TUALATIN, Ore. — On Thursday the NBA trade deadline came and went as the clock struck noon Pacific time.
The Portland Trail Blazers then took the practice court, having the knowledge that they’ll be moving forward with the team that’s gotten them to this point.
The Blazers, while they are without three of their top-four big men including their All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, decided to stand pat with their team.
“This just lets us know that this our group. That’s who we rolling with,” said Damian Lillard after the Blazers practiced on Thursday.
“We like our team,” head coach Terry Stotts said. “We like our players. We like where we are and what we’ve done so far this season. We’ve been very competitive with the roster we have.”
The Blazers didn’t make a trade at or near the deadline for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
The fact that they didn’t make any moves also coincided that the Blazers themselves were not the mentions of almost any reported trade rumors. Outside of speculation earlier in the year regarding Houston’s Omer Asik, the names of Portland’s players weren’t anywhere to be found near the deadline.
Even last season, the trade deadline carried more buzz for the Blazers regarding then-starting center J.J. Hickson.
Lillard, being the very busy man that he’s been this season, said he didn’t even know the deadline was right around the corner.
“I thought it was further out. I didn’t even know it was today until yesterday,” he said on Thursday. “I didn’t know until trades started happening. I didn’t hear anybody saying anything. Nobody was really worried.”
While nobody was really worried, Stotts did acknowledge that the deadline carries “an underlying concern.”
With the deadline in the rearview, the Blazers were back to work, looking to make corrections before playing the Utah Jazz on Friday.
Due to injuries, Portland wasn’t able to practice with as many players as normal. The day consisted of film study and defensive drills. They also reviewed the offense, especially small lineups that Stotts felt were “average” offensively.
As for as seeing another small ball starting lineup on Friday night, Terry Stotts was non-committal.
However, he did say because of the play of Thomas Robinson and Victor Claver, that the Blazers may not “have to” play as much small-ball.