In advance of the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has an update on the latest plans for the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland holds the third overall pick but has been rumored to be interested in trading for veteran stars instead of waiting on the growth curve of a rookie, no matter how talented. The Blazers have been spurred in this direction, in part, by franchise superstar Damian Lillard, whose career timeline will not accommodate an eight-year wait for relevancy.
Speaking on ESPN, Windhorst relayed that teams that have been negotiating with the Blazers in recent days now believe that Portland intends to keep the pick rather than move it on draft day. Windhorst also confirmed with Lillard’s camp that the guard retains a preference for playing with more experienced teammates; his stance has not changed.
You can see the full video below.
Windhorst also offers that plans can change in the 48 hours prior to the draft and that Portland has other options to obtain veterans besides the third pick.
To that caveat, I’d add that acceptable trades being rare in mid-June doesn’t mean they’ll be absent in late July, at the start of the season, or at the next trade deadline. This could work for the player the Blazers draft on Thursday. It could also be true of Lillard himself. Former Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant reportedly wanted to be traded in the Summer of 2022. The Nets found a deal with the Phoenix Suns at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline.
Stay tuned between now and Thursday, also beyond, to see how this sorts out.