The Portland Trail Blazers are in the midst of a rebuild and they have been relatively successful so far. After acquiring Jusuf Nurkic from Denver, who was then traded to Brooklyn for Mason Plumlee and a first round pick, Lillard is now fully embracing his role as franchise player.
Damian Lillard is a member of the Portland Trail Blazers team that has been struggling this season. The Blazers are now in rebuild mode and will be looking for a new star to carry them into the future. What’s next for Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers? Read more in detail here: damian lillard trade news.
The Portland Trail Blazers had a hectic trading deadline. The team made three big moves to start retooling its squad around superstar point guard Damian Lillard.
The first trade brought Norman Powell and Robert Covington to the Los Angeles Clippers. Then there was CJ McCollum’s blockbuster deal to the New Orleans Pelicans. At that time, it became clear that the Blazers weren’t necessary going to full tank mode and blowing everything up.
The club made one last trade before the deadline, bringing in Utah Jazz veteran Joe Ingles.
The first phase of the Lillard makeover is now complete. But what happens after that?
Three moves were made by the Portland Trail Blazers to begin remaking the roster in Damian Lillard’s image.
During a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and CJ McCollum react to a play. | Getty Images/Abbie Parr
In 2019, the Blazers made one trip in the Western Conference Finals, as predicted. Despite Dame being one of the top players in the playoffs, Portland has only won three playoff games since then.
The club has also been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs three times with Lillard and McCollum in the backcourt. It was long past time for a new era, and interim general manager Joe Cronin finally took the first moves toward Lillard’s Blazers 2.0.
Powell and Covington were traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson, and a second-round draft selection. It was, for the most part, your typical wage dump.
The McCollum blockbuster followed, with Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky, Didi Louzada, a protected 2022 first-round pick, and two future second-round picks going to the Pelicans in exchange for Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky, Didi Louzada, a protected 2022 first-round pick, and two future second-round picks.
Finally, Cronin rerouted Alexander-Walker and Satoransky in a three-team trade that netted Portland Joe Ingles, Elijah Hughes, and a second-round selection in exchange for Alexander-Walker and Satoransky.
Overall, the Blazers freed up at least $45 million in salary space, and just eight players are guaranteed roster slots for next season (including Bledsoe, who might be a buyout candidate in the coming days and is only guaranteed $3.9 million if he remains).
Cronin has begun laying roads in a dozen different ways, but that is just the beginning. What choices do the Blazers truly make now that they have the flexibility to make a variety of moves?
What are Lillard’s and the Blazers’ next steps?
Cronin, Joe: “I’m certain that we’ll be able to compete for free agents. We can go into meetings with Chauncey Billups, Damian Lillard, and myself, and we’re not scared to go after players.”
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) February 10, 2022
There were speculations that Portland was interested in Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant after the Powell and McCollum departures.
The 6-foot-7 winger would be a good fit next to Dame as an athletic defender with secondary scoring potential, but it seems that Detroit’s asking price of two first-round selections was too much for anyone’s blood, as Grant chose to stay in Detroit.
But that hypothetical transaction revealed two things: first, the Blazers are open to adding pieces if they’re the right fit and the right price; and second, it hints to one of the archetypes Cronin could be searching for.
Third, whereas Alexander-Walker and Satoransky both moved on soon, Hart remained.
Both Hart and Grant have comparable traits: they’re powerful defenders who work hard and, in Jerami’s case, have shown a willingness to play a specific position at times. In comparison to Lillard, those sorts of guys make perfect sense.
With an abdominal injury, the team’s 31-year-old point guard will likely miss the remainder of the season. The Trail Blazers’ first-round pick from the Pelicans is guaranteed if it falls between Nos. 5 and 14 — which seems to be a great place given that NOLA will be vying for a play-in berth in the West.
The team could also trade that selection, as well as any of its other first-round choices in the future, in a separate transaction during the summer.
The Blazers can also go all out in free agency with their cap room. Player options are available for Bradley Beal and Kyrie Irving, while Zach LaVine and Miles Bridges are restricted free agents.
Deandre Ayton, on the other hand, was unable to reach a deal with the Phoenix Suns on a rookie max contract. Although they have the ability to match any offer made by Portland, the Suns already have a number of high-priced players on their books.
Next to Lillard, the 24-year-old center would be an excellent frontcourt alternative. That might be the pipe dream Cronin has in his back pocket as the summer approaches.
The ultimate aim is for Dame to be able to start writing the next chapter of his career.
For the first time in his career, Lillard has alternatives regardless of whatever way the organization chooses to go.
“It was clear to us that the roster had reached a stalemate,” Cronin told NBA.com. “So, in order to transact going ahead, we decided to conduct a significant shakeup with the purpose of making many transactions, balancing the roster, creating various tools and exceptions, and drastically padding our cap.”
Cronin struck all the right notes: a stagnant roster, a significant shakeup, balance, a heavily padded cap, and a plan to go ahead. All of those statements should have been made by the Portland front management a year(s) ago.
“Now we have a bit of a blank slate,” he said, “we’ve done a lot of work the previous few weeks and pulling it down is a lot simpler than putting it up.” “Now it’s up to us to build it up.”
There’s just one element missing from Cronin’s statement, but it’s very certainly part of the plan, whether or not it’s made public: “So now it’s up to us to build it up with Lillard at the helm.”
Spotrac provided all salary information.
RELATED: 5 Players Damian Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers Could Target to Help Him Win an NBA Championship
Damian Lillard is one of the best point guards in the NBA, and he’s finally getting his chance to lead a team. With the roster overhaul over, what will be next for the Blazers? Reference: portland trail blazers record.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whats going on with Damian Lillard?
A: Damian Lillard is not on the Portland Trail Blazers anymore.
Who did the Trail Blazers trade?
Where is CJ McCollum?
A: CJ McCollum is currently a player for the NBAs Oklahoma City Thunder.
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