Blazers will ‘be active’ as NBA trade deadline approaches

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — With the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline just days away, the Portland Trail Blazers are actively looking to reshape the roster around star guard Damian Lillard, Danny Marang said during an appearance on KGW Sports Sunday with Orlando Sanchez.

“From what I’ve heard, it does sound like Portland is definitely going to be active in the trade market,” said Marang, co-host of Danny & Dusty on Portland sports radio station 1080 The Fan. He’s also the co-host of the popular Blazers podcast Jacked Ramsays.

Marang said as many as two or three Blazers players could be traded at the deadline. The Blazers are looking to get bigger and bring in more length and athleticism.

“They want to be more athletic, they want to be more up-tempo, they want to be more aggressive defensively,” Marang said. “Jusuf Nurkic just really doesn’t fit that profile. As much as [Josh] Hart does kind of fit that profile, they’re playing him out of position [at small forward].”

Portland is targeting a handful of players in trade conversations, Marang said, including Utah Jazz 6-foot-9 forward Jarred Vanderbilt.

“Vando’s the kind of guy who really makes a lot of sense, who even though he’s not a 7-footer, he allows Portland to play that aggressive, more athletic-style attacking defense that [head coach] Chauncey Billups seems to favor,” Marang said. “He allows them to be more switchable, more aggressive with their coverage schemes defensively, and get out in the open court.”

Marang said backup bigs on the open market have been linked to Portland, including players like Orlando Magic 7-foot center Mo Bamba and Detroit Pistons 6-11 center Nerlens Noel.

Phoenix Suns 6-6 forward Jae Crowder is another player “Portland will probably be looking at,” according to Marang.

“Real tough, hard-nosed … plays with a real edge,” Marang said of Crowder. “A championship-caliber wing defender who could bring a level of toughness.”

Marang said the Blazers front office will be trying to make moves at the deadline “that balance out the roster, get them longer, fit more what they’re trying to accomplish alongside Damian Lillard.”

Fans shouldn’t expect Portland to make a big trade at the deadline. A big-swing move like that for an established star player would be more likely to happen in the summer. “That’s typically where the big-time transactions take place,” Marang said.

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