The Portland Trail Blazers could soon be moving on from Damian Lillard, and recent reports suggest that it may come before the beginning of the season on Oct. 25.
While Lillard has been linked to the Miami Heat all summer long, other teams are entering the mix as potential suitors for the Blazers guard.
Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey conjured three separate Lillard trade ideas. Here’s a look at what he came up with:
The Deal: Ben Simmons, Cam Thomas, a 2027 first-round pick (via Phoenix), a 2029 first-round pick (via Phoenix) and a 2030 first-round pick for Damian Lillard
Ben Simmons is one of the league’s biggest question marks right now, but he also makes enough money to be the salary-matching contract in this deal. The Portland Trail Blazers could try to re-route him to a third team for something else, but playing him as a playmaking 4 or 5 next to Scoot Henderson for the rebuilt Blazers might be necessary to rehab his trade value.
Cam Thomas would give Portland a 22-year-old (in October) heat-check guard who scored at least 43 points in three straight games last season and fits the developmental timeline of Scoot, Shaedon Sharpe and Kris Murray.
While the three first-round picks are enticing, Simmons appears more like a salary dump at this point rather than an actual piece to build around. While he will always have some potential as a former No. 1 pick, it’s clear the longer his career goes that he won’t be able to regain that hype on the floor.
Thomas is an intriguing prospect who could use a change of scenery, but Portland may not be the best fit given the surplus of guards the team is already building around.
The Deal: Tyler Herro, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Kyle Lowry, a 2028 first-round pick and a 2030 first-round pick for Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkić
Kyle Lowry’s expiring contract would give Portland significantly more flexibility after this season. Tyler Herro could be flipped to a third team for more long-term assets. Jaime Jaquez Jr. has some interesting potential as a wing scorer. And Miami picks that far in the future could be valuable. Lillard and Jimmy Butler are both in their mid-30s.
If the Blazers liked this deal, they would have accepted it already. I’m sure a deal like this has been floated around the Heat organization over the offseason, and perhaps the Blazers were so insulted by the offer that they cut off contact with Miami.
This deal simply doesn’t move the needle for the Blazers. It rips them of two starters and replaces them with players they don’t need in Herro and Lowry. Sure, Jaquez Jr. is a nice prospect, but the 22-year-old isn’t Lillard and he probably won’t ever amount to that high expectation in his career.
The Deal: Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Anthony Black, a 2024 first-round pick, a 2026 first-round pick, a 2028 first-round pick and a 2030 first-round pick for Damian Lillard
This package still sends multiple young playmakers who are big enough to play alongside Scoot Henderson in Jalen Suggs and Anthony Black, Markelle Fultz’s expiring contract and four draft picks. Isaac has no guaranteed money left on his contract beyond this season, so he’s salary filler who could provide long-term cap relief.
This deal offers much more than the other two deals, but the players may not be as strong of a fit. Markelle Fultz is another former No. 1 pick who hasn’t panned out as such in the NBA, but he has enough upside to be a solid player now that he’s overcome his injuries.
Sportsnet insider Michael Grange is reporting that the Magic could “make themselves heard” in Lillard trade talks.
Jonathan Isaac, Jalen Suggs and Anthony Black also offer tremendous upside as former top-six draft picks that are younger than 25.
If there was a third team that could maybe flip some of this package to acquire a strong frontcourt player or the inclusion of Wendell Carter Jr., it would be more intriguing for the Blazers to consider.
BE community, which deal do you think is best for the Blazers? Answer the poll and chime off in the comments below.
Which trade should the Blazers take?
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