5 Players Trail Blazers could target in Lillard trade to become contenders

Scottie Barnes (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)
Scottie Barnes (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports) /
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With the start of NBA Training Camps in the near distance, the clock continues to tick for the Portland Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard demanded a trade nearly two months ago and they don’t appear any closer to meeting that demand. However, that could change over the next few weeks.

You can’t imagine that the Blazers want this possible distraction to carry into the start of the season and it would probably be in the best interest of both sides to get a deal done before training camps open. As Portland continues to wait for the right deal to develop, we explore five players that would help the Blazers reach contender status even after losing arguably the greatest player in franchise history.

Players the Portland Trail Blazers could target in the Damian Lillard trade to reach contender status

Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz

In the event that the Utah Jazz (or Danny Ainge) tries to stick it to the Miami Heat (or Pat Riley) one final time, there’s a scenario in which they would be willing to go all-in for Damian Lillard. They have the assets and young players that the Trail Blazers would likely be seeking in a potential deal. Whether it makes sense for the Jazz to go all-in for Lillard is an entirely different conversation.

However, the addition of Lauri Makkanen would be an intriguing one for the young Blazers. With Scoot Henderson’s promising future, Shaedon Sharpe’s expected big step forward, the continued progression of Anfernee Simons, and the duo of Markkanen and Jerami Grant in the frontcourt, there’s a path where Portland creates a strong core 5 with such an addition.

It wouldn’t be outlandish to say that the Blazers could be real players in the West with this core 4 in the next couple of seasons.