(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers will bring a bolstered bench to Salt Lake City Friday night when they meet the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.
The Blazers made a big splash on Thursday's trade deadline, acquiring Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Thomas Robinson, Victor Claver, Will Barton and a protected first-round pick in 2016.
"Arron is a proven winner with playoff experience who will be easily integrated into our culture," said Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. "He possesses a skill set that complements our style of play on both ends of the floor and will make an immediate impact as we continue our playoff push. Alonzo is an elite athlete and defender who adds a unique element to our perimeter."
The Blazers rank 28th in bench scoring, ahead of just the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Unfortunately, the Blazers were also in the news over the All-Star break for tragic reasons. Jerome Kersey, a longtime forward during the team's run to the NBA Finals in the 1990s, died suddenly on Wednesday night.
"Today we lost an incredible person and one of the most beloved players to ever wear a Trail Blazers uniform," Blazers owner Paul Allen said in a statement. "My thoughts and condolences are with the Kersey family. He will be missed by all of us. It's a terrible loss."
Portland has won two straight and four of its previous five before the All- Star break. After visiting the Jazz, the Blazers play three straight at home, albeit against handsome competition. The Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder roll into Rose City.
The Jazz got involved at the deadline as well. They sent emerging center Enes Kanter and sharp-shooter Steve Novak to the Oklahoma City as part of a three- team deal.
Utah acquired rookie forward Grant Jerrett, the rights to German center Tibor Pleiss, center Kendrick Perkins and a future first-round pick from Oklahoma City, as well as a 2017 second-round pick from the Detroit Pistons. Perkins is expected to be waived.
"This trade allowed us to add assets while helping to maintain flexibility for the future," said Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey. "Trades like this are never easy, but we thank Enes and Steve for their contributions to the team and in the community and wish them well as they move forward in their careers."
The Jazz had a two-game winning streak snapped before the All-Star break in a road loss to the Dallas Mavericks. They'll play three straight in Salt Lake City.
The Trail Blazers have won five straight versus the Jazz and the two squads have two more meetings scheduled this season. The Blazers have won two in a row in Salt Lake City.