Now that the dust has settled after a rapid-fire offseason, the Portland Trail Blazers appear to have a deeper and more talented roster, especially on defense.
The NBA fast-tracked its offseason, with the start of trade season, the draft and free agency all starting and (mostly) wrapping up last week. In a stretch of seven days, Portland made the following moves:
- Traded for Robert Covington. Portland gave up forward Trevor Ariza, this year’s first-round pick and a future first-round pick.
- Drafted C.J. Elleby in the second round.
- Traded for Enes Kanter. This was part of a three-team deal that sent guard/forward Mario Hezonja to Memphis.
- Resigned Rodney Hood
- Signed free agent Derrick Jones Jr.
- Resigned Carmelo Anthony
- Signed free agent Harry Giles
The move for Covington was the headliner and the reason so many national pundits have raved about the Blazers' offseason.
"The Blazers felt one medium-sized move and some good health away from being a problem," said ESPN's Zach Lowe. Covington might be the perfect piece to lock everything into its proper place."
But the Blazers also shored up their depth. Depending on who starts, Portland's reserve unit could feature Gary Trent Jr., Anthony, Kanter and Collins, Hood or Jones Jr.
"We wanted to be more athletic, we wanted to be better defensively this year," said Neil Olshey, the Trail Blazers’ president of basketball operations. "We wanted more versatility on the perimeter, we wanted to be able to switch more and be more disruptive on defense, more aggressive on that end."
At least on paper, it seems like Olshey and the Blazers accomplished many of those goals. How it all gels on the court remains to be seen, but Blazers fans won't have to wait much longer. NBA preseason games begin Dec. 11 and the regular season starts Dec. 22.
KGW's 3-on-3 Blazers podcast team got together Wednesday to talk about the Blazers' moves and make some predictions about the season ahead.