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Trail Blazers “Trade Up” Targets in the 2022 NBA Draft

Portland’s not likely to move forward in the draft, but if they did...

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Semifinals-North Carolina vs Duke Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers hold the 7th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. They’re rumored to be looking for trades, exchanging the selection for veterans who can help their roster now. John Collins, Deandre Ayton, and OG Anunoby have been mentioned prominently.

We’ve covered all those trade possibilities extensively, but there’s another route we’ve hardly touched. What if the Blazers trade up?

The chances of an upward swap don’t appear great. The Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, and Sacramento Kings own the first four picks, respectively. All are rebuilding. All should value the chance to draft the next generational star.

This draft doesn’t hold a guaranteed superstar, however. Opinions are split between the presumed top two picks: Jabari Smith, Jr. and Chet Holmgren. Per the odds posted at DraftKings, Smith, Jr. is the favorite to go first overall, with -145 odds, Holmgren comes next at +120. Italian Paolo Banchero comes in third at +1400. Everyone else is +8000 or better.

Basically, that means there’s a non-zero chance that Smith, Jr. slips past the Magic. Or maybe the Blazers don’t like Smith, Jr. but would covet Holmgren or Banchero. Either way, the shuffle could leave someone attractive at the 2-4 spots, intriguing Portland enough to package the 7th pick and a player in a swap to move forward. If the team holding that pick doesn’t value these players as much as Portland does, there’s grounds for a trade.

The big question is, for whom, if anyone, would you make this deal?

Presumably the outgoing player would need to be significant. Nobody’s going to leave a Top 4 position for 7th for nothing. Nassir Little, Josh Hart, Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic...all have been bandied about in other trade rumors. The price tag may look expensive to move up 4-5 spots, but those top positions are considered premium territory. The high-rent district gets spendy, quick.

Assuming a name-level Blazers player would be exiting, is there anyone you’d covet in those high positions?

For me, Smith, Jr. is the only automatic get, with Banchero as an outside chance if the cost was low. Let’s say Houston wanted Shaedon Sharpe and he was still available at 7. The Rockets could get an extra bonus along with their target...not impossible.

How about you? If Portland takes the unlikely route of trading forward in the order, which player(s) would make the move worth it? Let us know in the comments below.

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