Portland should trade Simons for Brandon Ingram
The biggest swing the Trail Blazers can probably make this summer is for a young All-Star-level forward. Perhaps that is Jaylen Brown, but an even more intriguing pick is New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram.
Could Portland talk the Pels into trading their slim star?
The Pelicans certainly have reasons to want to keep Ingram, given his youth and production thus far. On the other hand, building around Zion Williamson likely means getting more shooting surrounding him. Trey Murphy III could be a better fit at small forward if they can instead find a stretch big and more backcourt help.
Simons can give a jolt to their backcourt scoring, and the No. 3 pick can lead to another blue-chip prospect or, more interestingly, a trade chip to go after another player. That pick is a massive asset and, if the Pelicans are beginning to entertain the possibility of moving Ingram, now could be the time to strike.
The Trail Blazers would have an incredible frontcourt combo in Ingram and Grant, and when paired with Lillard, would give Portland a top-tier offensive attack. Ingram also has the length and attributes to be a plus defender, even if his lack of strength and heft prevents him from being a difference-maker.
If Simons provides the best avenue to a frontcourt co-star, the Blazers shouldn’t hesitate to move him. Lillard is in his prime right now, and finding a way to give him and this time a shot at the title should be their top priority.