Portland Trail Blazers: 7 trades with non-playoff teams in the East

Jerami Grant, Damian Lillard, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Jerami Grant, Damian Lillard, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /
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For the first time in ages, the Portland Trail Blazers have the luxury of possessing all their future draft capital. They of course could use these future picks to try and acquire meaningful contributors on rookie-scale deals. Using the draft to add effective role players on minimum, multiyear deals is a great strategy for a star-studded team to round out the roster.

For those clubs that don’t have the time to wait for rookies to grow into the players they need or don’t trust themselves to find gems in the crapshoot that is the NBA draft, both of which should apply to the Portland Trail Blazers, using their future picks as trade assets for veteran complementary pieces is a much more risk-averse direction.

The best teams to try and acquire these vets from are rebuilding, non-playoff teams who have no use for players who aren’t stars, but are skilled enough to help win some games and ultimately demote the organization’s lottery position.

If the Portland Trail Blazers want to keep the core together, they should target lottery teams for marginal trades

It seems clear that General Manager Neil Olshey intends to keep the band together and run it back with a new coaching staff on board. Olshey believes that Chauncey Billups is the play caller that will take this Blazers squad over the hump, but that shouldn’t stop him from supplying his new coach with all the weapons he can.

The easiest path for the GM to acquire support for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum is to use the draft picks and young players in his war chest to acquire role players that rebuilding teams have no need for.

Many of these trades include players who are in need of a new contract. These moves are dependent on the mentioned players picking up their options, or for impending free agents, re-signing and then being moved after the trade exception date for newly inked players. For those potential mercenaries, their current cap holds are used as the baseline salary for trade purposes.

Here are trades with every Eastern Conference team that missed out on the playoffs in 2021 that could drag the Blazers over the finish line, while keeping Portland’s starting five together: