offer to extend the Grant six months after the transaction is completed? Probably not, but finding big wings is becoming as difficult as finding big wings, and if Grant can even help Portland build a credible defense, Lillard has shown he can move forward in the top five for three consecutive years. this team is very far away.
2. Is the Portland team with Grant much better than the version that Cronin replaced six months ago? It’s a little trickier.
In its current form, it is the core of Portland:
So Lillard, a low-score guard, a high-quality guard as a fake attacker and a defensive attacker? Sounds pretty familiar! Blazers has more financial flexibility than under the previous administration ($ 44 million per luxury tax) ESPN’s Bobby Marks), but Anferee Simons’ deal with a limited free agency, as well as a possible new deal by Jusuf Nurkic (or his replacement), could eat it up pretty quickly.
The difference is probably due to the big prize Cronin received in February: no. 7 choices that Blazers acquired by running the Who He Play For Bonanza prize until the end of the main season. However, there are no easy solutions either.
No newcomer offers much positive value next season, let alone a 19-year-old who didn’t play any games in his recent season like Shaedon Sharpe, whose current choice is 7. Ringer’s pretended draft. And it would be hard to ask Dame to save his time and see the bigger picture in his 32-year season – or worse, to buy an extension of his collaboration that could cost a whopping $ 55 million to a 6-foot guard. At the age of 36; Steph Curry is easier to trust an institution if the cavalry has two future halls of fame than micro-McCollum.
It may make more sense for Blazers to continue trading and exchange no. 7 to another young veteran. Yahoo Chris Haynes reported On Wednesday, as Portland chases Toronto’s OG Anunoby, another sporty, defensive big wing with room to grow. But even Anunoby, or a player of similar age and skill, is unlikely to get Portland to a higher level in the West, which is expected to be re-loaded next season as Kawhi, Jamal Murray and Zion Williamson should support. quality teams who didn’t even make it through the second round.
Grant trading seems to be of better value than some moves towards the end of the Olshey era. But without even more appetite, it could have forged a path that would eventually lead to similar results for Blazers.
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