The Portland Trail Blazers are one of the darkhorse teams this NBA season although their current record hardly shows that. Toting a 3-6 record, the team is far from the same one that made it to the Western Conference Finals.
To recall, one of the Waterloos that Portland had was the center position. After acquiring Hassan Whiteside from the Miami Heat, the hole seemed to have been plugged. In the early goings, the 30-year-old center appeared to be the perfect fit. Whiteside made big strides, producing double-double performances in their first couple of games.
Unfortunately, Whiteside was unable to sustain that performance. Against the Los Angeles Clippers, he was a non-factor in the first half. He drew heavy criticism from NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal. The Diesel stressed how Whiteside should churn out a good showing, especially since this is the final year of his contract, NBC Sports reported.
Whiteside came to life in the second half but that did not shut out the TNT panel from letting their thoughts known. Charles Barkley, known for his controversial takes, felt that the Blazers were better off with someone better. He singled out Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Blazers need to make a trade. Kevin Love. He’s dying in Cleveland…. They’ve got to do something. First of all, Kevin Love is from Portland. That would be a great trade to make. This team right here, they’re not going to beat the Lakers or the Clippers, we know that already,” said Barkley.
Love, as most know, is one player tied up to NBA trade rumors. With the Cavs focusing on younger players, the former NBA champion could be utilized better under the watch of Blazers coach Terry Stotts.
Portland finds itself shorthanded in the frontline. Pau Gasol has yet to play this season while Zach Collins is likely out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Aside from Whiteside, the only other big men in the mix are Anthony Tolliver and Skal Labissierre. From the remaining cast alone, it is pretty clear that Whiteside needs to perform consistently for Portland to win.
As for a potential Love trade, there have been no official reports of the Cavs and the Blazers discussing. This should be taken with a grain of salt although anything can happen moving forward. The NBA trade deadline is in February, meaning there is plenty of time for deals.
For now, the Blazers hope to snap a four-game losing streak when they host the Atlanta Hawks at the Moda Center on Nov. 10. Game time is at 9 p.m. EST with the Hawks as favorites to prevail.
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