The Portland Trail Blazers remain at the hub of NBA trade speculation, a result of the ambiguity surrounding their roster and a foggy path forward towards success or a rebuild. Multiple players have been connected to Portland before trade season even begins.
Today Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report outlined possible dream summers for all 30 NBA teams, including the Blazers. He had a handful of potential players heading in and out of Portland in speculative ideal exchanges.
First, and most importantly, Buckley affirmed what a few analysts have been saying: Toronto Raptors forward/center Pascal Siakam remains the best realistically-imaginable target the Blazers could shoot for this summer. Like Portland, Toronto is in flux. If they look to get younger, the veteran frontcourt star may become a lever, acquiring young players and picks.
Portland needs a ton of things to make that [building around Damian Lillard] happen, but more than anything, it needs a true co-star for Lillard. Pascal Siakam, who once co-piloted the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 title run with Kawhi Leonard, could be ideal for the gig.
Siakam gets a bit exposed as an offensive focal point, but his skills shine in a secondary role. With Lillard steering the ship and Siakam serving as first mate, Portland could be locked into a playoff spot with non-outlandish dreams of putting together a lengthy postseason run.
But Siakam isn’t the only Portland-based exchange Buckley suggests. Interestingly enough, he has Blazers guard Anfernee Simons as the ideal pickup for the Raptors.
It’s tricky to pin down the dream target for the Toronto Raptors, since it’s unclear whether they’ll use this summer to reset their franchise or strengthen their supporting cast.
Still, with former coach Nick Nurse out and free agency awaiting Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr. and Jakob Poeltl, this feels like the right time to at least shift their focus forward. Even if they don’t tear everything down, they could make deals that brighten their long-term outlook around Scottie Barnes.
Adding Anfernee Simons would be a great place to start. The 23-year-old just pumped in 21.1 points and 4.1 assists per night while flashing both an ignitable outside shot (212 triples at a 37.7 percent clip) and explosive hops. His score-first mentality would pair perfectly with Barnes’ skill set, which revolves around defensive versatility and distributing.
Not done yet, Buckley also tabs Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe as the optimal target for the San Antonio Spurs.
So, if the Spurs trade for anything other than draft picks this offseason, they need to find up-and-comers with skyscraping ceilings. That’s the appeal of Shaedon Sharpe, whose game needs polish but keeps highlight reels spinning with his anti-gravity bounce.
“He’s already shown off some high-end hang-time stuff on the “Young Kobe/UNC Vince” level, only he’s more filled out than those guys already,” The Ringer’s Bill Simmons wrote.
If the Portland Trail Blazers make an aggressive move to put more win-now talent around Damian Lillard, the Spurs should elbow their way into a three-team deal that routes Sharpe to the Alamo City.
Assuming Joel Embiid and Giannia Antetokounmpo aren’t available, does Siakam still top your list of potential trade targets?