Option No. 3: Trendon Watford
For reasons that remain a mystery, the Trail Blazers released Watford on June 30, and he remains unsigned. It’s an odd situation for a 22-year-old coming off a productive season, even if it was for a tanking team destined to lose down the stretch.
Watford had a non-guaranteed minimum salary ($1.8 million) set to be paid just before he was released, which is likely why Portland let him walk…but why is he still a free agent?
The 6-foot-8 forward played in 62 games last year with averages of 7.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists with shooting splits of 56/39/72. He played a good chunk of minutes as a small-ball center at the end of the year.
Watford was trending upward after his solid showing in 2022-23 before he was released, but things have changed since he was let go (a Lillard trade request, for example, and a likely rebuild), so the Blazers would be wise to bring him back into the fold and let him pick up where he left off.
No matter what happens with the rest of the roster this summer, Lillard trade or no Lillard trade, the Trail Blazers need reinforcements up front. These three big guys would be low-risk, high-reward signings who could potentially grow with the rest of Portland’s young core.