Take all the time you want, Joe Cronin. The Portland Trail Blazers are embarking on the most trade they will make in franchise history. I don’t say that lightly, but a trade like this which involves the face of the franchise should not be rushed.
Cronin said this about the trade:
“I think what I’ve learned more than anything is patience is critical,” Cronin said in a news conference at Thomas & Mack Center on Monday afternoon. “Don’t be reactive. Don’t jump at things just to seemingly solve a problem. I think the teams that have ended up in the most positive situations post-trade have been the ones that have been really diligent in taking their time and not been impulsive, or the teams that really kept their urgency under control.”
100 percent. Technically, the Blazers don’t have a problem. Lillard wants out, and I don’t blame him at all. But there are 29 teams that would be lucky to have him and who should have at least had the conversation about what they should offer Portland to get him.
Trading Dame will hurt this fanbase, and it will take away the best part about their team for the last decade or so. It’s not going to be fun when he is gone, so they have to ensure that they get the best return possible.
If the Blazers get back a lousy haul in return, or they load up on draft picks who don’t pan out, they will have lost out on one of the largest potential returns in league history.
This is a chance for this franchise to take a player, trade him, and net a couple of former first-round picks, a handful of future first-round picks, and a vet or two. We are talking about a trade that could see Dame exchanged for 7-8 players/prospects/picks.
The roster is currently a mess, and they have a lot of work to do. If they can somehow get a return that includes 2-3 immediate starters who are early in their careers, plus 2-3 first-round picks in the next few years, they should go out and get that. But they have to be patient, and they can’t jump at a decent trade overnight just because of the pressure from the fan base or social media. This is a serious move that will be made, and it could set this team up for the next decade.
The last thing that the Blazers want are to be known as the franchise that traded away a guy like Dame and got back a couple of future G-League burnouts and guys who aren’t with the team in the next few years.
One thing to remember through all of this is that it takes time to scout, dig through rosters, and figure out who fits the culture and scheme in Portland. This isn’t NBA 2K, where you trade for the best players, and the computer simulates what happens. This is real life, and there are a dozen things to consider when dealing for one player.
Remember when the Blazers made a quick trade of star CJ McCollum? The Pelicans traded guards Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Didi Louzada in the deal. Guess what? Not one of those guys is still with the Blazers, and in the grand scheme, that was a trade that did nothing for Portland while they lost the sidekick to Dame and an incredibly efficient player who still had a lot to offer the Blazers.
This is 100x more drastic than that trade. Sure, it would be nice to know who the franchise’s future will be and what it will be like when Dame is gone. Right now, all Blazer fans know they are getting dumped by the girl of their dreams, but they don’t know when it will happen.
Put aside the tension and the dread, and realize that waiting for this thing out and ensuring the return is incredible is what is most important. There are a lot of jobs at stake with this, including Cronin’s.
“We’re going to be patient; we’re going to do what’s best for our team. We’re going to see how this lands. And if it takes months, it takes months.”
If it takes months (which I don’t think it will), it takes months. This process cannot be rushed or impacted by social media rumors. The Blazers have been setting themselves up for years, and it has to be done correctly.