• Bazemore is expected to stick and play with the Kings
  • The Blazers-Kings trade helps both teams with their luxury tax woes
  • Blazers acquiring Love rumors may have gotten a boost

The Portland Trail Blazers finally pulled the trigger, trading Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and a pair of draft picks to the Sacramento Kings. In return, they got Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan.

On the surface, the move was more of a means for both teams to avoid the dreaded luxury tax. ESPN reported that the Blazers will save $12.5 million in salary while the Kings’ bill will drop to $7 million. Further, Portland will create a $7.2 million and $1.7 million trade exception that will expire next year.

From the deal alone, it appears the Kings got the better end of it. Bazemore is averaging 7.9 points and four rebounds this season while Tolliver norms 3.9 points and 3.3 rebounds. Despite the decline in performance this NBA season, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports learned from sources that the 30-year-old will not pursue a buyout because he holds good ties with Kings’ head coach Luke Walton.

As far as the Blazers are concerned, it appears only Ariza can be of immediate help. The 34-year-old averages six points and 4.6 rebounds this season, numbers that will probably do coming off the bench. Gabriel and Swanigan may hardly be of help, players who could be eventually waived.

The Blazers sport an 18-26 win-loss record in the Western Conference but can still catch the last bus to the NBA playoffs. Bazemore and Hassan Whiteside were to mentioned candidates to be traded, possibly making room for a player like Kevin Love. It has been frequently reported that the Blazers could be the 31-year-old’s next home if Portland is able to maneuver its team salary budget. Love carries a hefty $120 million contract.

Focus now shifts to Hassan Whiteside, another player who holds a hefty deal. The 30-year-old center owns a $27 million deal but is set to become an unrestricted free agent. The defensive-minded center has shown he can be a force to reckon with but consistency in his game is badly missing.

With no surety of Whiteside staying, most believe that the 7-footer will eventually walk and seek another big deal. Rather than take that risk, Love could be a perfect replacement and someone who can further boost their NBA playoff dreams.

Kent Bazemore Kent Bazemore may not be with the Atlanta Hawks come the end of the season. In this picture, Bazemore #24 of the Hawks reacts during the game against the Chicago Bulls at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, Oct. 27, 2018. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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