Like many teams in the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers have flashed signs of being a playoff contender, but mostly they’ve been inconsistent this season. With the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline less than a week away, the Blazers are currently in ninth place, on the fringe of contention.
While Portland is much improved over last season, thanks in large part to Damian Lillard’s return from injury, this roster still doesn’t currently have the makings of a title contender. For Lillard, who’s 32 and has always been outspoken about his desire to win, that could grow into a problem.
Yet, the Blazers may be prepared to make more roster changes ahead of the trade deadline. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Trail Blazers are “absolutely in a buying mode” and are “attempting to add pieces.” With that in mind, here are three potential trade targets for the Blazers.
Jarred Vanderbilt solves rebounding woes
The Trail Blazers have plenty of guards capable of scoring. One area they could benefit greatly from improving in is rebounding, as Portland ranks just 24th out of 30 NBA teams at 42.1 per game. Outside of Jusuf Nurkic, the Blazers don’t have a big who consistently wins the rebounding battles on the glass.
That’s where Utah’s Jarred Vanderbilt could become an impact player in Portland, all thanks to his ability to do the dirty work, whether it’s diving for loose balls or somehow pulling down 17.9% of all rebounds when he’s on the floor, good enough for 18th in the NBA.
Jarred Vanderbilt stats: 8.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1 SPG
At 6-foot-9, Vando isn’t the largest player on the court, but his non-stop motor always helps him stand out over the course of the game. He’s a player any team could use, and at 23, Vanderbilt’s offensive abilities continue to develop to the point where he’s now comfortable attempting 1.1 three-point shots per game, which he’s hitting at a career-high 33.3% clip in Utah.
Vanderbilt is under contract for a very reasonable rate of $4.3 million this season and another $4.7 million in the final year of his deal next year. The Jazz are said to be seeking a first-round pick for the power forward. The Blazers hold all of their own first-round picks through 2029, meaning if that’s the true cost, Portland would appear to have what it takes to swing a deal.