At long last, it’s trade deadline week! And with just days to go in what has already been an unexpectedly wild trade period, it’s safe to say more dramatic turns may lie ahead. So let’s get to today’s rumor-rama.Things are looking up in Portland. The Trail Blazers have been winning, going 17-7 in their last 24 games and 10-3 in their last 13, moving within a game of the No. 3 seed in the West. And they’ve done it while making offensive changes that could give the team a better chance to withstand the rigors of the Western Conference and wipe away the postseason disappointments of the past five years. Saric could find himself on the trade block by Thursday. The Wolves likely would prefer to wait until the offseason to make a trade involving what was supposed to be the most valuable piece they got in return for Butler, but according to one league executive, “He could be had for a decent offer, a first-rounder and a player.”Waiting on Wes Matthews…The Knicks are hoping to bring in an asset for guard Wes Matthews before Thursday’s deadline, but the expectation remains that he’ll be bought out. Toronto, seeking to bolster its bench and holding open a roster spot, is among the favorites to sign Matthews. The Rockets are also expected to make a pitch.Not among the prospective suitors: the Bucks, Matthews’ hometown team. Milwaukee is hoping to boost its frontcourt in the coming weeks, either on Thursday or through a waiver signing. TRADE RUMORS: Pelicans may make counter-offer to LakersBut Portland has not been content to adjust only its style of play. The Blazers made a trade on Sunday, four days ahead of Thursday’s deadline, sending out spare parts Wade Baldwin and Nik Stauskas, plus two second-round picks, to Cleveland for wing Rodney Hood.The hope is that Hood can chew up minutes at small forward, providing decent defense and offering a perimeter threat offensively. Hood is shooting 36.2 percent from the 3-point line, averaging 12.2 points. That should ease Terry Stotts’ dilemma, which has been a choice between offensive-minded Jake Layman and defensive wing Maurice Harkless.The Blazers may not yet be done, either, league sources told Sporting News. Even with Hood in the fold, they’ve continued to attempt to find ways to bring in another difference-maker to bolster their playoff prospects.Portland general manager Neal Olshey was hesitant to make a move at the deadline last year, only offloading forward Noah Vonleh. Since then, other league executives have suggested Portland regretted the lack of deadline action.How much of a splash the Blazers could make likely will depend on their willingness to include second-year forward Zach Collins in a deal. Portland has resisted inquiries about Collins, who has been developing slowly but steadily.Portland is expected to make Harkless available, according to sources, as well as the team’s first-round pick. Harkless has another year on his contract, at $11.5 million, which would scare off teams looking to protect cap space next summer. (The Knicks and Nets, for example, have had interest in Harkless in the past.)The Blazers also could dump Harkless as a way to reduce their luxury-tax bill, but the team already has a roster spot open and is intent on maximizing this current group, which could break up after this year when players like Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard and Harkless head into the final years of their contracts.MORE: Tobias Harris drawing interest ahead of trade deadlinePortland has expressed interest in Pelicans big man Nikola Mirotic, among other available players — Evan Fournier of the Magic, Jeremy Lin of the Hawks, JaMychal Green of the Grizzlies — sources told Sporting News.There’s good reason for the Blazers to strike now. In past seasons, Portland has been too reliant on pick-and-rolls from guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum as the staple of the offense. That produced regular-season wins but not playoff wins — over a seven-game series, opponents can make adjustments to disrupt even the best pick-and-roll offenses. That’s what the Pelicans did in sweeping the Blazers in the first round of last year’s playoffs.Over the last five weeks, though, the Blazers have been expanding the offense and running things through center Jusuf Nurkic more frequently. Nurkic is only 24 and has made great strides as a ball handler and a passer out of double teams this season. He’s averaging 3.2 assists and has an assist percentage of 17.8, both career highs.In 17 games going back to late December, Nurkic’s assist percentage has spiked to 21.4. Before that, his assist percentage had been just 15.2.The offense, of course, still revolves around Lillard and McCollum, and according to NBA.com stats, Nurkic throws more than 75 percent of his passes to one of those guards. But he’s also throwing a lot more passes to those two. In the last 17 games, he’s thrown 37.4 Lillard-McCollum passes, up from 31.1 in the first 34 games of the year. Last year, Nurkic threw only 28.0 passes to Portland’s two star guards.Ideally, in addition to Hood, the Blazers will add another top-tier perimeter threat for Nurkic to find. Portland has changed its approach. It’s got just a few days to further make its personnel line up with that new approach.Dario Saric no longer part of the Wolfpack?One of the highlights of the package brought back by the Timberwolves in the trade of Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia was forward Dario Saric, who is in his third year and was expected to be a solid stretch-4 to play alongside star center Karl-Anthony Towns.But Saric has not displaced Taj Gibson in the starting five, and he has seen his production and playing time steadily decrease under new coach Ryan Saunders. Saric averaged 10.3 points and 23.3 minutes under former coach Tom Thibodeau. In his last 11 games, though, Saric is averaging 5.6 points and 20.6 minutes.