With the NBA transitioning on to the second round, many of the league’s First Round losers will now pivot towards roster construction in the offseason. Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz put together a piece today, hypothesizing a trade package for every team that lost in the opening round, with numerous Portland Trail Blazers mainstays making appearances.
In fixing the Boston Celtics’ roster, Swartz made note of their surplus of assets and Draft capital, and how they would be one of very few teams capable of sending the house for Damian Lillard. The entire hypothetical trade is as follows:
Boston Celtics Receive: PG Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: PG Kemba Walker, SF Aaron Nesmith, C Robert Williams III, G/F Romeo Langford, 2021 first-round pick, 2022 first-round pick swap, 2023 first-round pick (unprotected), 2024 first-round pick swap, 2025 first-round pick (unprotected)
As he alludes to, he would only consider this if Lillard asked to be moved, and the Trail Blazers wanted to remain competitive. He also suggests Portland wouldn’t be sacrificing a ton in regards to a fiery backcourt, now anchored by Kemba Walker and CJ McCollum.
McCollum makes his own appearance in a trade in the New York Knicks section. In that package, the Blazers give away their longtime two-guard and in return, acquire Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, and Kevin Knox II. The trade is more centered around the Knicks’ needs, but Swartz offers this on how the Blazers would benefit.
“If Portland indeed tears things down, Quickley and Toppin represent two quality building blocks. While he may never be a true point guard, Quickley already has a terrific floater and is a good three-point shooter. Toppin doesn’t carry the same upside, but should at least be a solid starter with his athleticism and overall feel for the game.
The Blazers could also squeeze some potential out of Knox, 21, who fell out of the Knicks rotation.”
And then, as for the Blazers, they were involved in a three-team hypothetical seeking to ignite their No. 29 ranked defense. The entire trade looks like this:
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: C Myles Turner, G Marcus Smart
Indiana Pacers Receive: G Anfernee Simons, C Tristan Thompson
Boston Celtics Receive: C Jusuf Nurkic, F Nassir Little, SF Derrick Jones Jr.
The move gives the Blazers two players that appeared on the Defensive Player of the Year ballots in 2019-20, whilst also allowing them to keep many of their key lineup fixtures. Here was Swartz’s rationale behind the deal:
“Turner is one of the league’s best defensive big men, leading the NBA in blocks (3.4 per game) and block percentage (8.8 percent). He’s a better three-point shooter than Nurkic, keeping the floor spread for Lillard and McCollum to drive.
Smart is still one of the premier defensive guards in the NBA, able to cover multiple positions. He could start off the bench and later share the floor with either of the Blazers existing stars, taking on the toughest defensive matchup. He’s made the postseason in every one of his seven years, a total of 67 games of playoff experience.”
Swartz hits on ideas for each of the eight teams that lost in the First Round. Here’s the link to read the full article.