Which stars could Portland actually land?
So, who is similar to Butler in terms of talent on teams that would be willing to get rid of a star?
The one that comes to mind is Pascal Siakam. Butler was 28 when he was traded to Minnesota, and Siakam is 29. The Raptors lost in the play-in tournament, were involved in several trade rumors leading up to this past season’s trade deadline, and could be looking to retool or rebuild around their younger players.
Given Fred VanVleet’s uncertain future in Toronto as well, there’s a pathway to the Raptors being enticed by this package and the idea of building around Simons, Sharpe, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, and the Blazers’ first-round pick this summer.
Other players on middle-of-the-pack Eastern Conference teams like LaVine, Bradley Beal, and Bam Adebayo also come to mind. LaVine could be a good trade candidate because Chicago has struggled this season, and the Blazers will have to negotiate with the Bulls to lift their pick restrictions anyway.
Final thoughts on the Blazers trading for a co-star
A co-star like Siakam or LaVine is enough to help the Blazers make the playoffs. While it wouldn’t make Portland title favorites, it would undoubtedly give them a chance.
Philadelphia 76ers general manager Daryl Morey has a “5 percent theory” that says a small chance is all you need to be encouraged to compete for a title.
"“If you’ve got even a 5 percent chance to win the title, and that group includes a very small number of teams every year, you’ve gotta be focused all on winning the title.”"
Based on prior trades for star players, it’s apparent that the Blazers can likely land a co-star to pair with Lillard, given their assets. Even if it’s as little as a 5 percent chance at winning a championship, Lillard has earned the opportunity and commitment from the Blazers’ organization to go for it.
But this all depends on what level of superstar the Blazers can acquire and how many of their future assets they’d be willing to sacrifice.