The Portland Trail Blazers will begin the 2021-2022 season largely intact. They’re coming off a free-agency period where they lost Carmelo Anthony and re-signed Norman Powell. The only big change made was the hiring of rookie head coach Chauncey Billups. Without any cap space or draft picks, Portland will likely begin the new season relying on internal improvement and Billups’ coaching. The team just lacks the assets to acquire another substantial player.
There are many statements being made about this year’s team, but we’re got you covered in our Fact or Fiction series. It features the boldest claims being made about the Trail Blazers and gives you the answer with a decisive fact or fiction.
Make sure to check out all of our other Fact or Fiction articles.
Damian Lillard will be Traded Before the Season
The Lillard rumors have been hot throughout the offseason, with reports of the star considering leaving. Teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks have been mentioned as potential destinations if Lillard ever became available. The rumors also explain why the 76ers have held on to Ben Simmons at the moment. Despite all the chatter, Lillard is still on the Trail Blazers. He hasn’t asked out and the team has not entertained trade talks either. With training camp two months away, a trade isn’t likely to happen. Expect Lillard to play out the season in Portland and reevaluate his options once the campaign is over.
Verdict: Fiction, Lillard will start the season in Portland
The Trail Blazers will Remain a Middle of the Pack Team
Any trade the Trail Blazers make will not put them in the class with the Western Conference’s elite teams. The conference’s top teams only got better during the offseason. Barring any injuries, the Los Angeles Lakers will remain the top favorite to come out of the West. The defending Western Conference Champions Phoenix Suns are still dangerous and have added some key role players. We also can’t forget about the Denver Nuggets with a healthy Jamal Murray. With his return, the team should be a top contender in the West.
It would also be foolish to ignore the Golden State Warriors. With a healthy Klay Thompson, the Warriors could challenge the elite teams in the conference. There are also teams more near the bottom like the Memphis Grizzlies to keep an eye on. With that being said, expect the Trail Blazers to remain in the middle of the bunch.
Verdict: Fact, the Trail Blazers will remain a middle of the pack team
The Trail Blazers will be Active Prior to the Trade Deadline
It was a fairly quiet free-agency period for the Trail Blazers. As mentioned earlier, the only major move made was the hiring of Billups. Unfortunately, the team didn’t make any huge roster moves. Of course, they added three good players in Cody Zeller, Ben McLemore, and Tony Snell. However, the Blazers are pretty much the same team as before. They also lost Enes Kanter, who filled in for Jusuf Nurkić while he was away from the team.
Still, there’s always the chance the Blazers could make moves prior to next season’s trade deadline. They have shown a willingness to make risky moves such as the 2021 trade deadline acquisition of Powell from the Toronto Raptors. With the pressure of keeping Lillard happy, it wouldn’t be crazy to predict that a number of moves will be made. The question is whether the potential moves will be enough to compete in a tough Western Conference.
Verdict: Fact, the Trail Blazers will be active prior to the trade deadline
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