The Portland Trail Blazers have had an underwhelming start to the 2022-23 NBA season. Through 48 games they're 23-25, which is 12th in the competitive Western Conference. As a result, they could be looking to shake things up a bit prior to the trade deadline, and players such as Josh Hart and Jusuf Nurkic could potentially be available, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo. Hart has a player option for next season that he's likely to turn down in favor of a bigger payday, while Nurkic still has several years remaining on his current contract.
The Blazers are aiming to build a contender around Damian Lillard, who agreed to a massive extension with the team prior to the season. Lillard isn't getting any younger, so the Blazers are likely operating with at least some sense of urgency, as the team is still just a couple of games out of playoff positioning despite their sluggish start.
The rest of the Blazers' roster seems far more unsettled ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline. Portland has given rival teams the impression that it is open to discussing the majority of its players, particularly Josh Hart and Jusuf Nurkic, sources said, as the franchise remains committed to building a playoff contender around Lillard. Portland has engaged teams with an eye toward size with athleticism, plus wing-shooting defenders, sources said. Hart has become one of the buzzier names among league executives this week, as he's expected to decline a $12.9 million player option for the 2023-24 season.
One player that the Blazers won't be looking to move (other than Lillard) is Jermai Grant. The Blazers hope to lock Grant up long-term and have already offered him a four-year, $112 million extension, per Yahoo. Grant hasn't accepted the offer, as he could gain an additional year on an offer by waiting until the offseason.
The Blazers traded for Grant last offseason, and he has proven to be a solid fit in Portland alongside Lillard. On the season, he's averaging 21.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while also providing some versatile defense.
Things could always change between now and the offseason, but Grant seems to be enjoying his time with the Blazers, and it sounds like he plans to remain in Portland beyond the current campaign.
"I definitely like it here; love it here,'' Grant said earlier this month. "The guys have been very welcoming, it's definitely a family environment, everybody is super cool, got good guys on the team, great organization — Joe, Chauncey, everything. I'm definitely enjoying it here... I ain't really plan on leaving."