The Blazers are seeking a star to pair with Damian Lillard, and could use the No. 3 overall pick to help them in that pursuit.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Blazers are a candidate to acquire Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Paul George for the No. 3 pick.
Lillard’s Trail Blazers at No. 3 in the draft and the star-searching Houston Rockets at No. 4, sources say, have been identified as potential trade partners if the Clippers decide that they indeed want to shake their roster up dramatically for the final season before the team moves to owner Steve Ballmer’s sparkly new Intuit Dome in Inglewood, Calif., for the 2024-25 campaign.
If the Blazers cannot find a trade for No. 3, they will likely take Scoot Henderson or Brandon Miller, whichever player the Charlotte Hornets do not select with the No. 2 pick.
The Blazers’ presumed interest in George would stem from Portland’s well-chronicled goal to see if it can package the No. 3 pick Thursday night with Anfernee Simons in hopes of acquiring high-level, win-now talent that would be on Lillard’s timeline more than 19-year-old Scoot Henderson or 20-year-old Brandon Miller. The Blazers are expected to select Henderson or Miller — whoever makes it to them — if no suitably appetizing trade offer materializes and they keep their pick.
George, 33, would definitely improve the Blazers in the short term, but he has a player option for the 2024-25 season. Portland could simply trade the No. 3 pick for one year of George and then if the Blazers don’t perform up to par, he could opt out and join another team a year from now.
It would be a risk, but trading for George could delay the split between the team and Lillard and quiet the rumors swirling about for this summer.