Reacting to the Portland Trail Blazers’ moves at the trade deadline

PORTLAND, Ore. — The NBA trade deadline came and went and Portland made two trades.

The first trade happened on Jan. 21 when the Blazers acquired Trevor Ariza, Caleb Swanigan and Wenyen Gabriel for Kent Bazemore and two second-round picks.

On Thursday, the day of the deadline, the Blazers made one more deal, sending Skal Labissiere and $1.9 million in cash to the Atlanta Hawks for a protected 2024 second-round pick.

The moves the Blazers made leading up to the deadline were mostly to cut salary and reduce their luxury tax bill. They didn’t, however, get completely under the luxury tax threshold, which means they’re at risk of paying the repeater tax in future seasons.

RELATED: Blazers make their first trade of the season

RELATED: Blazers trade Skal Labissiere to Hawks

The Blazers kept Hassan Whiteside, who many Blazers fans and NBA pundits believed Portland would try to move for players who would help the team going forward. Whiteside’s $27 million contract expires at the end of this season.

On this week’s episode of the 3-on-3 Blazers podcast, we react to the moves the Blazers made and the moves they didn’t make at the deadline. We also make predictions for the next five games, answer your questions, and play a rousing game of Rip It!

LISTEN: Trade deadline reaction

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Have a question you’d like us to answer on next week’s podcast? Email us here

Game predictions

The Blazers play five games between now and our next podcast: tonight at home against the Spurs (22-28), Friday at the Jazz (32-18), Sunday at home against the Heat (34-16), Tuesday on the road at the Pelicans (20-31) and Wednesday at the Grizzlies (26-25). Which games do the Blazers win and which do they lose?

Nate: Despite the hot stretch the Blazers were on prior to Tuesday’s loss against Denver, I’m still not a believer in this team. Underestimating Portland has hurt me with my picks the last two weeks but I’m going to go low again. The Blazers go 1-4. They start this stretch by beating the Spurs but then lose four in a row, including that first critical matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Orlando: After picking against the Blazers the past couple of weeks, I’m ready to start handing out a couple of W’s. I like them to bounce back from an ugly loss at Denver and beat the Spurs at home, but the second of a back-to-back at Utah doesn’t look good for the Blazers. Chalk that one up as a loss. Miami is playing at a high level and they’ve won five of their last eight. They’re banged up right now, but I’ll take a Heat team sporting a 34-16 record. Give me a split in their last two games. Win in New Orleans, but lose a tough game at Memphis. This is a 2-3 week for Rip City.

Jared: Even with the bad outing against Denver, Portland has played well over the past month against a very difficult schedule, going 9-7 since Jan. 3. The reason for their improved play has been their offense. Over the past 11 games, in which the Blazers are 7-4, Portland has the best offense in the NBA. I think the Blazers can outscore the Spurs at home, so that’s a win. I’ll pick the Jazz to snap their five-game losing streak and beat the Blazers. Jimmy Butler has a shoulder injury and those are tricky. I think he won’t play in Portland so I’ll pick the Blazers to beat the Heat. And I’ll pick the Blazers to split that road back-to-back, beating the Pelicans and losing to the Grizzlies. It’s a 3-2 week.


  • Jared: 33-15
  • Orlando: 31-17
  • Nate: 29-19

Jared Cowley is a digital producer who writes about the Blazers and other topics for Jared has written about the Jazz and Warriors as a sports editor at two daily newspapers.

Nate Hanson is a digital producer who contributes to’s coverage of the Blazers, Ducks, Beavers and high school sports.

Orlando Sanchez is the sports anchor and reporter for KGW News, Sports Sunday and Friday Night Flights. Orlando has covered multiple NBA Finals, NCAA Basketball Tournaments and World Series.