Portland Trail Blazers GM Joe Cronin is doing his best Troy Weaver impersonation in conducting a dramatic overhaul of the roster, razing out bad fits and bad contracts (and, it should be noted, good players) in an attempt to right the ship in Portland.
Whereas Weaver was completing razing the roster around a significant rebuild, Cronin is trying to do something much more difficult — clear the decks so he can build a proper, competitive, maybe even contending team, around star Damian Lillard.
Already, he’s sold off the high-priced deal or Norman Powell for scraps and salary saving, and today he pulled off his biggest move yet — moving franchise mainstay CJ McCollum to New Orleans for Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander Walker and future draft picks.
The plan as laid out by Adrian Wojnarowksi:
Portland’s plan is to fully reshape roster around Damian Lillard now. Portland created a $21M trade exception today, potentially $60M in salary cap space this summer, multiple draft picks and assets via Pels and Clippers trades. Plan is to pursue high-end talent now, not retreat.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2022
Speaking of Troy Weaver … could Cronin find a future home for that big trade exception in the form of Detroit forward Jerami Grant? The Blazers were reportedly interested in Grant, and that interest allegedly did not wane once Portland sold off Powell to the Clippers.
If Detroit could return a decent young player and a couple of those draft assets could the Pistons make a trade-deadline deal with the Blazers? Could they wait until the offseason closer to the NBA Draft?
Adding just a little fuel to that particular fire, here is Christian Clark, Pelicans beat writer for NOLA.com:
My understanding is this deal is not yet done. There is a possibility a third team could get looped in prior to Thursday’s trade deadline. Either way, McCollum is New Orleans-bound. https://t.co/ZRgYjmMtFL
— Christian Clark (@cclark_13) February 8, 2022
That is all pure speculation, to be sure, but Grant does seem like the kind of player who would fit in well alongside Dame, coach Chauncey Billups and fit in with the fan base in Portland. It would also set up the Blazers for investing in Grant with a new contract and still have roster balance and a reasonable amount of flexibility,
Will it happen? Probably not. But there is at least a hint of a match to be made between the two franchises.
Consider this your open thread for all upcoming deals and rumors. If there is any significant Pistons rumor, trust that it will probably get its own story posted in short order. For everything else, this is your playground.