The Portland Trail Blazers have been able to compete fairly well in the western conference the past few seasons as they have made the playoffs 5 out of the last 7 years, but it appears the days of winning for Portland might be coming to an end after losing tons of key players in free agency. The Trail Blazers are never really active in free agency as they tend to be one of the most frugal teams in the league, but it was clear that they were probably not going to make much of an effort to retain the key guys on their team like LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews. However, that decision to let those types of players go will really end up hurting the Trail Blazers going forward. The Western conference keeps getting better, but it is hard to picture Portland being much competition with everything they’ve lost this offseason. Losing Aldridge to the Spurs obviously hurts the most since he was the heart and soul of their team for several years and his ability to score will be missed a lot. Also, with Matthews departing then the Trail Blazers will lose their identity which is to shoot 3-pointers and he was consistently one of the best in the NBA at doing that. Losing Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo to the Knicks in free agency won’t hurt as much, but those guys were certainly key contributors for Portland last year. Lopez brought a consistent physical presence to the Trail Blazers and now they’ll need veteran center Chris Kaman to replace that style of play next season. Portland did make a nice addition to their depth by getting Al-Farouq Aminu from the Mavericks in free agency, yet I believe they overpaid him with a 4-year/$30 million contract and I doubt he will make much of an impact. Keep in mind that Aminu has only averaged 6.4 points per game so far in his NBA career. At least the Trail Blazers still have star point guard Damian Lillard on their team, but they will have to somehow get some more talent to replace the key players that they lost if they even want to think about competing in the crowded western conference next season.