Grade the Trade: Bulls move up in the draft to select the next Derrick Rose
Portland is currently under tremendous pressure from their superstar Damian Lillard. The 32-year-old has played all 11 seasons of his career with the Trail Blazers and has been one of the best in the franchise’s history. He faced injuries in the 2021-22 season, but came back this year and dominated in 58 games.
Lillard averaged 32.2 points and 7.3 assists per game, which were 3rd and 13th in the league, respectively. He delivered some outstanding performances, including a 71-point game against the Houston Rockets, showing that he has not lost a step since his injury.
Damian Lillard is forcing the Trail Blazers’ hand to bring another star to Portland.
Lillard has shown his commitment to stay in Portland, but is growing tense as the team has never really provided him with another star to make a championship run. This trade would give Portland two huge pieces to convince Lillard to stay with the Blazers, as they are getting another dominant scorer and one of the best defenders in the NBA.
This is a good trade for the Trail Blazers and it would show they are committed to winning now, as they would be trading their best young player in Anfernee Simons and a top-tier draft pick, but getting two pieces that, paired with Lillard, could attempt to make a run at a championship.
It is definitely tough to consider for Portland, as they could potentially be mortgaging their future for one guaranteed year of DeMar DeRozan and two for Alex Caruso. The key decision for Portland is between trading Lillard or the 3rd pick, as keeping both is a very unlikely scenario. With this trade, the Trail Blazers starting lineup would be the following:
- PG: Damian Lillard
- SG: Alex Caruso
- SF: DeMar DeRozan
- PF: Jerami Grant
- C: Drew Eubanks
Assuming that the Trail Blazers can resign Grant and Eubanks, who are both free agents this offseason, they will have this starting lineup with Shaedon Sharpe, an excellent young player, as the 6th man. This would be an upgrade for the Blazers, as they would add some much-needed perimeter defense with Caruso while bringing a much better 2nd scoring option in DeMar DeRozan. A big three of Lillard, DeRozan, and Jerami Grant would give the Blazers a chance to make the playoffs again, assuming everyone stays healthy.