The Portland Trail Blazers have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs four out of the last five years. That includes that this past postseason by the Denver Nuggets in six games.
After the Blazers were eliminated from the playoffs, they fired Terry Stotts and hired Chauncey Billups. However, Portland did not do too much in free agency, losing Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers and Enes Kanter to the Celtics.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, On Friday afternoon, Portland acquired veteran forward Larry Nance Jr. from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Derrick Jones Jr. And a protected first-round pick.
The deal is part of a three-team swap with the Chicago Bulls that brings Lauri Markkanen to Cleveland by sign-and-trade. The Bulls receive Jones and Portland 2022 first round, protected through the lottery until 2028. If the pick-up hasn’t arrived in Chicago by then, the Blazers will send a 2028 second-rounder to the Bulls.
ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON, NBA TV analyst Brendan Haywood was on Instagram Live with Scott O’Gallagher, Ryan Hollins, and Bobby Maximus. During the Live, Hollins read out the three-team trade, and when it came down to the details of what Portland sent to Chicago. O’Gallagher asked what Portland was doing, and Haywood replied, “What Portland is doing is working double-time to run Damian Lillard out of town.”
“Listen Dame is loyal to the soil, but he needs to get out of there quick, fast, and in a hurry. The front office in Portland is fumbling his whole career away.”
Kendrick Perkins was in the chat, sharing his thoughts until he was brought on and revealed why Portland should run it back before breaking up the team.
“This is why I feel Portland should give it one more shot. I just feel a different voice in the locker changes everything. If you at the Portland they have enough firepower to compete offensively,” said Perkins.
“Terry Stotts is not a defensive coach, so they always ranked in the bottom of the league defensively, so to me that is accountability. That is coaching and holding guys accountable. All I am saying is give it a shot with Chauncey,” said Perkins.
“We saw the Atlanta Hawks struggle, but as soon as Nate McMillan took over a different voice in the locker room all of a sudden they changed. We saw the same thing with the Clippers right? We saw them wanted Doc Rivers out and Ty Lue stepped in and everything changed. Defensive is all will power and mental.”
Shaq, added, “Perk is right, you have to want to play defense and you can make up for players that don’t play defense.”
Earlier this week Lillard shared during an interview with Complex Media shared that he wants to win a championship with the Blazers.
“Not from a place where I am threatening y’all, but if it comes down to I have to move on and do something different, then maybe that is what I have to do, but it was like I have not made that decision. However, the fact remains I would like to win a championship in Portland.”
“We have to do better, and I have always said that I want to win in Portland, and I still feel that way. So, if I say we got to get better, we have to give ourselves a chance. If we can’t get out of the first round, we got to get better,” said Lillard.
We are less than two months away from the start of the 2021-22 NBA season, and hopefully Portland can prove a lot of critics wrong.