3. Trade for role players
Lillard wants the franchise to put more veterans around him. The Blazers were 28th in defensive rating last season and 26th in rebound percentage last season. They need to upgrade their perimeter defense, rebounding, and rim protection. Portland has plenty of offense with Dame and Scoot, but can they find the right pieces to put around them?
Drafting Kris Murray at 23 and Rayan Rupert at 43 should help the Blazers. Murray is an NBA-ready 3-and-D forward that should slot into the rotation immediately. Rupert profiles as a strong defender that needs time to develop, but he could fill-in spot minutes as a rookie.
If the Blazers bring back Jerami Grant, they will not have cap space. Portland has decisions to make on Cam Reddish, Matisse Thybulle, Justise Winslow, and Drew Eubanks this offseason. Reddish and Thybulle are restricted free agents, so the Trail Blazers can match any offer, but they do not want their spending to get out of control.
Their upgrades will have to come via their mid-level exception and trades. They owe their 2024 first-round draft pick to the Bulls with protections through 2028. That leaves the Blazers with just one first-rounder eligible to trade, so they must offer talent to get pieces in a deal.
Drafting Scoot Henderson and keeping Damian Lillard puts Anfernee Simons on the trade block, and Portland should have a deal in their crosshairs if they want to keep their franchise GOAT.