The Portland Trail Blazers entered the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery with a 10% chance of landing the first overall pick. While they won’t be selecting Victor Wembanyama, they do own the 3rd overall pick in what should be a talented draft.
And according to The Athletic’s John Hollinger, Portland could be looking to trade out completely.
Trail Blazers Could Trade Down, Or Out Completely
After moving up in the lottery, could the Trail Blazers trade the No. 3 pick?@johnhollinger NBA Draft Combine rumblings: https://t.co/EA8t03Kvg7 pic.twitter.com/TtridLXw5c
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) May 19, 2023
The Trail Blazers probably don’t want to get any younger. One of the league’s premier players has remained loyal to Portland as they have failed to build a contender around him, but Damian Lillard could be nearing the end of his prime. Adding more young pieces that need time to develop would be tough to synchronize with Lillard’s personal timeline, and the team likely wouldn’t want to go in that direction.
So, as Hollinger points out, there is widespread speculation around the league that the Blazers have the 3rd overall pick up for sale. He got into specifics, saying that the team was thinking about including Anfernee Simons in a trade package to potentially bring in an established, elite small forward.
It is the kind of package that could help get the help that Lillard has needed for so long, but just who might be available? The Bucks could look to move on from Khris Middleton to help ease their salary cap woes, and it is being reported that the Chicago Bulls could break up their current core, which would make DeMar DeRozen available.
REPORT: The Blazers intend to trade their No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft to try and build a championship team around Damian Lillard.
(via @ChrisBHaynes) pic.twitter.com/gwEdz5MUl0
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) May 17, 2023
One scenario that Hollinger highlights is a trade between Portland and Orlando. The Magic hold the rights to the 6th and 11th picks in the draft, and could look to trade up depending on who is still available after pick #2. They could give the Trail Blazers a call, which would allow Portland to parlay the 3rd pick into two lottery selections, and perhaps flipping one of them for their veteran small forward.
The choice for the #1 overall pick has obviously already been decided, but it is unclear who will be picked second. Scoot Henderson has long been thought to be the best talent outside Wembanyama in this year’s class, but Brandon Miller out of Alabama has been climbing up draft boards lately. The decision that the Hornets make on who to take with the second pick will determine how much of the rest of the lottery will play out.
The 2023 NBA Draft is scheduled for June 22nd.
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