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Blazers Must ‘Brace For Change’ in Starting Lineup

The Portland Trail Blazers’ starting five next season could look very different.

Atlanta Hawks v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers are looking to make some moves this offseason.

With the fifth-best odds to land the No. 1 pick, next week’s NBA Draft Lottery should alter the landscape for the Blazers’ future. Should the team land Victor Wembanyama with the top pick, the path would be different if they were to get, say, the No. 5 pick.

Bleacher Report contributor Dan Favale suggests that the Blazers need to “brace for change,” especially when it comes to the starting lineup.

The Blazers are unreadable. That’s not a good thing.

Four players are shoo-ins to start if they’re on the roster: Damian Lillard, Jerami Grant, Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkić. Are we sure all of them will be on the roster?

Grant and Matisse Thybulle (restricted) are free agents. Everyone else is under contract for at least the next three years. But the Blazers can’t afford to stand pat. They have a soon-to-be 33-year-old Lillard. It’s time to make a swing on the trade market if you’re serious about operating within his window. That’s not happening, in all likelihood, without moving off one of the incumbent starters as salary fuel (Nurkić) or an actual asset (Simons).

And if Portland is reluctant to go all-in on this core, then it’s time to detonate the dynamite and commit to a full-tilt rebuild—a pivot that could entail moving on from everyone except Sharpe and this year’s draft pick.

Something needs to change in Portland. It’s been made clear that Damian Lillard is not the player that needs to change, but if the Blazers won’t say goodbye to their superstar point guard, they may have to bid adieu to Lillard’s top supporting cast members, all of whom are expected to be in the pacific northwest for the foreseeable future.