Damian Lillard trade return somehow just got even worse for Trail Blazers

The Blazers just made the Damian Lillard return that much worse.
Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard / Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers acquired Deni Avdija on June 26 in a surprise move. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Portland gave up Malcolm Brogdon, the 14th overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, a 2029 first-round pick, and two second-rounders to acquire the 6’9 forward. It was a steep price for the talented role player, and it only made things look worse.

Fans will remember the Blazers acquired Malcolm Brogdon and that 2029 first-round pick as part of the fallout for trading franchise icon Damian Lillard. At the time, the trade package looked strong. They got Jrue Holiday in return from Milwaukee and flipped him to Boston for even more capital.

With the Deni Avdija trade, what the Blazers got back for Dame looks significantly worse. Let us dive into the specifics.

The Damian Lillard trade return just got worse for Trail Blazers

Lillard was arguably the best player to ever wear a Blazers uniform. The eight-time All-Star is on the NBA’s 75th anniversary team and still a superstar. Fans would think Portland got a massive return, but here is a look at where things stand after just one season.

Blazers gave up

Damian Lillard

Portland received

Deandre Ayton
Deni Avdija
Robert Williams III
Toumani Camara
2029 1st round pick (via Bucks or Celtics)
2 1st-round pick swaps

Ayton was the number one overall pick in 2018 ahead of Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Brunson, and Trae Young, but he is far from a star. The 25-year-old averaged 16.7 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.0 steal for the Blazers this season, but Portland drafted their center of the present and future in Donovan Clingan with the seventh overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Avdija may be the best player they received, but he is nothing more than a skilled role player.

Assuming the Bucks and Celtics stay in contention, the Trail Blazers will get a late first-round pick and are unlikely to even use those swaps. Trading Dame for four role players and a late first-round pick would be disastrous. Portland is nowhere near contention and won’t get there anytime soon without top-end talent. The Blazers got none of that for arguably their best player to ever do it.

The Portland Trail Blazers are six years away from getting the final pieces of this trade. It will be impossible to say how this deal worked out until every selection is in. Things are looking bad at this stage but could improve if one of these picks turns into a star. Unfortunately, the Damian Lillard trade looks more like a bust for the Blazers.