Understanding Portland Trail Blazers’ Underwhelming NBA Trade Deadline Deal … Wait, That’s It?

In the waning moments of Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline, it seemed the Portland Trail Blazers would stay on mute.

Then, as he’s done so many times before, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a bomb right at Noon PT without as much as a warning shot, delivering the news we’d been waiting for all along. 

In a clutch move at the literal deadline, Portland acquired Boston Celtics guard Dalano Banton in exchange for a heavily protected second-round pick. Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer quickly confirmed the protections, which apply to the top 55 selections of the 2027 draft. 

At this point, here’s where we stand. 

Banton is a third-year, 6’8” guard averaging 7.1 minutes across 24 games this season. At 24 years old and with his size, he can earn time during Portland’s late-season run toward the lottery. 

Also—I promise, in a very scientific fashion—I ran every detail of this trade through an intensive, super-analytical breakdown, courtesy of my personal invention: The NBA Trade Bizarro Barometer 4,000 (patent pending). 

As it turns out, this deal is officially the weirdest trade the Trail Blazers have ever made. Ever. 

I don’t argue with The NBA Trade Bizarro Barometer 4,000.

For evidence, search no further than the “heavily protected” second-round pick. Despite second-rounders looking like gold recently in mid-name trades, teams aren’t usually so protective over what amounts to a crapshoot. 

That sentiment, by the way, only grows stronger as you approach Mr. Irrelevant, making Boston’s willingness to give Banton away—almost literally—one of the most forgettable deals of the entire deadline outside Boston and Portland. (Two cities that, ironically, had a 50-50 shot of ending up with the same name. How ‘bout them apples?)

Beyond the optics, you can’t look at what the Blazers did at the deadline without thinking of what they didn’t do on Thursday. 

To no fault of his own, Banton is not a future first-round pick. That was the desired return for fans in a Brogdon or Grant flip and clearly the required return for general manager Joe Cronin. “Trader Joe” would have flipped Brogdon for a first-rounder if the protections had been right. We all heard Brogdon advocating for the team to keep him around this past week. But had a real offer been there, Portland’s GM would’ve smashed the “deal” button like he was standing across from Howie Mendel, briefcase by his side, ready to cash in. 

In reality … we’ve seen weirder trades in franchise history. The oddity of this deal honestly pales in comparison to the cinema of debuting Portland legend Cash Considerations back in 2017. That was a treat. 

This unexpected block-bust of a deal is also no weirder than when the Blazers traded their Vice President of Marketing (read that again if you need to…) for a six-time ABA and NBA All-Defense player in Don Buse back in 1983. That VP of marketing, by the way…was Erik Spoelstra’s dad, Jon Spoelstra. Because, if you’re doing something weird in 1983, why not add an extra dash of bizarro for future generations of Portlanders to appreciate? Am I right?  

To Cronin’s credit, he didn’t flip Brogdon or Grant (or Matisse Thybulle) for pennies on the dollar. The market this deadline proved as soft as suspected, and in the end, Cronin valued leadership and having genuine, good players on a young, impressionable roster. 

Whether or not Brogdon and Grant remain in Portland this time next year is very, very to be determined. But for at least the next nine weeks, those two are family in Rip City. And now, so is a certain Canadian guard named Banton. 

Welcome to the family, Dalano. 

Keep Portland weird. 

*And hit the Oregon Sports News comments to let Bryant Knox know which historic Trail Blazers trade sticks out in your mind as the weirdest, most random swap you can think of. 

About Bryant Knox 111 Articles
Bryant was drafted to Oregon Sports News in 2011 as a fresh-faced, fervorous fan ready to take NBA media by storm. So many years later, the face may be a tad less fresh, but the fervor hasn’t faded. In addition to being an OSN Writer, Bryant holds the role of Bleacher Report’s NBA Editor. By representing both sites, Bryant has accomplished something not even LeBron James could do in his historic career: He figured out how to play for the two best teams in the game at the exact same time. You go, Bryant 💪. And go, Blazers 🌹