February’s NBA trade deadline is still nearly two months away, but speculation has already begun about what moves the Portland Trail Blazers should make.
In a recent article for Bleacher Report, Zach Buckley wrote down three potential trade targets for general manager Joe Cronin to pursue, and the list included a familiar name: Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby.
Linked to the Blazers in trade talks leading up to last summer’s NBA draft, Buckley insists Portland needs to get back into discussions about the defensive stud’s availability. The Raptors are slumping to 13-17 this season and could opt to reshuffle their roster in response.
Buckley believes Anunoby will be a perfect fit alongside the versatile Jerami Grant, giving Damian Lillard a legitimate chance to contend in his 11th year in Portland.
After tanking in the second half of last season, Portland has found itself in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. However, the Blazers may need outside help to make the final leap toward title contention during the remainder of Damian Lillard’s prime.
They need to look for a difference maker to justify paying the exorbitant trade cost, but Anunoby could be that player if Toronto actually makes him available. He’s the big, two-way forward this roster has needed for so long, and his ability to mix and match with Jerami Grant could give the Blazers one of the league’s best offensive tandems.
Should Anunoby become available on the trade market, it appears the Blazers would have competition to acquire his talents. Buckley listed Anunoby as an ideal trade target for three other teams.
Outside of Anunoby, Buckley listed two other names that have recently appeared in Blazer’s Edge articles: New York Knicks forward Cam Reddish and Orlando Magic backup center Mo Bamba.
If Portland doesn’t want to spend that much, it might try kicking the tires on Reddish and see if this change of scenery is where it finally clicks. Or it could look for another backup center behind Jusuf Nurkic to compete with or replace Drew Eubanks.
What do you think of Rip City? Is now the time for the Blazers to push their chips for Anunoby?