Team No. 2 – Brooklyn Nets
Although the Nets finished as the sixth seed in the East, they were eventually swept in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers. The team representing Brooklyn in the playoffs was not a very competitive playoff team.
The Nets make sense as a potential trade partner with Portland because they are a team in disarray; they don’t seem like a finished product following their trade-deadline moves.
Instead, it seemed like a step toward retooling, providing them a better opportunity and flexibility to make another move this offseason with the assets they acquired.
What makes the Nets a great match for the Blazers?
The Nets primarily make the list because they have so many wings, a prominent position of need for the Blazers. Players such as Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neal would be perfect role players in Portland. They are defensive-minded wings that can make plays and shoot when called upon and, most importantly, make up for the Blazers’ defensive flaws.
While not a wing, 24-year-old Nic Claxton is a versatile, defensive-minded big man who’s only continued to improve. Claxton averaged 12.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2.5 blocks, and 0.9 steals last season.
Depending on the asking price, he could also be a good trade target and fit a position of need for Portland.
Mikal Bridges was one of the lone bright spots for the Nets post-trade deadline. In his 27 games played in a Brooklyn jersey, Bridges averaged 26.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.0 steals.
If Portland decides to take the opposite route and make Lillard available for trade (or if he requests one), Brooklyn could also make a potential partner, with Bridges being the focus of the package returning to Portland.
However, this is assuming the Blazers are keen on competing for a title with Lillard. Could the Nets be open to a deal involving Bridges even without Dame in the trade? Given the Blazers’ young assets of Simons, Sharpe, and draft picks, it’s certainly possible.
But if Brooklyn considers Bridges untouchable without getting Lillard in return, they still have many other players who would be great fits in Portland.