The Portland Trail Blazers are weeks away from the NBA Draft, where a big decision for the direction of the franchise will be made.
The Blazers currently hold the No. 3 pick for next month’s draft and could select another promising rookie towards their core, or they could look to trade the pick for a player with more ability to help the team win a championship sooner.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on The Woj Pod that the Blazers are “willing” to trade the No. 3 pick for an elite player.
“You have got to get back a really elite player for the 3rd pick,” Wojnarowski said. “Portland, in a lot of ways - the draft starts with them.”
This puts the Blazers in a very precarious position in the weeks leading up to the draft. By shopping this pick, Portland needs to find a sufficient package worth accepting for the No. 3 pick. But if the team doesn’t find something worth trading for, then the Blazers must decide if they will take the best offer available to them or select a top rookie, which could be Overtime Elite guard Amen Thompson or Alabama small forward Brandon Miller.
Taking a rookie like Miller or Thompson could help the Blazers long-term, but it could also be the straw that ends the Damian Lillard era in Portland. Lillard has repeatedly affirmed to the front office that he is looking to be part of a team with veterans as opposed to younger players, so taking a rookie might push Dame to a trade request.
You can listen to the Woj Pod here, with the Blazers segment beginning around the 12:10 mark.