Trail Blazers rumors: Will they add Grant, Ayton, LaVine, or Bridges?

Damian Lillard, Miles Bridges, Portland Trail Blazers rumors, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard, Miles Bridges, Portland Trail Blazers rumors, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images) /

This is one of the biggest off-seasons in recent memory for the Portland Trail Blazers. The rumor mill is already starting to churn with some rather juicy gossip. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the hottest names to pop up in the Blazers new cycle so far.

Jerami Grant, Portland Trail Blazers rumors, Detroit Pistons
Jerami Grant, Portland Trail Blazers rumors, Detroit Pistons (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

Trail Blazers rumors: Will they acquire Jerami Grant, Zach LaVine, Deandre Ayton, or Miles Bridges?

Jerami Grant:
The Blazers have had an interest in the Pistons’ power forward since at least the trade deadline. The 28-year-old is the son of former Blazer Harvey Grant, and is currently in the final year of his contract. This past season, he averaged 19.2 points and 4.1 rebounds. It’s been rumored that it would take the seventh pick and filler to land Jerami Grant. If so, it would be wise for Portland to get reassurances from him that he would re-sign with them.

Zach LaVine:
Zach LaVine would probably be the most expensive free agent for the Blazers to try to sign. The 27-year-old wing averaged 24.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season for the Chicago Bulls. The Seattle native could be the star player the Blazers have been looking for to pair with Damian Lillard. LaVine reportedly has an interest in playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, but it would take a lot of maneuvering of players and salary for the Lakers to be even consider acquiring him in a sign-and-trade deal, an option that Portland might also have to explore if they’re serious about adding his services.

Miles Bridges:
Another nice piece to put around Lillard is free agent 6’7, 24-year-old forward, Miles Bridges, who averaged 20.2 points and 7.0 boards for the Charlotte Hornets this past season. Like LaVine, Bridges will come with a hefty price tag. Charlotte holds his bird rights meaning they have the best chance to re-sign him, can offer him the most money, and as a restricted free agent, they can match any offer that lands on his table. Although after some questionable offseason activities, perhaps Charlotte might entertain the idea of letting him walk.

Deandre Ayton:
I recently wrote an article on Deandre Ayton, questioning whether he’s worth the risk for Portland to attempt to obtain him. Ayton, 23, was the first pick in the 2018 draft. Since being drafted, he has put up 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. His best scoring season was in 2019-2020, in which he averaged 18.2 per game. He also notched a career-high 11.5 boards that season.

Last season, he put up 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds. In Ayton’s four seasons thus far, he has not yet won a major award nor has he made an All-Star team. He did get a nod onto the NBA All-Rookie First Team his rookie season.

Grant would likely be the most obtainable player out of these high-profile targets. Some might not view him as the most desirable of the players, but in the long run, he might be the least expensive and the most impactful.

Lillard has needed another star player around him and LaVine would undoubtedly be that player, having already been a two-time All-Star. However, is his acquisition worth losing players like Anfernee Simons and Josh Hart who the Blazers would have to either release in free agency or include in an S&T deal?

As for Miles Bridges, he also could be that second star they’ve needed, but being a restricted free agent, you can pretty much bet on the Hornets matching whatever Portland throws at him. Plus, why would the Blazers, who likely know this, want to waste time and resources in a “snipe hunt?”

Grant seems to be the safest, and therefore, best bet for Portland. Both he and Lillard have an interest in teaming up. Preferably, the Blazers would be able to bring Grant to Rip City without having to give up the seventh pick. This would allow them to add his services and draft an impact player or use the selection in a different trade to bring in another veteran contributor.

Next. Trail Blazers rumors: Phil Knight, Dyson Daniels, Deandre Ayton, etc.. dark