Realistic Blazers trade No. 1
Is Simons worth more than two role players? On paper, probably. In reality, at this point, flipping an extra guard in a loaded backcourt for two defensive-minded forwards with size makes sense for the Blazers and for Lillard.
Portland’s guard rotation of Dame, Henderson, and Sharpe is plenty sufficient. Adding Finney-Smith and O’Neale to put alongside Jerami Grant, assuming he’s re-signed, significantly upgrades the wing and forward spots. This deal gives Portland a much more balanced roster and, perhaps most importantly, a roster that’s much improved defensively.
DFS came into the league as a 6-foot-7 forward with some athleticism and a defense-first game. The 30-year-old has developed into a legitimate two-way wing, however, who shot close to 40 percent from three his final two seasons in Dallas.
He dipped to 33.7 percent between the Mavericks and the Nets last season, but based on his career stats, that’s more of an outlier than a decline.
O’Neale is a high-level role player who averaged 8.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists last year. He shot 38.4 percent from three on 5.5 attempts a night.
Perhaps most importantly, he was 34th in the NBA in defensive win shares – one spot ahead of his teammate and Lillard BFF Mikal Bridges.
Turning a backcourt log jam into a pair of three-and-D forwards is the type of deal Cronin needs to be looking at at this point in the offseason. The Nets get the best player in the trade, but Portland takes a considerable step forward with its roster.