The Portland Trail Blazers are beginning to re-shuffle the deck and re-tool around Damian Lillard for next season.
But that’s not as easy as it seems.
Given the Blazers’ likeliness to miss a second straight play-in tournament, Portland will likely look into trying to acquire a star to pair next to Lillard in hopes of forming a dynamic duo that can contend in a wide-open Western Conference.
The Blazers have two first-round picks this year, their own and the New York Knicks’, which was acquired ahead of the trade deadline for Josh Hart.
However, pick value has dramatically increased over the past few years. It cost the Phoenix Suns four unprotected picks to pry Kevin Durant away from the Brooklyn Nets.
According to The Ringer, the Toronto Raptors were declining offers with three first-round picks for O.G. Anunoby.
The Blazers are probably looking for someone somewhere in between for their team, a player better than Anunoby but not as good as Durant.
A player like Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown could fit the bill, but it could break the bank for Portland, a team that will be taking an incredible risk to trade future draft capital when it is already a bottom-five team in the NBA.
Picks are a hot commodity, but given the amount of blockbuster deals, the value on these large groups of picks has grown enormous over the past few years.
Lillard’s involvement with the team and his desire not to leave the Blazers makes it a tricky position. The Blazers don’t want the greatest player in franchise history to leave, especially if he doesn’t want him to. But trying to build a championship-caliber roster around him has proven to be difficult. And this year might be the final straw before the current brass may be handed pink slips if it results in another lottery appearance.