The Blazers should love this trade
In other trades involving the No. 3 pick, the Portland Trail Blazers would get back a star player. That’s rightfully what they should be pursuing, as it represents a chance to build something of a “Big 3” with Jerami Grant and Lillard.
Yet even if they do so, they will have depth questions, and it’s no guarantee another team is offering a star on the market.
What this deal would do is completely revamp the Blazers’ depth. They have been one of the league’s best teams at drafting and evaluating backcourt players, but their forward depth continues to be lacking. This trade would solve that issue.
Kuzma can pair with Grant as an incredibly solid 2-3 punch on offense, and Kuzma is a good defender who won’t be a target. Avdija is an excellent perimeter defender, while Jones is absolutely elite. That trio would give Portland starters and bench options at both spots.
The draft picks also allow the Blazers to continue adding low-cost players and hedge toward the future. They could draft a player like Dereck Lively II at No. 14 or attach one of the picks to Nurkic to upgrade at center.
Generally, teams should be looking to trade lesser players together to get a star; trade your quarters for a dollar, since stars are hard to get. The Blazers have a superstar in Lillard, however, and Grant is a good bet to re-sign.
You only trade your dollar for quarters if you get five of them; that’s what the Blazers are doing here.
Portland can roll out a starting group of Lillard, Jones, Kuzma, Grant and center-to-be-named later, with plenty of depth behind and draft picks to go out and continue upgrading. That’s the kind of roster that can convince Lillard to stick around and push for the playoffs.