Updated: Jun 28, 2019
Early Saturday morning all of us here in the Pacific Northwest awoke to news of a sizable earthquake on the Oregon coast. Midway through Monday afternoon, there was another sizable shake-up. This one though taking place within Portland. The Portland Trail Blazers traded backup forward Evan Turner for Kent Bazemore.
There has been a huge outcry the past two days for Evan Turner. He was heavily scrutinized in Portland after signing a four-year $70 million contract in the summer of 2016. To me the signing of Evan Turner always made sense. Is he a perfect fit? No, but from what many consider to be the elite teams of the west like, Oklahoma City, to Houston to what much of the rest of the league has seen as well, it’s hard to find the perfect “3-D” wing.
Evan Turner gave Portland the third ball handler that Portland desperately needed. He also gave us another reliable wing that everyone in the league has been after even before the rise of the Golden State Warriors. I.e. Scottie Pippin, LeBron James, Khawi Leonard. The list goes on. Evan Turner for better or for worse raised the Blazers profile across the NBA. Was he overpaid for what he contributed? Maybe. I’d argue his value went beyond the court, but all we see is if the orange ball go through the cylinder. ET helped create the culture for a young team that at one point was thought of as soft.
Now after three years with the Trail Blazers Evan Turner leaves the culture of this team stronger than it’s ever been. Coming off of their first Western Conference Finals appearance since 1999, the Blazers have traded for another versatile wing in Bazemore.
Yesterday, the Bazemore trade was made official when media members, head coach Terry Stotts, and President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey met at the Tualatin practice facility to introduce him to Portland. “We really excited to have Kent here. [He’s] going to be a great addition to our roster. His skillset is going to fit in perfectly with our style of play.” Olshey said while introducing Bazemore.
When you talk about fit, everything that Evan Turner wasn’t Bazemore essentially is. He can be a shooter. He moves well off the ball, slashes well and can find the open man coming off the screen with the ball in his hands.
With the absence of Turner, we lose a wing that can guard one through four positions. Bazemore has more of a two guard frame at six feet five inches, compared to Turner’s six foot seven-inch small forward frame. My first thought when the trade went through on Monday was “jeez, who guards Paul Millsap?” The fact is, we’ll figure it out. Portland desperately needed another wing player that can dribble, drive and shoot. Now they will attempt to hold on to Rodney Hood to keep this wing core together. The Blazer can only offer the $5.7 million taxpayer mid-level, which Hood is expected to be priced above. In Wednesday’s press conference with the media, Olshey hinted that losing Hood due to a better offer might be the case.
Roster building as Olshey has previously stated is an ongoing process. As the Blazers continue to look for ways to improve their roster free agency will begin Sunday, June 30th at approximately 6 pm pacific time. In the days that follow we will begin to see more of a clear directions the Trail Blazers will be headed in.
With the addition of Bazemore, does this make Hood more expendable? Should the Blazer look to target a veteran center with their taxpayer mid-level instead?