Grading the trade for the Trail Blazers
The first thing that needs to be mentioned when discussing this deal from a Portland perspective is that the Blazers don't need to trade Grant or Thybulle. The narrative that the franchise desperately needs to get off Grant's five-year, $160 million contract is overblown. So if they do let them go, it would have to be a relatively irresistible offer - especially if they're moving both.
Harrison Barnes does nothing for Portland in this trade except match salaries. He's a far less productive version of Grant; he would be a great locker room presence as a veteran on a young team, but he's past his prime on the court and is owed $18 million next season and $19 million the next.
Davion Mitchell is a real asset as a hard-nosed, high-effort backcourt defender who's only 25; just not for the Blazers. At 6-2, Mitchell would be ridiculously redundant in a backcourt that already has franchise cornerstones Scoot Henderson (6-2) and Anfernee Simons (6-3). In this scenario, Portland also still has Malcolm Brogdon and Shaedon Sharpe in its guard rotation.
Huerter would bring value to the Blazers as a 6-7 guard/wing who's a career 38.3 percent 3-point shooter. He's a sieve on defense, but maybe Henderson and Sharpe could eventually become solid defenders at the point of attack and hide some of Huerter's deficiencies?
The most attractive assets for Portland in this trade are the two draft picks. A top-5 protected first in 2026 isn't that valuable, though, based on where the Kings will likely finish that season in the standings. It's likely a pick that will land in the 20s.
The 2025 second-rounder is probably the better of the two selections; it's the Blazers' own, so it would probably fall in the early portion of the second round.
Here's Buckley's rationale:
"If the Blazers could get out of Grant's contract while also gaining a lightly protected future first, that's already a win. In addition, though, Portland would regain control of its 2025 second-rounder, take on a developmental project with Mitchell (a relentless defender still looking for his offensive niche) and add a 25-year-old spacer in Huerter. Barnes would mainly make the money work, but he'd be hopefully movable down the line as a three-and-D forward with championship experience."- Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report
There's the "get off Grant's contract" narrative that isn't totally accurate. Then Portland gets a first-round pick in the 20s and a second-rounder; a "developmental project" at a position where they already have a developmental project; Barnes' salary with the possibility of a future trade that wouldn't bring much value; and Huerter's shooting ability.
Blazers trade grade: D