Grading the trade for the Portland Trail Blazers
Portland has already accomplished its first task. Franchise superstar Damian Lillard originally (subscription required) requested a trade on July 1, 2023. His request came after a season where the Trail Blazers only managed to win 33 games and retained their top draft pick.
Lillard gave the Portland franchise all he had. He spent the entirety of his career, eleven seasons, in the Pacific Northwest. With Lillard in tow, Portland proved to be a successful squad, but never got over the hump.
During Lillard's tenure in Portland, the Trail Blazers only made the conference finals once. To make matters worse, the Blazers haven't rebuilt well after the departures of LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and C.J. McCollum.
Over the past four seasons, the Trail Blazers have only won more than 35 games once. Winning 42 games in the 2020-21 season. However, Portland lost in the first round that season and hasn't been to the playoffs since.
Now was the time to move on from the 33-year-old Lillard for good. Coincidentally, Portland had already drafted his replacement in the draft, Scoot Henderson.
Now with Henderson and the newly acquired DeAndre Ayton, Portland has a solid young core. Not to mention Shaedon Sharpe, Anfernee Simons, and Jerami Grant, this team may be a lot better than they were a season ago.
While Portland gave up two depth pieces, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson, they would be reigniting the roster with the additions of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Richaun Holmes in this subsequent trade.
Sure, Portland will scour the market for trade partners for Jrue Holiday, but since Portland has already announced intentions to reroute Holiday.
The current Portland bench is devoid of veteran talent. The only veteran coming off the bench will be Matisse Thybulle. Other than that, the Blazers will depend on rookies and youngsters.
Adding Hardaway Jr. and Holmes will greatly bolster the depth. The addition of Josh Green will bolster the depth, and add another intriguing young talent. Additionally, Green would likely challenge Sharpe for a starting spot on the wing.
Perhaps most importantly, Portland would receive another first-round pick. Oddly enough, the Trail Blazers only received one first-rounder in the Lillard blockbuster. Adding another first-round draft pick surely seems to be a prerequisite in a subsequent trade.
Potential starting lineup: Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, Jerami Grant, DeAndre Ayton
The Trail Blazers receive a B+ for this trade. Upon analyzing a similar trade, where the Warriors traded for Chris Paul. Golden State only had to ship out Jordan Poole, a few young players, and two second-round picks.
Holiday is a more valuable asset than Paul at this stage in his career, but he still is 33 years old and clearly on the trade block. Thus, acquiring a first-round pick would be phenomenal.