Just three days after the NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers picked up another lottery pick — and this one comes a year late.
On Sunday, the Blazers acquired second-year player Thomas Robinson from the Houston Rockets. As first reported by Yahoo! Sports, Portland will get Robinson, a 6-foot-10 power forward and fifth overall selection of the 2012 draft, for the rights to Kostas Papanikolaou and Marko Todorovic as well as two future second-round selections.
The Blazers acquired Papanikolaou in the Raymond Felton trade to New York and recently selected Todorovic with the 40th draft pick on Thursday night.
However, for the compensation of two international players who never wore a Blazer jersey, Portland picks up a highly coveted big man from the 2012 draft.
Robinson began his NBA career with an emotional moment, meeting Commissioner David Stern with tears in his eyes as the Sacramento Kings made him the fifth pick. However, before the trade deadline in February, Sacramento sent Robinson to Houston in a three-team deal.
In Houston, Robinson played in only 19 games, averaging 4.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 13 minutes per game — statistics that reflected his overall rookie season.
Now on his third team in a year, Robinson may finally find a home in Portland. Robinson not only gives the Blazers their fourth lottery pick in a calendar year — the list includes Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard and CJ McCollum — but also deepens the bench. As a stronger and more talented option as backup power forward, Robinson will likely fit in the rotation behind All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge.
Also, Robinson is set to make over $3.5 million next season, which chews up a portion of the team’s previous $11.6 million salary cap.
Essentially, Robinson’s arrival consummates the departure of starting center JJ Hickson, who played out of position last year and becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
With a young and talented cast developing for their bench, the Blazers still must fill the void of a rim-protecting veteran center through free agency.