Did somebody read the news correctly? Did the Portland Trailblazers actually make a trade? Anyone who was watching the reports trickle in during the trade deadline will have seen that the Portland Trailblazers completed a deal with the Washington Wizards to send long time starting centre and future CSL hall of famer Al Horford, this year’s first round pick and rejuvenated undrafted point guard Chasson Randle in exchange for Walter Tavares and KJ McDaniels.
The deal means that Al Horford a stalwart of the Trailblazers crazy playoff runs the past 2 seasons will no longer be the experienced veteran expected to up his game as usual he will certainly bring a huge presence to a Wizards franchise that is looking to find small margins of improvement for their Eastern playoff run. With Detroit and Toronto showing signs of decline while the Heat and Celtics progress towards the top of the conference the Wizards only have a small window of opportunity which they must grasp. Can Horford be that missing 2 way piece? We all know he statistically improves come playoff time and the Wizards will be hoping he bring that game with him.
For the Trailblazers they lose one of the most underrated centres in the league but gain an extended window for their own run. Walter Tavares who at the age of 30 still has several years of peak performance and under a team friendly contract may not bring the offensive prowess Horford has but he should be able to handle the glut of dominant centres the Western conference can offer. With the likes of Drummon, Nurkic, Austin and Stanley Johnson to name a few Portland will be hoping he can shut down some of these players over the next few seasons. The addition of KJ McDaniels also provides healthy competition for back up shooting guard minutes with rookie Jalen Brunson who has as expected had good nights and bad nights as he gets used to Portland scheme.
With both the Trailblazers and Wizards fighting for a playoff spot both players should be back in the post season as expected. Which one will make the greatest impact to their new franchise when it counts?