The Portland Trail Blazers aren’t a usual landing spot for top free agents, instead opting to make calculated moves for positions of need or players that could use a new environment. But with a star like Damian Lillard, players should want to come to Portland, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report argues in his 2020 free-agent destination rankings. Favale ranks Portland as the No. 9 destination among 20 Non-Taxpayer MLE teams:
Perhaps the Portland Trail Blazers should be lower. Or maybe they should be higher.
Damian Lillard’s existence demands the latter. He is All-NBA First Team Would Follow Him Into Hell and Back and Then Back to Hell Again. Everybody should want to play with him, and everybody’s families should want for their NBA relatives to want to play with him.
Favale points out how Portland has arrived to this point, on the outside looking in at the playoff picture, and what makes them different than perennial lottery teams:
So many of the Blazers’ issues can be traced back to how they approached the 2019 offseason, but they aren’t a typical lottery-bound team/first-round steppingstone. Free from any real tax concerns next year, they can guarantee Ariza’s salary and remain one of the league’s most appealing mid-level-exception destinations.
Portland ranks above Indiana (No. 10) and below Houston (No. 8). The Lakers earned the top spot as a free-agent destination. You can read the full rankings here.
Will Lillard’s MVP-like play be a draw for 2020 free agents? Let us know what you think in the comments.