After making it to the Western Conference Finals last year, the expectations were high for the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2019-20 NBA season. Unfortunately, as of now, the Trail Blazers are currently out of the playoff race, sitting in the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference with a 23-27 record. Though they are only two wins behind the Western Conference No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies, the Trail Blazers obviously need more star power alongside the explosive backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in order to have a legitimate chance of contending for the 2020 NBA championship title.
In the past months, the Trail Blazers have already been linked to several NBA superstars, but as the 2020 February NBA trade deadline approaches, rumors surrounding Portland have somewhat died down. According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, compared to the initial belief that they would be trading for a superstar, the Trail Blazers are currently not expected to make a “big win-now move” during the 2019-20 season.
“They are only two games out of the playoffs, and they owe Damian Lillard (absolutely volcanic right now) and CJ McCollum an honest chance. That said, the noise on Portland making a big win-now move has cooled, sources say. That makes sense. The Blazers are climbing from a deep hole. Any big deal would have to involve Hassan Whiteside’s expiring contract, and Whiteside is giving Portland quality minutes — at a time when they have no other healthy center. They can regroup next season with Lillard, McCollum, Rodney Hood, Zach Collins, Jusuf Nurkic, and all their young players and picks.”
Choosing to play the remainder of the 2019-20 season with their current roster might really end up being the best move for the Trail Blazers. Though there are players who are available on the trade market that could address the major issue on their roster, it remains a big question mark if acquiring any of them would put the team on the same level as Western Conference powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.
However, their decision not to make a big win-now move before the trade deadline also comes with a huge risk. Lillard has said on numerous occasions that he wants the Trail Blazers to continuously find ways to build a roster that can legitimately contend for the NBA championship title. If the Trail Blazers won’t push for a major roster upgrade and they suffer a huge disappointment this season, it will not be a surprise if Lillard follows the footsteps of other NBA superstars and starts finding his way out of Portland in the summer of 2020.