The Portland Trail Blazers certainly didn’t get better, but at least they saved a buck? A Blazers ownership group worth over $20 billion dollars will now save somewhere around $12 – $15 million this year by avoiding the penalty for repeat offenders going over the luxury tax. To accomplish this Portland sent Robert Covington, and Norman Powell to Los Angeles for Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson, a 2025 second-round pick, and a little over $4 million in cap space.
From a basketball standpoint, the Clippers are the clear winners, and NBA analysts across the board are lambasting blazers management for this move. The Portland native in me would love to be a part of the take-down of the Blazers front office. but alas fantasy managers should be concerned about what this means for their roster, and what opportunities this trade now presents.
Anfernee Simons, PG/SG
Simons has already picked up a ton of playing time due to Damian Lillard’s injury, but the trade of Norman Powell means the youngster should see even more minutes. He’s currently owned in well over 50% of leagues, but it should be closer to 100%. Simons is averaging 15.7 points and 3.7 assists on the season, but over the last month he’s been scorching, averaging 22.6 points, 6.3 assists, 4.2 three-pointers made, and nearly a steal per contest.
His three-point numbers are patently elite, and the up-tick in assists was necessary to make him a stable part of any roster. All of this is prior to the trade which should afford him even more usage. Long story short, if Simons is available pick him up, and if managers can get him on the cheap, make it happen.
Norman Powell SG/SF
The ole “square peg in a round hole” narrative is a common one, and could certainly be used for Powell’s time in Portland. Joining the Blazers Powell became the third 6’3 guard starting in the blazers lineup. The redundancy showed through win Dame was healthy, but since being out Powell has turned it up and is averaging over 18 points, 2.3 three-pointers made, and 1 steal a game this season.
His arrival in Los Angeles is much needed for an undermanned Clippers backcourt. Powell should slot in to start at his more comfortable position of shooting guard, but his versatility to play the three will ensure he’s a starter regardless. Between CJ McCollum, Simons, and Nurkic the blazers had a decent amount of scoring punch, the same can’t be said for the Clippers. Without Paul George or Kawhi Leonard, Powell could be their immediate best scoring option. Don’t be surprised to see his scoring and three-pointer numbers jump dramatically.
Justise Winslow SF/PF
Calling the blazers frontcourt thin prior to the trade would have been acceptable. After trading away their starting SF and PF, calling it thin is a downright fact. After being picked 10th overall in the 2015 draft Justise Winslow has been a relative disappointment, with little to no fantasy impact. Through multiple injuries, trades, and poor performance the former Duke standout is looking for a fresh start.
After being thrust into a more meaningful role in the rotation with the Clippers Winslow has put a few impressive performances together prior to his trade to Portland. When he plays 25 + minutes a night he is capable of averaging 10+ points 8+ rebounds and nearly a steal and a block a game. Those sorts of numbers aren’t amazing, but certainly make him rosterable in a number of formats.
Amir Coffey SG/SF
Coffey, the undrafted guard out of Minnesota has started and averaged 30+ minutes for Clippers over the last month. His nearly 15 points per game, and 2 made three-pointers a game made him rosterable in most deep leagues. That run is likely over with LA’s addition of Powell. Despite starting Sunday Coffey only logged 25 minutes, while Powell put in 24, and scored 28 off the bench.
It would be an interesting rotation decision to continue to bring Powell off the bench, but regardless, Coffey’s usage will likely drop to a point where he won’t be a factor across most fantasy formats.
Nicolas Batum SF/PF
This reasoning is essentially the same as Amir Coffey’s. In his first start since the trade, Batum only played 16 minutes, while newcomer Robert Covington saw 23 off the bench. Batum holds most of his fantasy impact in nearly averaging a steal and a block a game while hitting over 2 threes. If his minutes drop significantly, as the first game would suggest it’s unlikely he will be able to keep his fringe rosterable numbers afloat.
I didn’t list Robert Covington in the “Winners” section mainly because even with big minutes in Portland his production was some of his worst in years. That being said he played Sunday night’s game against the Bucks with a level of intensity you often see in a player who is up for a new challenge. He’s already rostered in many leagues but RoCo is definitely someone managers should keep an eye on.
The Blazers Roster
From a fan’s standpoint, it seems as though the Blazers are throwing in the towel. On the fantasy end of things, this may be the first domino to fall of many. Many major outlets think the Blazers are likely to ship CJ McCollum prior to the February 10 trade deadline.
While I’m listing them as a loser, because the team is clearly worse, the Blazers should also be an interesting team for fantasy managers to keep an eye on in the second half of the season. Once the dust settles on the Blazers roster a few new faces could find themselves fantasy relevant.
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