As the calendar turns to February, trade whispers get louder. The trade deadline is February 23rd at noon PT. For the first couple months of the season, Portland's needs seemed obvious.
Through the first 30 games, the Blazers had the NBA's worst defense and a top 10 offense. In the 19 games since, the narrative has flipped. The defense has been top 10 while the offense has slid to the bottom 3rd of the league.
On Tuesday, Keith Smith from RealGM.com joined us after his reporting suggested that Serge Ibaka is now a player the Orlando Magic appear willing to part with. Ibaka came to Orlando in the offseason as the centerpiece in a trade with Oklahoma City. The Thunder had done the math and unloaded him leading into his contract year. The Magic had talked about signing him to a long-term deal after this season but with Orlando likely headed back to the lottery, Smith says Ibaka is now available.
Would you roll the dice on a player with a reputation for rim protection and outside shooting but, at 27 years old, already appears to be on the decline?
I think his teammate, Nikola Vucevic, would be the better longterm fit. While he doesn't really stretch the floor to the 3 point line, he has shooting range that extends beyond the paint and could be a solid defender in a conservative, Robin Lopez-type system.
If you're looking for the more likely gamble, Vooch would still be the Magic big man to target in Portland.