The Portland Trail Blazers have found the cure for inflation: losing. Unlike the price of just about everything else in Portland, the bottom has fallen out of the ticket market for Blazers home games.
Interim general manager Joe Cronin and the Blazers spent the lead-up to the Feb. 10 trade deadline completely overhauling the team’s roster, going so far as to send longtime franchise darling CJ McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans.
“It had become evident to us that the roster had plateaued,” Cronin said at a press conference hours after the deadline passed.
In total, Cronin made three trades dealing five players to other cities in exchange for seven new players, a protected first-round draft pick, and four second-round picks. Crucially, by trading McCollum and Norman Powell, the Blazers wiped more than $140 million in future salary obligations from their books.
Cronin admitted at Thursday’s press conference that all three trades were made with an eye toward becoming competitive next season—this season is a wash, even if the new guys are surprisingly feisty some nights.
“We want to be competitive. We want to come out and play and win ball games right away,” said Cronin. “Sometimes it doesn’t break that way, but our goal is to be aggressive this spring and summer and put together a really competitive roster out of the gate.”
For a full analysis of whether the Blazers can achieve that goal, go here. But the immediate result is a hodgepodge roster—and cheap seats.
On most nights, it actually costs more to watch high schoolers play at the Les Schwab Invitational than it does to see an NBA game in Portland.
Just nine games remain this season. Let’s run down the team’s remaining schedule and see if it’s worth a trip to the Rose Garden.
Ticket prices reflect the cheapest seats currently available in a sideline section of the 300-level (that is, the nosebleed seats) on the secondary market via vividseats.com.
Golden State Warriors, Feb. 24 // $68
While they’ve added several new players, the main attraction is still Steph Curry. Problem is, it looks like a bunch of Silicon Valley transplants are driving up prices.
Worth the money? Not really—we’ve all seen enough of the Warriors. Avoid the Californians and order some sushi at home instead.
Denver Nuggets, Feb. 27 // $16
Jusuf Nurkic vs. Nikola Jokic and a rematch of the 2019 and 2021 playoffs. This one is a chance to watch a motivated Nurkic try to outplay his former teammate with some lingering playoff resentment hanging in the air.
Worth the money? Absolutely. Closest thing the Blazers have to a rivalry until the Sonics come back.
Washington Wizards, March 12 // $24
How are tickets to this game more expensive than the Nuggets game?
Worth the money? No. Buy an extra drink before the Nuggets game instead.
San Antonio Spurs, March 23 // $9
The Spurs are in the middle of their own rebuild and are neck and neck with the Blazers in the standings. This one may have lottery implications, but the quality of play won’t be particularly high.
Worth the money? Only if you’re a Zach Collins fan.
Houston Rockets, March 25 and 26 // $12, $6
Find literally anything else to do with your time. The Rockets are a team of bad players and worse vibes.
Worth the money? This one wouldn’t be worth it even before COVID.
Oklahoma City Thunder, March 28 // $6
One of the two cheapest games on the calendar features a young and feisty team made up of guys you name drop to prove you’re a real NBA fan. Both teams figure to be out of the playoff picture by next month, so this one will likely be a matchup of hungry young players looking to prove their worth. Sounds fun!
Worth the money? Yes. It’s going to look more like the D League than the NBA playoffs, but $6 is too cheap to pass up.
New Orleans Pelicans, March 30 // $22
CJ McCollum returns home.
Worth the money? YES. Buy an extra ticket with the money you saved on the Rockets games.
Utah Jazz, April 10 // $16
It’s the last night of the NBA regular season, which is never a good sign, Anfernee Simons miracles notwithstanding.
Worth the money? Wait until next year.