Grade the trade: New Blazers Lillard proposal viewed as ‘certainly a risk’

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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The Trail Blazers could trade Damian Lillard to the Pelicans for Zion Williamson.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers; CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images) /

Portland Trail Blazers trade Damian Lillard to the New Orleans Pelicans

The original deal tossed out in the article was Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic for Zion Williamson, Dyson Daniels, Kira Lewis Jr., Larry Nance Jr. and Naji Marshall.

Cap guru and former NBA assistant general manager Bobby Marks played GM for this deal (part of four in the aforementioned article) and immediately wrote, “Now this is interesting.”

So we’re off to a good start.

He then picks the trade apart piece by piece, altering it so it makes more sense for both teams:

  • Take Nurkic out of the deal. Even if the Blazers want to rid themselves of the 29-year-old’s salary, New Orleans already has Jonas Valanciunas and has no reason to agree to bring Nurk aboard.
    • The Pelicans offer the future Milwaukee pick instead.
  • Nance Jr. is removed next, as he would put Portland in the luxury tax, which makes no sense for a rebuilding team, which the Blazers still would be, even if they acquired Zion.
  • Keep Marshall in NOLA for depth. If the Pels go all-in on Dame, both parties will approach next season as title-or-bust, which means holding onto as much talent as possible.

That gets us to the final deal of Lillard and Johnson for Zion, Daniels, Lewis Jr. and an unprotected 2027 first from Milwaukee.

Is this trade worth it for the Blazers?