It seems a matter of when, not if, the Portland Trail Blazers deal the No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft for win-now help. There are plenty of rumored deals floating around already, but there are also a handful of unlikely Blazers trades involving that selection that will almost certainly never come to fruition.
But what if some of them did? What if Portland somehow, miraculously, pulled off a deal to land one of the best players in the entire NBA? We’re not talking Pascal Siakam, Mikal Bridges, or Jaylen Brown here. Think bigger.
This exercise is completely and totally for fun; there might be some world out there in the multiverse in which these potential deals are realistic, but ours is not one of them.
These four trades won’t happen, or at least the likelihood of Portland pulling any of them off is very, very, very, very miniscule, despite at least some effort to make the proposals fair.
If any of them were to happen, though, the direction of the franchise would shift immediately and the Trail Blazers would become a betting favorite to win the 2023-24 NBA Championship.
Here are these totally unrealistic scenarios, ranked from most likely to least likely – most likely being 0.2 percent, least likely being literally 0 percent. It would be totally awesome, though.
Wild Blazers trade scenarios that would make Portland a title favorite
Trade No. 1: If you’re going to aim for the King…
There might be no better “win now” trade than bringing LeBron James to Rip City.
James appears to be on the last legs of his NBA career. He’s clearly not the dominant player he once was, as evidenced by his performance down the stretch of this year’s playoffs.
Still, putting LeBron’s hoops IQ, thirst to win another title, still-effective old-man game, and ability to turn the dial back to 100 when needed, next to Damian Lillard’s scoring prowess, would make the Blazers one of the favorites to win the NBA championship next season.
Lillard would allow James to play off the ball to conserve his waning energy, and when LeBron needs to turn back the clock for short bursts, Dame could get a bit of a rest – or imagine him in a smaller role as a spot-up shooter and secondary playmaker.
Defense would still be an issue in Portland (what else is new), but adding one of the greatest players in NBA history to a team with Lillard and supporting players like Jerami Grant and Shaedon Sharpe would give both LeBron and Dame a real chance at the title they’re both searching for.
Unfortunately, there’s about a 0.2 percent chance the Lakers are trade James. If that.