3 teams that make sense as trade partners if Blazers deal their lottery pick

Robert Williams III (left), Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics / Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat (center) (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Robert Williams III (left), Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics / Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat (center) (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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All messages out of Portland have the Trail Blazers – front office, coaching staff, players alike – screaming for veteran help.

Considering where the franchise is in its goal of building a title-contending team around Damian Lillard, all that noise makes sense.

Take Lillard himself, for example. After the Blazers season-ending embarrassment at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, Dame, when asked about continuing to build through the draft, said via The Athletic:

"I’m just not interested in that. That’s not a secret. I want a chance to go for it. And if the route is to (draft youth), then that’s not my route."

It wasn’t meant to be an ultimatum, according to Lillard (it sure has all the familiar symptoms of an ultimatum), but a blunt truth: If you want to win with me here, stop running your mouths and do something to help. If not, I’m out.

That four-sentence statement includes another key element – enough with the youth movement. If Portland is going to keep drafting teenagers with top-10 picks, then why is Dame sticking around?

To that end, if general manager Joe Cronin decides to heed Lillard’s message and deal away a high lottery pick, which teams should he have on speed dial if he wants to get commensurate value?

1. Boston Celtics

The big fish here is Jaylen Brown. The Celtics’ No. 2 option behind Jayson Tatum has morphed into a No. 1a option during an All-NBA caliber year.

The 26-year-old finished the regular season ninth in the league in scoring at 26.6 points per game. He shot 49 percent from the floor, which bested Tatum, and connected on 33.5 percent of his 7.3 threes a night.

(He is a 36.5 percent career 3-point shooter and has displayed the clutch gene, finding a way to hit shots when his team needs it most).

Brown has been one of the best wing defenders in the NBA since he was drafted third overall in 2016, as evidenced by his receiving All-Defense voting shares five out of his seven seasons in the league.

It would take a massive haul to land Brown, but he certainly qualifies as the type of player Lillard and Portland’s front office are looking for. In fact, the former Cal standout has already been named as a desirable acquisition for the Blazers.

It’s not worth having a team on speed dial, though, if you’re only calling about one player.

Although Boston only brought him aboard last season, guard Malcolm Brogdon, a favorite to win the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award, would be a perfect fit as a bigger playmaker and scorer in the backcourt and a chance of pace to Lillard and Simons.

Robert Williams III is a young, athletic big on a team-friendly contract who could slot in as a power forward or center and provide the kind of defense and rebounding Portland needs – although it’s worth noting he has a lengthy injury history.

Brown would be the white whale in Boston, but the Celtics have other players who could make a significant difference next to Dame.