NBA Rumors: Blazers get coveted wing, keep rising star in proposed trade

Anfernee Simons (left), Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Anfernee Simons (left), Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports /

Goal No. 1 for the Portland Trail Blazers this offseason: Build a title-contending roster. Goal No. 2? There really isn’t one.

If General Manager Joe Cronin can’t accomplish goal No. 1, though, he’ll need to pivot to abandoning it altogether and blow up the Blazers roster, aiming to build that title contender sometime down the road.

Shaedon Sharpe, Anfernee Simons, and Portland’s lottery pick – which has a 10.5 percent chance at landing first overall and is guaranteed to fall somewhere in the top nine – are Cronin’s most valuable assets. Any deal that brings a star to Rip City will assuredly include some, or all, of that trio.

But what if the Blazers could acquire that star without needing to give up a potential top-5 pick and both of their future franchise building blocks?

Proposed trade has Blazers landing Mikal Bridges but keeping a budding star guard

Dan Favale of Bleacher Report put together a piece outlining five potential trades to get Lillard, Zion Williamson, and Luka Doncic back into the playoffs next season. Two of the five concern Portland, but one of them is a deal the Blazers may actually consider.

With all the hoopla surrounding the Brooklyn Nets and their rumored quest to land Lillard, Favale zags instead of zigs and suggests a potential agreement that would upgrade Portland’s roster rather than blow it up, holding onto Dame in the process. The trade:

Trail Blazers receive: Mikal Bridges

Nets receive: Nassir Little, Shaedon Sharpe, No. 5 pick, 2026 first-rounder (unprotected; first allowable selection pending Portland’s 2024 obligation to Chicago)

Whether or not Brooklyn would go for this deal is up for debate, but from Portland’s angle, there are certainly worse trades to be had.

Although parting with Sharpe would certainly be a blow, the Blazers land Bridges without giving up Simons in this scenario. And unless that top-5 pick falls at No. 1, it’s likely going to be trade bait anyway.

Giving up another first-rounder is palatable if Bridges is the return, and despite Little’s status as a promising three-and-D wing, he hasn’t shown anything more than high-level role player potential to this point in his career.

This deal would leave Portland with a starting five of Lillard, Simons, Bridges, Jerami Grant, and Jusuf Nurkic. The bench depth wouldn’t be fantastic, but re-signing Matisse Thybulle and Cam Reddish to low-price deals could help, and Bridges is on a long-term, team-friendly contract that may give Cronin a chance to add another rotation piece or two through free agency.

Next. Ranking the Blazers' 5 most valuable trade assets this offseason. dark

It may be difficult to watch Sharpe develop into a superstar with another franchise, but this type of trade is what the Blazers need to aim for if they hope to build a roster that can make a legitimate playoff push next season.