The NBA trade deadline has officially passed and the Trail Blazers are really no better off today than they were Monday. CJ McCollum, Robert Covington and Norman Powell are all gone, replaced with dudes no one in the pacific northwest is much familiar with. But interim general manager Joe Cronin would tell you this is all going according to plan. He said as much during a Thursday press conference.
“It had become evident to us that the roster had plateaued,” Cronin explained. “We can be a cap-room team, we can be a trade-exception team, we can be a mid-level team… We have numerous ways to acquire high-end talent. Specifically, players that can earn more than the mid-level.”
Put simply; Joe Cronin is asking you to wait and see.
It had become glaringly obvious to most fans Portland’s current roster could not contend for a championship. It was a squad of dudes that could make the playoffs on a consistent basis, but did not meet the standard to compete at the highest level. Damian Lillard has made it abundantly clear he would like to get this team to an NBA championship and in order to do that, they need another star.
“We were looking at a team that would have been in the luxury tax by 15 million next season with not many ways to improve,” Cronin explained. “So, it was our decision to do a dramatic shakeup where our goal was to make multiple deals to balance the roster, to create numerous tools and exceptions and severely pad or cap in order to transact coming forward.”
Fans need to be patient with the process and understand improvement might not even become evident next season. The most important question is, how long will Damian Lillard wait for this process to play out before asking out of Rip City? We shall see…