Blazers decide to hit reset button as trade deadline passes

Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 9:19 PM PST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - The NBA’s trade deadline has come and gone and the Portland Trail Blazers have no less than nine new faces on a roster.

The team is now in the process of a full reconstruction.

C.J. McCollum, Norman Powell and Robert Covington are all gone and looking to win elsewhere, but where will the wins come now for a Blazer team that in one year went from all in to tapping out?

Interim General Manager Joe Cronin worked under Neil Olshey and has been digging out of those “products of the roster.”

“It had become evident to us that the roster had plateau, it was a team that was built to fit a specific coaching style and a style of play that we didn’t feel was conducive to the way Chauncey and myself wanted to play,” Cronin said.

After eight straight years of playoff appearances, the Blazers never got to properly peak in the postseason. Now what is the sneak peak of 2022 and beyond?

“When I first got this job Jody Allen challenged us to put out a competitive roster and this to us was the best and most viable way to do so and in order to do so, we had to shake it up and now we can move forward,” Cronin said.

More than a shake up, it’s a full-blown remodel. No longer in the luxury tax which makes the owner happy, with plenty of bucks to go shopping this summer. But will Cronin be the guy tasked with gathering the goods?

“The makeup and the mentality of the team just wasn’t quite where we thought it would be and then certain things answer themselves like, cap-wise we were in trouble. We had kind of pushed all of our chips in on that roster and it was very apparent that we were going to be stuck very soon so the thought was, let’s get ahead of this and back out of it,” he said.

The Blazers have picks, prospects and plenty of power in numbers as the team is well below the salary cap and will be ready to spend, either via trades for free agency in the offseason.

“As far as free agency goes, we’re confident that we can go out and be competitive in our recruiting. I think with Chauncey Billups, Damian Lillard, myself, I think that we will get in meetings and we will paint a very good picture of this organization and this city and we’re not gonna run from going after players that we think make sense here,” Cronin said.

The revamping Blazers near the All-Star break break at 22-34. One game out of 10th for a play-in spot and just six games away from the worst record in the West, the best for Portland is to collect ping pong balls.

They’ll have one, maybe tow lottery picks come July.

Cronin said it’s “most likely” that Dame will not return this season. Lillard is four weeks removed from abdominal surgery and like the rest in Rip City, looking towards better days to come next season.