NBA trade rumours: Mo Bamba and Jakob Poeltl should be bought

In the midst of the holiday season, this time of year also pilots us into the NBA’s trade season, and the Portland Trail Blazers have options with just under two months before the deadline arrives.

Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus highlighted several impact actors around the league that could be on the move before Feb. 9. Among the thicket of names were several big names, including Orlando Magic Mo Bamba center and San Antonio Spurs Jakob Poeltl center.

Some are obvious if you look at the bottom of the leaderboard. Among the worst teams in the league, league sources believe the Detroit Pistons may be open to trade shooter Bojan Bogdanović, the Orlando Magic should buy Gary Harris, Terrence Ross and Mo Bamba, and the San Antonio Spurs (Jakob Poeltl, Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott) and the Houston Rockets (Eric Gordon) can part with the veterans.

The market will determine the prices, but the names should come as no surprise.

Portland is stacked at guard and forward posts. However, the center slot is pretty slim with just two 5 men on the roster. Jusuf Nurkic has been plagued by injuries for years, playing just 70 or more games twice in his nine-year career. In the event of being sidelined again, Eubanks at 6’10 will be on an island to fend off the big guys in a talented Western Conference.

Bamba has been connected to Portland in free agency opportunities this summer, at least by the media. The 7-footer came into his own during the 2021-22 NBA campaign, posting 10.6 points per game, to go along with 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks on 48% shooting from the floor, 38% from shots on 3 (on four attempts per game) and 78% from the foul line. His clip of 38% from 3-point range trailed only Karl-Anthony Towns for the best percentage among all centers who made at least one 3-pointer per game last season. His blocks per game ranked T-5th.

He has seen his role dwindle this year, dropping out of the starting lineup in favor of Bol Bol, but his 36-per-numbers for this season exceed last season’s in several key categories. His shot-blocking chops, grounding ability and spacing would provide Portland with positional depth and a unique set of secondary skills.

San Antonio is a prime candidate to land prized center Victor Wembanyama in 2023 NBA Draft, leaving Poeltl as a strange man. He has been a marginal double-double producer for the past two seasons. He does the dirty work inside, throwing down 1.2 shots per game for his career and is capable of hitting open feet from 12 to 15 feet. Poeltl also provides sound passes, with a positive assist report on turnover.

He’s non-existent beyond the arc, having never attempted a 3 in his career, so he’s less of a floor spacer than Nurkic, who tries and connects on triples at career-high pace and efficiency .

Also mentioned in the Pincus report: Charlotte Hornets Mason Plumlee center. Blazers fans are familiar with the 6’11 center who spent the better part of two seasons at Portland in the mid-2010s. His bread and butter has been like a workaholic who fights on the offensive glass and presents as a lob threat in transition and screen-and-roll. His career-high 4.1 assists per game this season ranks him fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio among all centers averaging 2 cents or more this season. That number is on par with averages of 9.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game this season. He could give a boost off the bench to a Trail Blazers team that is No. 19 in assists and turnovers in the conference.

All three players could be potential targets to address Portland’s lack of size in the roster. Bamba signed a two-year, $21 million contract in June. NBC Sports’ Jonas Nader reports that Poeltl has the possibility of signing an extension for around $14 million in the offseason, but will choose to test the waters in free agency where his market value is expected to top that number. Currently, he earns just over $9 million. Plumlee will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and for the Blazers to make a trade work, they’ll need to work around his $8.5 million expiring salary for 2022-23.

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