During the lead-up to the NBA draft, there’s always a great deal of smoke about what teams actually want. The various leaks that get out to the national media are done by teams, players, and agents, all so that their respective parties can get into a situation that’s just right for them.
The most recent rumor to hit the internet about the Portland Trail Blazers is that the New Orleans Pelicans may be interested in the third pick, hoping to use it to draft G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson. The idea has caught fire, and even though the Charlotte Hornets could take Henderson second, their current buzz suggests they will draft Alabama forward Brandon Miller instead.
Portland has already told the national media it intends on building a contending team around Damian Lillard this season, which pencils the Blazers into (likely) moving their top draft pick. If they were to trade with the Pelicans, they’d want to make sure that they aren’t giving up too much of their present value while also setting themselves up for winning in the future.
Concocting a mock trade is always a difficult endeavor; some people will think you’ve given too little, while others will say there’s no way the other team would ever entertain that idea. Thus, it’s worth exploring what might be too little, too much, and just right for each of the teams involved in this hypothetical scenario to try and get some value sorted out for the future.
Too Little Trade Package: No. 3 pick for Brandon Ingram straight up
It’s not the most common trade package to see one-for-one trades in today’s NBA. Often, a team will have to throw in some sort of extra capital, whether it’s a bit player to match the salary or a small pick many years down the line to sweeten the deal.
That’s what makes a straight-up trade from the Blazers to the Pelicans a deal that doesn’t work for either of them.
From the Pelicans’ perspective, they’d assuredly want more for one of their stars. The team may be entering a retooling phase, but that doesn’t mean that their general manager David Griffin is going to ship his players out at pennies on the dollar.
That’s especially true when Ingram is an All-Star caliber player:
For the Trail Blazers, this deal is an easy sell. Ingram is a proven scorer in a position of need with some evolving passing chops and the frame to play defense at a solid level. He’s a long, lanky wing who can create shots for himself and others while demanding a great deal of attention from the defense.
He’d be one of the best players Lillard has played with in his Portland career as soon as he stepped on the floor.
To acquire him for so little, the Blazers could renounce a number of their cap holds on players like Cam Reddish and Matisse Thybulle, letting those players walk in free agency, and fit Ingram into their cap space. This wouldn’t be an ideal situation for Portland, either.
Given that they’d be clearly winning the trade and only giving up one major asset, this wouldn’t be just right for the Pelicans, who would understandably hold a hard line and demand they get a bit more in return.