The Portland Trail Blazers’ historic post-All-Star tanking efforts didn’t pay off the way Joe Cronin and company imagined. All Portland has to show for its 2-21 finish to the regular season is the seventh selection in the draft come June 23rd, a stark disappointment for a team that entered lottery night with the sixth-best odds of vaulting up to No. 1.
Surrounding Damian Lillard with as much help as possible will be the Blazers’ utmost priority until the front office indicates otherwise. In that vein, it was hardly shocking when Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reported on Friday that league personnel have earmarked Portland as a “strong trade candidate” in wake of Tuesday’s dispiriting lottery results.
Here are three potential trades involving the No. 7 overall pick that would bolster the win-now Blazers’ chances of competing toward the upper half of the Western Conference next season.
No. 7 to the Detroit Pistons for Jerami Grant
This may be too rich a price to pay for a player of Grant’s valuable but limited caliber, especially considering he’s up for a four-year, $112 million extension this summer. On the other hand, at least the Blazers would maintain some degree of immediate flexibility here because Grant could slot into the trade exception netted via the C.J. McCollum trade.
Regardless, would Portland really be excited about committing to an expensive long-term core of Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, Grant, Jusuf Nurkic and Nassir Little? That team isn’t winning a title, obviously, but would at least make the Blazers surefire playoff contenders as long as Lillard can cling to what’s left of his prime.
Ideally, Portland would find another way to bring in Grant—a rumored target dating back to the 2021 trade deadline—without giving up the seventh pick in the draft. Cronin would undoubtedly offer the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2025 first-rounder and Keon Johnson to the Pistons in exchange for Grant before putting his most valuable team-building asset on the table. Troy Weaver has a close personal relationship with Grant, though, and reports suggest Detroit would be comfortable hanging onto him.